Recently, we had our junior/senior high Spring retreat in Perrysville, Ohio. The theme: "Face the Change."
Perrysville is tiny, and actually considered a village by Wikipedia. Having less than a thousand residents, I can see why. It is beautiful country and farmland and easy to get lost in, if you don't have GPS or a reliable caravan.
Normally, we hold our youth retreats at Camp Luz in Orville, but due to a scheduling change, we found ourselves at a new camp called Pleasant Hill.
Our speaker for the weekend was Pastor Greg Ford from One Church in Columbus. Pastor Greg is a young, energetic, godly man with good looks and biceps. Even with all of the girls crushing on him, he had this way of getting inside the hearts and minds of the students. He challenged them to forgive those who've hurt them, grow stronger through their weakness, long for the presence of the Lord, ask for more of the Holy Spirit, and not to be afraid of vulnerability.
Seeing all of the kids with their arms raised made me so proud and weak in the knees.
I had the privilege of hearing confessions, giving counsel and praying for several young ladies, which included long hugs and the most honest of tears. I actually came home with mascara stains lining the shoulders of my shirts. I thank God for each one of those marks, because I know they were met with healing and redemption.
We also had skits:
The Angel Sisters made an appearance:
And some of the leaders had a spontaneous dance party:
(Thank you Kris Barski, Rachel Schmidt and Krista Armstrong for all of the fun pictures!)
True to form, there was coffee in the morning and more cookies than I could stomach. I love having access to the candy stash.
During the Wednesday following retreat, the students have an opportunity to share testimonies and stories of how they were changed over the weekend. I wanted to hug every single one of them for their courage and humility and for allowing their peers to see them broken.
Remember kids, "God will not waste your pain."
Not only were the young people challenged and renewed during the weekend, the leaders were, too. Sure, we lost sleep, got the last shower and had to do a lot of parenting while we were there, but the other parts made it so worth it.
Vulnerability is where the good stuff is.
The Running Man and Stanky Leg dance moves are pretty great, too.