The Winter Retreat!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

"The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray." Proverbs 12:26

Wii Are Family was the theme of the whole weekend. Every year, 60 of my friends and I get the chance to take a 2 hour road trip (which is really soft compared to our 16 hour one to Boston) to a cute little camp during a cold winter. Of course, spirits aren't high, what with a negative degree weather and snow filling our shoes and freezing our toes, things weren't starting off as had hoped. 

But then suddenly, we are all together in a nice warm cafeteria, singing songs, getting hyped about the plans for the next two days and already getting in that fellowship with friends we hadn't seen in quite some time. Who cared if their socks were wet anymore? The retreat had begun.

Going into the retreat, I knew that it was gonna be awesome, as it always is. However, I was going into it without any high expectations, but the retreat exceeded my low expectations, blowing me out of the water!

It was my first year going as a disciple (follower of my man Jesus), and the other disciples were granted a special lesson just for us bright and early the next morning.

photo creds to @natetendods

The lesson focused on a few things, but I think of all of them, I was impacted by one point that the preacher had made. He referenced Mark 1:17.

'"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him.'

To paraphrase, Jesus is calling his first disciple to follow him, and the disciples he called were fishermen. Fishing was their life, it's what put food on the table, gave them money, a house, etc, but when Jesus had told them to follow him, they dropped their nets, literally dropping their lives at once and followed him.

The preacher spoke about how yeah, we may have dropped our nets just before we had entered the water (baptism) but without sugar coding, he stated that a lot of us were picking those nets back up. 

In short, it really hit me hard, and I pulled a good friend aside, and I just confessed a bunch of stuff to her, crying my eyes out. I hadn't expected to do so upon arrival, thinking it would be just another fun retreat to be with friends. Oh was I wrong. because I think God sent me to the retreat to get me back in my place, literally telling me in the face, hun, you're doing it again, you need to stop.

Not to say that the retreat wasn't fun, because it was! I was so grateful to be a part of an AWESOME cabin of girls that, yeah I knew, but didn't really know. It was awesome actually getting to know them a bit more. Sometimes, being all spiritual with people isn't always the best way to start a good friendship, and that's definitely something I lacked in. It was great just staying up late (when we should have been sleeping) and talking about everything! I thought it was amazing how, when the conversations did move to God, they all had strong convictions about what they believed in, which was inspiring and super encouraging to hear.

The rest of the retreat involved very fun activities like, lip-syncing competitions, mini games, jeopardy, snow games, dairy-free food (lactose intolerant problems), tears, music, and just plain weirdness with a bunch of my friends. 

photo credits to @macjessen

My favourite part of every Winterblast is the time where a few teens are able to share about how their feeling, the goals they wish to take back home, and their future plans with God. It's a little hit of reality, because for just two days it felt like we had been at the camp for a week, but everyone knew that the time to share, was marking the end of the retreat. Of all the years that I've gone to this retreat, I feel like this year was where all the teens who shared were so real with everyone. Really confessing how they were feeling, asking that we pray for them in a certain area, and just being honest about their spiritual walk with God.

They all inspired me.

"Do you know your friends well enough that you can pray about that exact thing that they're struggling with?"

That was another point the preacher had made, and my answer to his question was simple. No. After hearing all those teens share, it made me want to really know about my friends and how they're doing, because some of them were just so broken and hurt by whatever had happened to them, and it was only at that moment that I had found out. Asking how my friends are really doing proves that a friendship is really strong.

I'm grateful to God for blessing me with this years Winterblast. I think the one thing I was really proud of about myself was how outgoing I was. Naturally, I'm a shy person who will try to avoid any contact with someone I didn't know, but lucky for me, I got the chance to meet some people who, I quickly became friends with. I'm proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone, and I plan to carry that on in my life, because it felt good meeting new people, and talking with people as though I had already known them for so long.

As for the band, we rocked the house! Oh, how amazing it was to be playing and singing to God, and we all felt soooo amazing afterwards. 

Can't wait for another year in the snow with my friends!

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