This past weekend my Small Group went on a great camping retreat. It was what you would call “real” camping, complete with boiled lake water. It was a really cool time for our group to bond and get to know each other and for us to grow in our spiritual relationship with Christ. My friend Dan (pictured on the right) feels called into this type of Outdoor Ministry (camping, hiking, etc.), and he’s definitely gifted and has passion for it. When we got there on Friday, we had severe thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Needless to say, we prayed and waited and things let up. I think the struggle we had getting to the first island and setting up (raining, windy, muddy, spiders everywhere) was exactly what made the trip so fulfilling. We came together and got it done, and then the weather cleared up that same night, nothing but clear skies. With Perserverance and Patience is how we had to start out the trip, and it was amazing how many other parallels to our life and spiritual walk there were throughout the trip.
What did I learn? Well, I know I can canoe 11 miles in one day. 🙂 Yeah, it was physically challenging, but not discouraging at all. We all worked together keeping each other motivated and on track. Another parallel that we’re not in this alone and we need to be here for each other.
It was also a real mental and spiritual challenge. There was a time where we had some alone time so we could pray and connect with God, and my time with Him was really cool. It really helped to just talk and confess some things to Him outloud. Then I felt like God was saying to open my Bible. So I did and opened randomly (or maybe not so randomly) to chapter 12 in Daniel, and the memory verse in my Bible was verse 3: “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who turn many to righteousness will shine like stars forever.” (This was also very cool since Hap, the Senior Pastor at the Vineyard, was telling me I reminded Him of Daniel the day before). I just thought of so many things in my life that related to, and where I was right then, with the stars shining so bright the night before. Really cool. The harder part though was to share with everyone later what some of those things in my quiet time were. It’s hard for me to be vulnerable with people I’m still getting to know. I think it might’ve been too much though since no one seemed to know what to say afterwards. 😉 Oh well…
After it’s all over I see how the challenges were a bit different for each of us, but brought us closer together. I discovered that I really like being brought out of my normal environment and pushing towards a goal. Dan and I are gonna team up for other trips and lead some groups in a retreat, having similar goals as our group. I’m excited!
Ciao for now!