Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Wow! I can't believe it is over. I miss it already and can't wait until we do it again.

Friday: I drove one of the four vans and for 3 hours we sang and told stories. I had the Youth Pastors van, I think it's a 1995 windstar! I thought going up a couple of hills we were going to have to get out an push. We nicknamed it the "Donkey" LOL!
We arrived at the ranch at 8:30 and unpacked the u-haul. The kids all ran to the rooms to pick their bunks and out of 29 kids I ended up with 12 of them in my room! ( Help I'm new at this!) So the other 6 leaders had 17 to share. We got everyone settled in after snack and worship and we all stayed up to talk about the game plan for the next day.

Saturday: I was waken up at 5:30!zzzzzzzzzzzz! A few of the girls wanted to go for jog. So I told them to keep the noise down and go ahead. So we started pretty early. We rounded everyone up and headed in for breakfast by 8am. We split the kids up into 4 groups with 2 leaders to 3 and 1 to the other and did a rotation to four of the activities, air rifles, canoeing, horseback riding and wall climbing. This took up a good part of the day with a lunch break in between. A couple of highlights with my group during our rotation of activities were:
1. Marissa shot half the cans off the wall in about 5 shots and I only hit one! She decided afterwards that she wanted a rifle for her birthday :o0!!!!!!
2.The nice picture of "Tropical Trevor" up there in the slide show was taken before he tried the kayack which capsized on him 30 seconds after he go in it! Lucky for him he was too quick for the leeches to get him!
3. I had 3-4 of the kids ask if they would be allowed to canter the horses and we asked the lady in the stables and she said they couldn't. We got on the horses just in the coral and they taught the kids how to steer them before we went on the trail and the 3-4 who wanted to canter got apprehensive and decided to just stay in the coral while the rest of us went! Not so brave after all he he! The lady said it happens all the time.
4. The wall was hilarious, Marissa decided she no longer wanted a rifle for her birthday..whewww....she found her new passion! She made it to the top and rang the bell but when she came to the bottom she fell onto the ground like a bag of bones! DH scaled the wall in 36 seconds! I was not so brave.

We headed back to regroup all the youth and did a scavenger hunt. The hunt took a long time which was great because it gave some of us a break. By the time that was done it was BBQ time. The ranch put on a huge meal. They had chocolate chip cake for desert!!!! YUMMY! The kids then had some free time some played field sports, some walked, some "tried" to organize another canoe trip. UGG! Others went to their rooms to chat and hang out. When the sun went down over the tree tops we ventured out to the campfire, sang songs, gave testimonies and worshiped, let me tell you there was some worshiping from these children that would have brought a grown man his knees. I mustered up the courage to get up and speak and that opened the flood gates, I just asked them to all close their eyes and I painted them a picture of the Lords coming and how I thought that day might look. Wow, I get chills even now thinking about it. DH got up and gave his testimony, he did a wonderful job. We had one young lady dedicate her life to Jesus that night, God is soooo amazing. So that was the ultimate highlight of our trip. I'm in tears thinking about how nothing else in the world mattered to that young girl she just knew she needed the Lord in her life and wasn't going to lay her head on the pillow until she knew Him in her heart. Mission Accomplished! (sigh)the glow on her little face was pure beauty. We worshiped with glow in the dark bracelet's and sparkler's until everyone was ready to retire for the night. The leaders stayed up to give an account of how they felt their day went with their group and we prayed then went to bed ourselves.

Sunday: Woak up at 6:00 with someones cell phone ringing! (Why do 13-17 yr. olds need cell phones?)(story for another post!) I told her to shut it off and told the 12 of them not to budge for at least another hour. I didn't sleep very well.....I never in my life new that girls could burp, fart and grind their teeth so much! I had to open the door to allow the fresh air to flow threw! Whewwwww! I should have slept with the horses! at least they wouldn't have cell phones! Finally after they were all asleep again "I" got to wake "them" all up!!! YEAH bitter sweet revenge!LOL
We headed out for breakfast then to Church which we had at the campfire. Pastor Jeff did a speech on "Are you in our are you out, there is no in between." It was a great sermon. We then split into groups of 3-4 ad prayed for one another. The little one I had in my prayer group asked for prayer for her mom who has cancer.........I prayed for her and let me tell you I could NOT do it without tears gushing down my face. We then prayed for strength and encouragement for they family.
We packed up the vans and went in for lunch, talked about our weekend and took lots of pictures. Then We headed out. I made it back to the ministry center in the "Donkey" and no one had to push it up hill!
The weekend was amazing, I totally let loose like I said I would and I just enjoyed being myself. The younger gals seemed to really take to me. I am so glad that God put it on me and my DH hearts to do this. Our confirmation came in a very tangible way, our Church seem to find dimes everywhere we go and it seems like it is always a confirmation for something we are waiting on God for. So I found a dime on the ground at the entrance of the ranch and while Shane was giving his testimony he pulled one out of his pocket that he had found and my mouth dropped to the floor, I'd forgotten to tell him I found one earlier in the day! Then the lead Pastor dropped his change out onto the floor by mistake and 5 dimes fell out in the shape of a sail which is on our ministry sign for our church! I believe we are supposed to dedicate or lives to the youth of our church now more than ever. The youth pastor and his beautiful girlfriend thanked us and told us we were a perfect fit for what they were looking for as leaders. I had a lot of fun and I can't wait to join in to youth group every Thursday night from now on.


Nadine said...

Great pictures. Sounds like you had a great time. How cool for you and the kids to continue to work them on a weekly basis. Nothing binds people like a youth retreat.

Doris & Dan said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend.

Keep smilin!

Lisa said...

Sounds like a fun time. Love the pictures.

redmaryjanes said...

What a cool slide show! It sounds like a wonderful experience for everyone.

Shionge said...

I bet after this retreat you felt re-charged & rejunvenated ya!!! Way to go and yes busy & fun I can see and I wish I can turn back the clock and be young again.

*Ahem*...though I am still young just a different category of age that's all ekkekek...

Have a nice week Dear Pal :)

Steffie B. said...

First off...what a great weekend Second.....love Kirk Franklin. I have Why We Sing and Looking For You on my ipod!

Janet said...

That sounds (and looks!) like a FANTASTIC time!

Tracey & Mike said...

Sounds like a great weekend!

Shannon S said...

An exhaustingly wonderful weekend! You are a treasure! Oh, and your comment about sleeping with the horses cracked me up!