Retreat....definitions 2 and 3 for this word according to Miriam Webster online are as follows:
: a place of privacy or safety : refuge
: a period of group withdrawal for prayer, meditation, study, or instruction under a director
I just returned home from the Senior High Beach Retreat in Wildwood, NJ. When you think Wildwood, maybe this comes to mind.
Not, however, a 3 day get away with 8 high school youth, 3 adults and some 'rustic hotel' accommodations. I'm in the process of catching my breath from 3 days of sand, sun, rain, song, laughter, games, mini m&ms, ice cream, tacos, paris whales, Bible study, snorting, waves, go-carts, beach ducks, long conversations, deepening relationships, service, prayer, and killer bunnies.
We lived together with these expectations:
I like to think of the last 3 days as a re-treat. I was treated again and again to fresh and new moments of seeing God in unexpected places...as 8 youth from 4 school districts welcomed little kids into their fold as they played in the sand at the beach.
I can't put the entire weekend into words, but these youth are amazing. They are Spirit led, full of joy and excitement and just a complete pleasure to be with. I am so blessed to be called to serve these youth as they continue through high school and to see them shape and mold the youth ministry that happens at Trinity. I am ready to walk, run and sing at the top of my lungs as our journey as God's people continues in the years to come.
I'm truly excited for the ideas and hopes they have for the future including, but not limited to community outreach, service projects within the congregation and without, partnering up with other youth for fun and fellowship, leading worship and mentoring the incoming youth group members.
This was truly a retreat...a chance to get away ... to a place to just be ourselves - our wonderfully God made selves - and just be the body of Christ together.
Thank you, Senior High Youth (you know who you are) and for those who weren't able to join us, we are ready for more ideas, joy, enthusiasm, friends, passion and leadership with the future of youth ministry at Trinity.
Thanks, all, for an amazing 3 days.
Until the next amazing moment we share in God's beautiful creation and in the community of Christ, holding you in prayer.
PS. This would not have been possible without 2 other things.
a) The love and support from an amazing congregation who loves, cares for and supports the youth of Trinity. (THANKS!)
b) Last, but never least, the 3 chaperones who joined us on this adventure. Thanks for sharing 3 days of your week away from home to make a difference in the life of some crazy-fun youth!