Film festival, Hawaiian themed kickball games and bonfires are only a few fun ways to describe the White Flag fall retreat at Moose Mountain. While these are fun things to do over retreat, they are not what retreat is all about.
As a leader on these weekends I am constantly taking myself out my comfort zone to show my students that it’s okay to be silly. I dress up in ridiculous costumes to show them they don’t have to look good all the time and I listen as intently as possible to show they always have a listening ear. I belly laugh so hard at some of the student’s ridiculous antics (it’s amazing what you’ll laugh at running on little sleep) and I smile as I watch them engage with each other in community.
What makes my heart the happiest though as a leader is when at the very end, we give them open mic time on Sunday morning. Throughout retreat there are many speakers teaching them for ten minutes each on the theme of the weekend. As a leader you hope and pray that the students will mimic that of a sponge and soak up everything they can and keep an ear out for God’s voice. It’s always incredible to hear what they got out of the speaker’s talks. This year the speakers talked about the ten commandments and explained how those commandments relate today in our modern world. The commandments that stood out the most to the students overall was coveting your neighbors’ things and harboring anger and “murder” in their hearts. They poured out how they felt they needed to let go of their anger towards people that had hurt them and be grateful for what they already have.
I shed a couple of tears as these brave kids bared their souls in front of their peers because sharing one’s testimony in front of a crowd is not the easiest thing to do. I couldn’t be prouder of them and I hope that as they mature into adults, they will take these experiences on retreat and continually apply them. I also hope they daily seek God out, try their hardest to keep his commandments and to accept the grace that our Jesus offers and gives.