fall retreat: saturday!

saturday morning we woke up bright and early for breakfast at around 7:30. most everyone was groggy (except for a few people, who i will never fully understand) but ready to start the day.

i loved the meals. the food was great, yes, but the fellowship was even better. each meal was a chance to sit with new people, catch up with old friends, and enjoy the chatter and bustle that comes naturally with almost three hundred people eating together. it was always a fun, contented time.

after breakfast, the staff (who were all incredible the whole weekend) and some of us tore everything down and set it up for another large group session. drew spoke on james 4 – how God jealously desires our hearts, how He is sovereign in using even our sin to draw us closer to Him, and how essential humility is in understanding and experiencing blessing in God’s will. some really good stuff.

afterwards, we all spread out and took some time with God. It’s one of my favorite things to see at fall retreat… knowing that God is spending time with every single person, all at the same time, listening to each of our prayers. what a cool reminder that He knows each of us intimately.

     

i have always felt God’s presence powerfully when i spend time in nature. springhill is beautiful in the fall, and God had provided a gorgeous day, so i took some time to walk around on some of the trails in the woods. i hashed some stuff out with God, praised Him for His creativity, and then found a spot against a comfy tree and journaled my thoughts.

isn’t it funny to think that any creativity humans have stems from the Creator? He is the source of ultimate creativity; anything that we come up with (be it art, architecture, or mathematical theorem) is inspired by things we have observed. how can we take credit for any of it?

“for by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for Him.” –colossians 1:16

we serve a truly awesome God.

when i got back, lunch was being served. i crashed with jared, nick, bobby, josh, and some other guys, and then we had a couple hours to do whatever we wanted. right outside the dining hall there was a ropes course that reminded me a lot of camp tecumseh’s optimist challenge. people were racing across and seeing who could get the best time.

     

     

there was a ton of other things available… some guys went to the zipline, others went paintballing, and there was a basketball tournament in the gym. i went to the ministry fair, where a bunch of people had set up stations describing summer projects and ways that people could get involved.

i love the ministry fair. my freshman year, the ministry fair is where i first heard about king’s domain, a summer project where you get to be a comp counselor. had the Lord not used it to open my mind to the possibility of working at a summer camp, i may never have worked at camp tecumseh. and nathan might not have been at king’s domain. God works in odd, convoluted ways sometimes. but it’s always for the good of His children.

plus i got to see this mullet-tastic picture of ben:

after the activity fair i went behind the dining hall to play some octo-ball (read as: gaga, but with a larger, in-ground pit) with some friends. it was a blast, and might have been a little more dangerous than the typical gaga game with ten-year-olds. but there was also less whining. so that was good.

     

then i took a couple hours and hung out with some friends, writing encouragement cards to people. at every fall retreat, there’s a wall filled with envelopes; one for each person. there’s a bunch of index cards lying around so that people can write something encouraging and put it into someone’s envelope. it’s always so great to read through them after the retreat is over, or when you’re having a blue day. plus it’s a blast writing to people!

     

the hours flew by, and soon it was time for dinner. afterwards, the men and women split up to take time to talk about things than men and women talk about. all the men piled into the trams and rode over to the lodge, singing manly songs and yelling in manly voices.

     

we all crashed on a huge hill while chris silva and david crull spoke some serious truth. we talked about purity and how essential it is as men of God, and how passivity can ruin us. it really hit home with me. passivity, especially as a college student, is almost expected. it’s really easy to slip slowly into a lifestyle of going with the flow, allowing myself to not take things too seriously until i’m in the “real world” and have “real work” to do. thankfully, i live with men who hold me accountable, i am part of a christian organization from which i receive training, teaching, and fellowship, i attend a Jesus-loving, gospel-centered church, and (most importantly) i am in a relationship with a holy, jealous God who pursues me, even when i don’t do the same.

     

we ended the night with a huge variety show, where a bunch of small groups performed acts that they had prepared ahead of time to entertain the rest of us. while people were getting set up, i got to play a half game of checkers with cary’s son daniel, which was great. we didn’t get to finish before the show started, so hopefully there will be a rematch sometime in the future. checkers is intense, folks.

i wasn’t performing, so i got to just enjoy the show. we had some taylor swift music videos, a fantastic performance by the frontstreet men, some stories told by grandpas lowe and crull, a mystical eastern mental cleansing technique as shared by the international students, an incredible improv song and dance, and some good old dance routines to it’s raining men and other oldies. the cru staff team even did a light show for us. we were quite impressed and exhausted by the end.

     

     

     

luke boyer, who had done some improv rap, blew the rest of the competition out of the water and won the prize: two statue heads. i know. be jealous. after the show i was exhausted, so i went back to the yurt (sorry… wigwam) to crash. after that intensely full day, i fell asleep instantly.

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2 thoughts on “fall retreat: saturday!

  1. Michael Kraft says:

    Love that you are living in a wigwam (yurt), and this looks like such a blast! Glad you are having such a great tim!

  2. Jessica Hill says:

    oh boy! sounds like you had a great Saturday, Brad! I am so so so glad to hear you finding solace and peace in just the simple fact that God chose you to exist. That out of all the people He could, can, did, and will create, He wanted you to be there. That the world, His plan for the world, would not be complete, unless you Bradley James Hough, were in it. Isn’t that neat?

    Make sure to take time often to find His peace. I know that you are constantly seeking God. But seeking God, feeling God, and realizing that He is above every paper, class, commitment, meeting and everything, is something different. Find Him above everything, because that’s where He is– above everything.

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