We gathered together for our annual A2F Winter Retreat at Black Diamond Camp. Winter retreat is a chance for us to get away from our routine lives, zoom out from our daily tasks, and to deepen in our knowledge and appreciation for God’s word without distraction. It is also an opportunity to fellowship with one another, forming deeper connections with students and staff. We heard messages from Pastor Steve, testimonies from staff, watched videos highlighting A2F’s story, and had small group sharing with peers.
Pastor Steve called us to open our hearts, to probe our minds, and to peel back the masks that we wear every day. We can often distract our minds from thinking and facing ourselves. But as we internalized the Gospel with the backdrop of God's Holiness, we saw a greater appreciation for what Jesus had done on the cross for our sins.
During the winter retreat, we saw videos of our fellow A2F churches on the East coast and marveled at the ways God has been miraculously changing the lives of people. We also laughed at each other’s impromptu skits, performed on stage, and had fun time playing basketball, volleyball, and various games. On a freezing Sunday night, everyone huddled around a bonfire and sang campfire songs while roasting marshmallows over the flickering orange-yellow flames. As we gathered around the fire, students gave their thanks to their leaders and peers, reflecting on how they were impacted within these past few weeks, months, and years.
We also got to witness several of our peers make their salvation decision to become Christians for the very first time! Many students have been able to personalize God’s words and walked away with a new purpose, insight, and action they can commit themselves to. We’ve been able to grow closer with our leaders and peers, cry and laugh in response to the countless stories, and feel amazed by the love that softens our hearts.
We're thankful for all the ways that God spoke to us during this retreat. Thankful that we were challenged to really take our faith seriously and engage in our daily spiritual disciplines to grow more in our relationships with God. Hope you guys can join us next time!