By Jane Park, c/o 2019
Hello fellow readers~
During the President’s Day weekend, we had our annual winter retreat! Our winter retreat is pretty much what it sounds like: a time for us to retreat away from the noise of the world and focus on our personal relationship with God. We had the first message of our retreat series on The Friday Night before the weekend, where we were introduced to our speaker, Pastor Will and the idea of emotional baggage. We end up picking a lot of emotional baggage throughout our lives pushing it onto ourselves and others. But when we come to God and ask Him to take it, He will.
The next Saturday morning, for those of us that were able to go, we set out early for the retreat site.
Once we arrived and got settled into our cabins, we continued our session from the night before with Pastor Will and had some free time to ourselves to look around, explore, get some homework done, and the likes.
Afterwards, we had our three featured workshops: Comparative Religion, The Problem of Evil and Suffering, and How to Grow in DT and Prayer. All of these workshops were great in content and helpful in growing our spiritual faith.
Comparative religion looked at some of the similarities and differences between three of the most-practiced religions in the world: Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam.
The Problem of Evil and Suffering gave logical and spiritual reasons as to why evil and suffering can exist alongside the existence of an all-good, benevolent God.
How to Grow in DT and Prayer explored all the ways that a Christian can cultivate their spiritual life through daily devotions and prayer.
All of these workshops were pretty insightful and if you're curious about them, feel free to ask the staff or anyone who went to retreat!
After dinner, we had some time for freelance sports!
And, of course, the anticipated Staff vs. Students basketball game which my fellow blogger, Daniel wanted to comment on. According to his words:
"The sophomores and freshmen had a tremendous battle of wit and fitness on the court, going into triple OT, with the sophomores proving their superiority just narrowly in a last second half-court shot. Exhausted to their core, the sophomores barely had time to acknowledge each other before Pastor Andy was heard, "Alright everybody, Staff vs. Student time!" Needless to say, the sophomores lost, but it was a close game. The gap is closing."
Oooh very interesting. I guess we'll have to wait until next time to see who comes out on top.
Once everyone showered and was presentable again, we concluded the night with the evening session about recognizing that we are sinners no matter how good we think we are by our own standards. We can only receive our inheritance in Heaven by acknowledging our sins and fully surrendering them to God.
Some highlights from the following Sunday included the Heroes of Faith talks that introduced several inspirational people of the gospel. We learned about Charles T. Studd, Gladys Aylward, and Verent and Alma Mills. Although vastly different in upbringings, family background, and social standings, these people all had one thing in common: Their willingness to be used by God and their love for Him.
Like the featured workshops, these Heroes of Faith talks were encouraging and a reminder that God can truly use anybody to fulfill His will as long as they are willing. Feel free to ask the staff or anybody who went about these truly inspirational people!
After these talks, we had a time of collaborative sports with everyone. We broke off into teams and played dodgeball, handball and finished off with a final game of Braveheart.
After some more free-time, we finished off this day with an evening session about how we must come to God willingly for Him to chisel us into his perfect masterpiece. It won't be an overnight transformation, but with time, He will make us whole and perfect in his image. We ended this time with a lot of prayer and dedication to grow together as one body of Christ.
On the last day, we had some time in the morning for personal DT and would go on to our last session of the retreat. Before the session ended, we prayed for Pastor Will and additional helpers from UC Davis who, in the summer, will be moving to the east coast to plant churches (Remember to keep them in your prayers!).
We finished off with some time to reflect over everything we learned at the retreat.
And then we headed out!
The original plan was to stop by Chick-Fil-A on the way home, but the internet said it was closed…. Until a very over-achieving brother decided to phone in after the sisters already left to Wendy's and confirmed that indeed it was open… But you know what? That's okay because God has a plan for everything and it was through this minorly sad experience that I was able to experience a Frosty for the first time (although it can’t really quite compare to the amazing Chick-Fil-A peach milkshakes from Georgia).
Regardless, hope everyone who went had a great time and for those that couldn't join, there's always next year! Retreat truly was a spiritual refresher and just a great time to spend with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and re-affirm our relationship with God.
Until next time!