Sunday, October 18th
Later on after a few more entertaining performances, the talent show was over.
put my bible, notepad, and camera back in the guy's cabin and went back
to the dining hall with my headlamp in hand. Right now we were all
heading out to the second field over for the midnight bonfire, so I met
with Jenny and turned the headlamp on so we could go together without
getting lost in the dark.
The bonfire itself was wide, like the
first one I got to help set up two years ago, but it was low like last
year's. It was kind of a low dome-like pile of embers and logs, sending
sparks and cinders into the air when you poked at it.
arriving there, Galdo got his guitar out and started playing some
campfire songs (meaning SpongeBob songs, including "Sweet Victory" and
C-A-M-P-F-I-R-E-S-O-N-G Song." So of course I just had to join in, and
after the SpongeBob ones we sang "Even If It Breaks Your Heart" (Eli
Young Band) That was one I had picked out before and Galdo really seemed
to like playing.
When those few songs were over I pointed out to
Jenny where the chocolates and marshmallows were for s'mores. We both
got up and grabbed two of these huge marshmallows, much bigger than the kind
that I've used for s'mores in the past. I grabbed two crackers with mine
and we both put our marshmallows on the ends of skinny sticks.
one little thing you need to know; Roasting a marshmallow only till it's golden brown
on the outside is NOT good enough (at least not good enough for me, or
Jenny). Nuh-uh. The way to do it is, you hold the marshmallow in the
flame till it literally catches fire. Wait a little, then blow it out.
Or even better, just wait for the flame to go out on its own. This way
you've got a crispy black 'candy shell' on the outside, with a
melty-gooey center. I took my marshmallow off the stick by pinching it between the crackers. Jenny, however, stuffed the whole thing in her mouth, right off the stick!
(Priceless. Just PRICELESS)
1:30am, I was getting tired and had spent a lot of time out there already. Since there was no one in the guys' cabin
yet I figured I'd take the opportunity to try and get some sleep. There
was just one other guy in there trying to get the portable heaters going,
running extension cords and testing them out to make sure they worked. I
wound up moving into a bigger room that Galdo and one other guy shared, since
the heater in my bunk room wasn't working. But when the power went out a
few hours later and it didn't seem like it would get any warmer, I
moved back to where I originally was. Eventually my old friend Brady came in and
just easily turned on the heater in there (Electronics isn't my
specialty so I'm not sure where the power for which heaters came from. Somehow it worked).
I had that room to myself again, still cold, still not hearing any
snoring... and I woke up around 7:50. Not sure how many hours of sleep I got.
Maybe three or four. Still it was in some ways better than the last
Thinking "Might as well," I got up, made
sure my stuff was all packed and my sleeping bag rolled up. I went to the
dining hall for breakfast, especially since it was warmer in there anyway. My
breakfast was a bowl of fruit loops and a cup of apple juice. And just
as I suspected, there weren't a lot of us left. Somewhere between one
and two dozen, I think.
Me and two other guys lit the
fireplace with thick logs, something I hadn't seen the last two
retreats. It was nice to see that thing light up and really feel the
warmth of it (not much different than last night's bonfire).
think the main reason we're whittled down to a smaller amount of people
on Sunday is 'cause a lot of them have their own church services that
they like to go to. So we just had a couple of people for our worship
team today, and it was a bit quieter. Still it was good, and I really
"Know Your Story" was the focus of this morning's lesson. Now this was a really deep one for me, and probably the most useful.
Brian asked volunteers to come up and share the gospel like before. A
few more people did than before. And since I figured everyone's was different and it
didn't all come down to one or two speakers this time, I decided to take a turn at it.
The trick for me was to say it like I would to a young kid, most likely
someone who didn't know anything about God (like me when I was seven);
at the sky, the fields, the trees, where do you think all that comes
from?" Using analogies like God painting on a canvas made it easier to
communicate too. For the New Testament I said, "Next time you feel
alone, wonder if anybody cares about you... think about God." "He cares
about us, you, me, all of us, so much that He sent His only Son to live
with us, to teach us, and die for our sins so we could reconnect and
have that relationship with Him. If that doesn't say love,w hat does?"
"Some food for thought there."
(a few of my notes during the lesson)
- Why is this [Christianity] important to YOU? What does it do FOR YOU?
- Your story will connect with other peoples' stories (they will find Jesus meaningful for the same reasons you do
After the lecture part of it, the majority of the lesson was having us think and write down our own stories. Not to hand in or anything, just to get the gears in our heads turning. So we got into little groups for this. I sat with Galdo by the fireplace and we talked back and forth about little details in our stories while writing them down; about how I wasn't interested in church growing up, how I came across the Thrive group at school and was kindly invited, how I enjoyed the meetings and it all helped me grow in faith... it was nice to talk about with a friend, especially since this was really a "Nothing Else Matters" kind of weekend.
About quarter after noon, the retreat was pretty much over.
While those select few remaining cleaned up the dining hall, stacking chairs, folding tables etc., I picked up my stuff and went out to the car where mom and dad were waiting for me... with Dunkin Donuts coffee! YES! After spending both nights freezing, I earned that hot cup of dark coffee! Ya hear me? I EARNED it! (of course, it's always been worth it).