One of my favorite things about the new year is that my youth group had a winter retreat. I was excited even before the retreat started thinking of all the fellowship, fun, and how God would work through all of our hearts. Our destination: The Georgia Baptist Mission Board Conference Center in Toccoa, GA. It is a beautiful place, especially in the evening at the sunset hour.
My youth pastor Mr. Jason asked two of his best friends to come to speak and worship with us. Stephen Dervan is the pastor of Oak Hill Baptist church in Griffin, GA. When Mr. Jason was in middle school, Stephen was an intern at Mr. Jason’s church, and he has impacted Mr. Jason’s life. Stephen took us through the life of Peter and showed us what the Lord wants us to do for His glory. Mr. Jason’s other longtime friend, Cliff Preston, is an amazing worship leader. A lot of the songs he sang were new to me with a lot of meaning behind them. Cliff writes songs, but lets other artists release the music he writes. He is also a Justice of the Peace for Arkansas’ court system. My family group leader was Mr. Jason. In the family groups we would discuss the message and how we related to it. We could be open, honest and real with each other.
We participated in lots of fun activities during the weekend. We all played dodgeball with our small groups (okay, I was out first) but it was fun as we watched and cheered on the teams. During my free time I went to the snack shop. The snack shop has ice cream and Christian t-shirts. The ice cream is an excellent 10 out of 10. I recommend trying the coffee flavored ice-cream! Sitting around the warm fireplace, watching others play games, and visiting with my friends in the rotunda building was relaxing.
We were not roughing it. The food was pretty good, and in the dining hall there is a long wall of windows overlooking the gorgeous lake. The cabin I stayed in has a long hallway with rooms on each side. There was a large common room, and there were two small rooms; each with eight bunk beds, including a community style bathroom between the two rooms. Some of the kids stayed in motel style rooms, up from my cabin.
It was a great retreat and a cold one. I was refreshed and reminded of how God really works in people’s lives and through His powerful name.