Monday, October 31, 2022


It was one of our largest retreats ever, and it turned out phenomenally! We had all types of hurdles this month (short staffed, parents' health, personal exhaustion, unexpected rain that caused major delays, lost a driver which meant we couldn't take one of our trucks & one of our trailers with tons of gear to take up, last minute cancellations, & more hurdles). BUT, we had some amazing volunteers that stepped up like you couldn't believe including 1 volunteer (who wants no recognition) who put in over 60 hours last week to fill in the gaps, and another family that adopted this trip like a family service project, and my amazing sister who cared for our parents and her son to give me every minute possible to run around like a crazy man to prepare for this event. I knew it would turn out great because that's what God does on these events, but I also knew it was going to be an excruciating journey for me personally to get everything done... sort of like (in a very incomparable way) the example Jesus set by personally traveling the harsh road of the cross to make it to Golgotha for the great benefit of the many... the lesson there is that many times in leadership (and parenting) someone has to bear the brunt of the suffering (carrying the load of harsh, demanding, exhausting, excruciating, & stressful responsibilities) so that a great event can take place... whether it's preparing for a wedding, a Sunday church service, a Christmas play, a mission trip, a concert, a family reunion, or any big event there is usual one person who has to "take one for the team" so that the event takes place. There's no escaping it. It's the inescapable part of planning any group event. There are so many moving parts and so many things that can go wrong, and someone has to carry that load more than anyone else. It's a pressure cooker even if for Jesus. He sweat blood in agonizing prayer leading up to the greatest group event in the history of mankind - and He is Jesus! Or how about the Apostle Paul who said, "Besides everything else [beatings, persecution, dangers, hunger, no sleep, & much more], I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." Leading anything is inherently stress inducing. I is just a man trying to plan God-awesome adventures. This was an excruciating week on top of a couple excruciating years, but still we press on. All that to say that our fantastic hard working volunteers, staff, and our amazing God took an agonizing journey of preparation and turned it into a phenomenal unforgettable weekend of celebration & joy. It was all worth it! All the "blood, sweat, and tears" was worth it! Families bonded together deeply. People grew closer to Jesus. Kids had some of the best days of their life without thinking they needed to take drugs, get drunk, have sex, or need technology. People made new friends. Some people told me it was a life changing weekend. And countless other moments of great value took place. Today we wake up very tired and somewhat worn out, but it's a good tired and a good worn out... the kind that comes with the great satisfaction of knowing God used every inch of the harsh journey for something of great value. We had a phenomenal retreat - ALL GLORY TO GOD and all kudos to all the hard workers! And thank you to all our supporters that make these events possible! More pics & vids to come including a 100 ft slip'n slide!!! And now there is no time to rest... right back to grind of life and this current journey. Back to work!