We have made it to the other side of this year's Girl's Retreat, and it was awesome. This retreat is my own "baby" and my way of really reaching our girls and forming relationships. We spent the weekend looking at Paul's conversion, the faithfulness of Rahab, and the 12 disciples. The main point was trying to get the girls to believe that they are "Made for More." Saul went from being a persecutor of Christians to Paul, the world's greatest missionary and author of half of the New Testament. Rahab went from a prostitute to being part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. The disciples were young and uneducated but helped spread the gospel of Jesus throughout the world. Our teenagers (and adults!) need to believe that they are created and equipped for an incredible journey. God's plans for us are always so much bigger and greater than anything we could ever envision for ourselves. Our responsibility is to leave our old junk behind and follow after Christ. My greatest hope and prayer is that God's Word was made clear and understandable to the girls, that they were encouraged, and they left with an excitement to continue studying and learning.
We ended up having a total of 31 people in a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom house for the weekend. We took 2 packed 15 passenger vans and an SUV three hours north to Industry, Tx. It was close quarters, but I think the whole bunch enjoyed spending time together. I am so thankful for the James and Donaldson families for letting us use the farm.
While each day had time set aside for group and individual Bible study time, we also incorporated games, movies, s'mores, manicures, tacos, scavenger hunts, songs, and plenty of other great things. Unfortunately, sleep didn't end up being on our list of activities.
Let me tell you, 31 girls can put away some food. We had each girl bring along a snack and a 2 liter drink. The drinks were drained by Saturday afternoon. The snacks were gone by the time we left. One of our brave adults, Bethany, took on the task of feeding 30+ people a total of 5 meals. This was awesome for 2 reasons: 1. She did an INCREDIBLE job. 2. I didn't have to worry about food or meal planning. While I'm handing out praise, I'd like to say thank you to the Chick-fil-A in Victoria, Tx for not screaming and running at the sight of 30 teenage girls walking in for dinner.
This year, small groups were incorporated into the weekend and I think both the leaders and the students absolutely loved the small group time. We ended up having 5 groups total, 3 of which were middle school students and the other 2 were high school (and college!). The group leaders were fantastic - I just can't help but believe that God hand-picked the right girls and the right leaders.
The weekend was an overwhelming success and I couldn't have done it without the other adult leaders (Bethany, Jessica, Jackie, Nicole and Kim) and the prayers of our fabulous church family. I can't thank you enough!!!!