The Beauty in Simplicity…

CMC HS Group

The Christ Memorial Church High School Fall Retreat is something I look forward to every single year. Yes, it is one more thing to load onto the calendar in the midst of a busy fall, but that is exactly why I look forward to “getting away.” With the start-up of school, sporting events, after-school activities, work, meetings, and a new program and ministry year at church, life just gets crazy busy. So, we put a Fall Retreat on the calendar to offer high schoolers a chance to unwind, get away, forget about the stress of school and home, re-energize emotionally and spiritually, make new friendships and strengthen existing relationships all while having fun together at Cran-Hill Ranch!

Breakfast Burritos

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I recently came across this quote and I think it applies perfectly to why we go to Cran-Hill on a fall retreat in the middle of a very busy month of September:

“In the midst of all the noise, all the rush, all the change, all the busyness, and all the uncertainty, people long for simplicity. Precisely because things are so hectic and out of control people respond to simple. The busyness and complexity of life makes simple a great commodity, something desired.” 

Quiet Time

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We long for simplicity, so the goal for this weekend was simple:

Love God and Love Others.

It included: amazing food, great fellowship, quiet time with God, meaningful conversations around the fire, singing worship songs around the fire, playing capture the flag, experiencing God’s nature via canoeing down a river, and encouraging one another as fellow believers in Christ.

Quiet Time

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Once again, I came back from a Fall Retreat absolutely physically exhausted (not having slept much) but, more importantly, emotionally and spiritually renewed having experienced God’s beauty in the simplicity of sharing a weekend with high schoolers and leaders! Cheers to God for an amazing weekend!

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Party @ Penuel!

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It has been a very long time since my last blog post, so here is a quick update on the mission trip I was on to Camp Penuel in Ironton, Missouri with our high school youth group from Christ Memorial Church.

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Fast Facts:

62 High School Students
25 Adult leaders/volunteers
1 Greyhound Bus
1 15 Passenger Van
2 12 Passenger Vans
1 Motorhome
1 Work truck with a Trailer
3 Weed whackers
3 Chainsaws
2 orders of 90 Jimmy Johns Subs

Countless laughs, smiles, and memories made.

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Worksites during the day from Monday through Thursday included:

Construction/Building

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Sanding/Painting

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Campers Duty

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Food and Kitchen Prep

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Construction/Building

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Cement Prep and Laying

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Every one of our high school students had the opportunity to work 2 days, interact with the campers at Camp Penuel and serve meals at the camp for 1 day, and then go off-campus 1 day to the Johnson Shut-ins and Elephant Rocks State Parks.

IMG_1407Jumping off the rocks at Johnson Shut-ins

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It was an absolutely amazing trip for these reasons:

  • the high school students and leaders worked so hard in the 100+ degree heat
  • we were able to see the difference we made with the work projects
  • watching our high school students interact and love on the Camp Penuel campers
  • having campfire conversations every night with 87 people
  • waking up students at 6am so they could have quiet time devotions on their own
  • physically seeing the spiritual growth and transformation of numerous students in how they interacted with others and hearing their conversations
  • the numerous hilarious quotes that were said throughout the week

Memories were made, authentic community was formed, numerous laughs were shared, faith was deepened and lives were transformed. Cheers to God!

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