The weather radar Thursday evening showing the system that was headed for us. God’s visible blessing on the start of winter retreats.

Our first retreat as Resident Missionary Staff is in the books! Here are some fun facts for you:

  • We hosted 63 people on West Side and 57 people on East Side (a smaller than normal number for sure, but mighty in enthusiasm!)
  • We had 30 volunteer workers including those in the kitchens, dish rooms, in program areas like the tubing hill, as well as musicians and speakers
  • It had been 340 days since camp last had guests. That’s a long time!

Overall it went very well, especially considering many things are needing to be done a bit differently than the “camp norm” as we seek to follow state guidelines. (What!? Mealtimes that are not the traditional 8:30, 12:30, and 5:30? Shocking!) In the weeks leading up to the retreat, the program staff has been very busy rethinking the schedule and flow of activities, and the cooks have been busy planning how to adapt to the spread out mealtimes. It was such a blessing to hear the sounds of winter camp and to see the campers going about their schedule happily and undeterred by the changes. God is so good to bless this ministry! In fact, he even blessed the beginning of winter retreats with a layer of fresh snow on Thursday night. What neat timing to have a fresh layer of white to welcome the guests to their retreat. Also pretty cool that I’m seeing more fresh snow on the way this Thursday as well. 

As for our jobs this past weekend, Jim got some experience in the East Side dish room, which included shifts a bit longer than normal because of the spread out serving times. But as an added blessing there was more time than normal for good conversations with the volunteers who were helping with the dishes. In between those times he worked on some needed tasks in the office and was on call for any trouble with the operation of the new Trading Post software, which was used for the first time this weekend. I helped out with some food prep on Friday morning; it has been a joy to work with another staff family who moved here just a month after us, Dave and Rita Miron, as they take on the East Side kitchen and make it their place of ministry. I also covered a small but necessary new task of sanitizing a game room in between groups. And then Mary Emma and I took the late shift out at the Skate Hut on Saturday night. We learned the ropes of hockey skate sizes and how to tell left handed hockey sticks from right handed hockey sticks. We were thankful for heat in the Skate Hut on a very chilly night! 

Our family did not go into any of the chapels since we are limiting the capacity of people in them, but we know that God’s truth was eagerly proclaimed and we trust it was active in the hearts of the youth that came. 

Thank you for your support that enables us to be here in this ministry. And thank you for your prayers for the next four weekends of winter retreats. Bring on the snow!

Rachel, for the Bennetts