Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Missionary Retreat

For our family, it’s a highlight of every year:  Missionary Retreat!  February  22nd to 25th marked the third year we’ve been able to get away with our missionary community for a much needed time of relaxation, fun and refreshment in God’s Word. 
Also, for the third year in a row, we headed to Kaliko Beach Club Resort, about an hour north of Port au Prince.  Kaliko has been a great location the last few years: it is large enough to accommodate our growing numbers, has good-size conference rooms for our sessions, is on the beach and has a really fun pool, which the kids LOVE!  This year was a test in patience and flexibility though.  Kaliko has undergone new management in the last year and it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did.   All we could do was roll with the punches! Our reservation got mixed up somehow and we had to change the retreat at the last minute from Thursday thru Sunday to Friday thru Monday.  When we arrived Friday, they were overbooked and it took all afternoon to early evening for everyone to get into a room.  Even then, a few people were sleeping on air mattresses that didn’t hold air!  The conference room we had booked for the adults had been given to another group by mistake and we didn’t know if we were going to get into the room until a few minutes before our sessions started Friday night.  Needless to say, the day we arrived was a little bit stressful!  I say all that, not to complain, but just to point out, this kind of stuff happens and it happens often in Haiti.  I really think our group did a great job of keeping cool and calm and trusting that God would work it out.  And He did!  Once everyone had a place to sleep and we had a conference room for our sessions, we all had a great weekend.  Here’s a photo of our whole group!

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Each day we had a morning and evening session, with free time each afternoon.  For MANY years, a group called Barb and Friends, based out of Pennsylvania, have come and done VBS for the kids.  They do a great job incorporating puppets, action songs, games and really fun crafts into the lessons.  Our kids love it and look forward to it every year!  The last night, the kids do a program for the adults and talk about what they learned and sing some of the songs.  It was especially fun watching Braden this year—he really got into it!


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While the kids had VBS, the adults gathered for our sessions of worship and teaching.  It’s always so refreshing when we get these opportunities to soak in God’s Word in English and in a setting where we can really focus on God, be refreshed in His Word and the fellowship of other believers and regroup.  Our speaker this year was Pastor Russell Howard from our church in FL, McGregor Baptist Church.  Rob and I have sat under his teaching before and were really excited to have him share God’s Word with us that weekend.  We were not disappointed!  We had five teaching sessions scheduled and Pastor Russell walked us through the history of the church at Philippi and Paul’s letter to the Philippians.  We had another session scheduled for missionaries to share their ministries, but we were all enjoying the teaching so much, we asked Pastor Russell if he could teach another session instead!  He spoke from Galatians 5 and 6 on “Walking in the Spirit.”  Someone made the comment that it was like drinking from a water hose!  I would agree!  There was so much good stuff that weekend, I am still reflecting and pondering over what I learned.

We always love the free time as well.  The pool is a fun design and the kids really enjoy their play time with each other.  One of the leaders from Barb and Friends rented a jet ski for an hour.  Rob and Drew had a turn on it for a few minutes and I think it was the highlight of Drew’s weekend!


We finished off the retreat playing “Minute to Win It.”  Rob’s team won :)

We are thankful for this time to get away every year, thankful for Pastor Russell’s willingness to come and thankful for the rest.  My tank is full.

Becky


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