This article was written by Belle Heuseveldt for the Storm Watch – March/April 2013 Edition. Pick up a copy on campus!
As college students we all take three-day weekends very seriously. It is an extra day to sleep in, right? During President’s Day weekend, I, along with 30 other students and faculty, went to the Young Life Lost Canyon Camp in Williams, Arizona for Winter Retreat. Going on this trip is definitely not something I normally do. I actually was not planning on going at all, until I found out about the workers offer. If I went to the retreat as a part of the kitchen staff, then I was able to go for free. I can honestly say that God pulled me out of my chair that day to go sign up. I was not expecting it, but I must say, I am glad I went. It was an great three-day weekend retreat.
First of all, the camp itself was amazing. If you have never been to Lost Canyon before, you are for sure missing out. They had an extremely nice staff, phenomenal food, nice rooms (with heated floors) and many fun things to do. If I were to go on a retreat again, I would want to go
to Lost Canyon – no doubt.
One of the things I loved most about the retreat was the fellowship. Since there was a small group of us that went, it was easy for us all to connect. Playing games until midnight and laughing at everyone’s silly stories always makes for a good time. On Saturday and Sunday we had workshops in which the men and women split up for a more focused topic.
The theme for the weekend was identity. We talked about how to reform our thinking in order to see ourselves through God’s eyes. I loved sitting there with my fellow sisters in Christ and listening to their stories. It was nice to know that others go through the same problems. It is easy to forget that there are other people who understand what we are going through. This was so nice for me, and I felt so much closer to everyone. Fellowship is important, and this was the first time in a while that I genuinely felt it.
Being a part of the work crew was also a lot of fun! There were four of us that participated and worked twice each day in Lost Canyon’s coffee shop. It was such a blast! We missed out a little bit on the free time and dodge ball, but it was very well worth it! It was a lot better than not going at all. The actual camp workers that trained us and helped out were great.
Lastly, I want to talk about Sunday (which was our last full day). All of the students from ACU had an hour of solo time with God. We could read our Bible, go for a walk, write in our journal, or anything that helped us connect to Him. It was very peaceful and heartwarming.
After this, we all met in one big room and had our own church service. Let me tell you, it was the best service I have ever been to and was really life changing. The first half hour was dedicated to us. One at a time, a student would rise and share something that was on his or her heart during the solo. During this time we were all reaching out to each other, trying to help one another grow deeper in our relationships with God. After this, Karen gave a message and taught us about breathing prayers, which are short prayers that people can recite any time they need to refocus their minds on God. It was relaxing and it forced me to focus. It was nice to concentrate on nothing but God and what he was doing in my life.
Looking back on the weekend as I write this, I realize that this was one of the best weekends I have experienced in a long time. I can definitely say that I would go again, and I believe that everyone should consider taking the time out of a busy schedule and go. It may only be three days, but it was a life-changing experience, and I am never going to forget some of the serious and funny stories that came from that trip.
Next winter, I hope to witness an even larger group return for winter retreat. It was fun, spiritually fulfilling, relaxing and so much more! I cannot wait for next year, and I hope to meet you there!