Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spirtual Retreat

After club on Friday night (Aug. 10th if you are tracking with me) we walked to James' house then went to a restaurant to eat dinner. We ate the buffet they offered and had our first taste of the most common Kenyan dish - ugali.  It is a thick, polenta-style cornmeal porridge.  We enjoyed eating outside just after a huge rainstorm. One thing I have failed to mention so far is that the weather in Kenya at this time of year is much colder than I was expecting. I sure was glad to have packed a jacket.  I even borrowed a polar fleece from another girl on the trip. After eating we headed back to the hotel to get a good night's rest.

We needed to be up and ready by 8am but I found myself up around 5:30am.  I just couldn't sleep even though my body really needed it.  I stayed in bed and prayed for awhile then headed out to eat breakfast in the hotel restaurant.  I looked over the scripture and notes that I was going to share at the leadership retreat later that day and prayed that God would use me to encourage these men and women who work so hard for the advancement of the gospel among Kenyan high school students. To say that I was feeling inadequate to the task is over simplifying it.  I am passionate about God's Word, I love to teach but I was a bit overwhelmed by this.  I knew I had to trust in and rely on God completely and really, is there anything I do in life that this shouldn't be the the case!?! Lesson learned God.  Lesson learned.

We traveled many broken down and bumpy roads to the retreat center that would be our home for the next day and a half and got right to work when we arrived.  We decorated the meeting/eating area and tried to make the atmosphere of the camp one of excitement, refreshment and rejuvenation for those who would attend.  Soon after we got the camp set up YL leaders started to arrive.  Some of our team members taught the leaders how to play four square and just about everyone got in on at least 1 good game.  So fun to enjoy laughing together and bonding over a simple game.  We got to see the larger than life personalities of some of these leaders and really just fell in love with the people we met.  

Where all the meals and many small group discussions happened.

Large group area

Bed for the night,

James (on looking) Ernest, Matt, Courtney and Zach

Zach teaching the leaders some games they could use in club

Little Sally Walker and Jackie Chan anyone?

The format of the retreat was about the same for each session. 1. Games (both American and African) 2. Worship and Praise (American team then African leaders) 3. Teaching. 4. Group discussion 5. Break

Really though, it didn't feel to me like there were American leaders and African leaders.  For me it felt like we were all just worshipers of God who love Jesus and want others to know about Him.  I am still amazed at the depth and maturity of the leaders we met.  They came to the retreat ready to learn, grow and apply what they heard to their lives.  Tomorrow I will share more about the spiritual journey on the retreat and how amazed I am at God's story being written on the lives of so many of my Kenyan brothers and sisters. 

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