When it comes to the Christian faith, there isn’t a simpler statement defining what we believe than love is greater. That’s what our Fall Retreat was about this year, love being greater than everything, than the sin we struggle with, than the problems that show up in our lives, God’s love for us is greater than all.
Bill Ashe, our speaker for the weekend who recently returned to Camp from New Mexico, focused on this throughout the retreat. He wanted to leave the indelible mark of this fact in the minds of the campers and staff. Friday night, he spoke about some of the idols that may be in our lives. On the altar were pieces of paper, we were encouraged to write down some of those idols and to place it back on the altar, signifying one giving it over to God.
The night game for the Senior High campers and staff was an innovative game of Capture the Flag. The Camp and players were divided into two and poles with glow sticks attached were hidden throughout the grounds. Each team had a bowl full of flour bombs. Being pegged with one of these flour bombs, besides leaving a gritty taste in the mouth, sent one to jail until a task was completed, allowing them to get back into the game. Meanwhile, the Junior High-ers played a variety of mingle games.
Saturday consisted of one of the most novel ideas I’ve seen outside of the usual classes, planned recreation and free time, the counselors were involved in a panel where the campers were open to ask any questions of a specific counselor or they could open it up to the group. A few of the questions were intended for humor, like “How many expressions do you have?” (Thanks Jmart…haha) but a vast majority dealt with areas of faith, temptation and love. It was a truly special moment and a lot of real issues were addressed.
Saturday night, Bill spoke about how God’s love is greater and what that kind of love looks like, see 1 Corinthians 13. Bill made the connection that God is also love and all of those things listed in the chapter. Love, and God, is patient and kind. Love, and God, do not fail.
The night game was a new game called 10/40. In the center of the world, there is an area called the 10/40, which is a reference to longitudinal coordinates. The area is between Africa and China, which is considered to be the most unreached area of the world. Each team was given a bag of hearts which were to be given out to the unreached people groups spread throughout the Camp. After the game, a campfire was started, songs were sung and a good time was had by all.
When we returned to the Tabernacle for the final service on Sunday morning, we saw why we were asked to write down our idols. On a wall on stage was the word “love” outlined in spray paint on a giant paper, filling in the lines were all of our idols. At the base of the wall was some red tissue paper and glue. A few minutes before we were dismissed, we were encouraged to glue the tissue paper over our idols creating the indelible mark Bill was looking to leave.