Sunday, October 12, 2008


This weekend we went with the 11-16 year olds from Christchurch to Kingswood. If you remember my posts from our trip with Bettws High School, "Kingswood" might sound familiar. I learned this weekend that they're a chain- the one we went to last month was in England, and this one was in North Wales. WAY nicer than the one in England.

The retreat is called "THE CHOICE" with messages about the COST of following Jesus, and the JOY of following Jesus. Also one today about what it means to make the choice to follow Christ. The kids were encouraged to ask themselves whether they were "in" or saying, "thanks, but no thanks, I'm gonna go do my own thing."

We got to The Building at about 5:45p on Friday, loaded up the buses, and spent 5 hours driving to our location which "was 3 hours away." Everyone had a really good attitude and loads of laughs! Going to bed that night wasn't an issue- we were all knackered.

I had my own room (which was such a blessing) and was across the mini-hallway to my girls- year 7 and 8s- (6th and 7th graders). I absolutely love them. This was the view from my window....ya. I know.

And this was the Cafeteria- which they call "Canteen." I always think of a boy scouts water bottle whenever I hear that word.

Andy lead us in worship for our mettings. We called him "the band." He did a fantastic job.

My group's first activity was the zipline! I love it!

...and this is me attempting to pursue humility...I'm showing you all this picture...

Next was rock climbing! Ives and I went together. She crushed me. Call it an excuse if you like, but I was on the most difficult of all the sides-- my forearms are the really good kind of sore today. It took me a while to get to the top and I had to take several breaks. I wouldn't call it "perseverance" that I made it...probably more like "pride." It kills me to not set a goal I reach...especially if it has to do with physical activity. It was really fun. My triceps could use rock climbing as apart of my regular schedule.

We then did Aeroball (which is sort of like basketball on trampolines!) we did Nightline and then Fencing. This is Ivy's group after Nightline (which is essentially an obstacle course through the mud, blindfolded.) So many people had mud fights.

The funniest part about this is that everyone took showers at the same time after dinner having done "Nightline" at some point during the day. Well, while many were in the shower, the fire alarm went off. At LEAST five boys were outside in the cold rain with nothing but towels around their waists- running to be in line to be accounted for. One sweet girl came up to me with a "jumper" (sweatshirt) over her towel that was covering her and sheepishly said, "Everything my mom's taught me about modesty has flown out the window!" She too was in the shower when the alarm went off. Apparently something aerosol was sprayed and it set the alarm off. Nothing to be concerned about!

After the meeting, my girls decided to have a PARTY in their room. We did make overs, invited all the other girls, had a pillow fight and talent show. It was so skinkin cute.

Girls will be girls!

This is the enthusiastic Toms and Benson eagerly awaiting our Caving experience this morning. Our groups were joined for this one- it was so fun!

...inside the cave...

Since I already have a picture of Rowanne on my blog, and its ok with her parents, I thought it'd be ok to add another one. The ride home was gloriously beautiful. Taige took loads of pictures. If you get a chance, check out his facebook and see if he posted them yet.

Last night and this morning during worship, I had this sense/thought of Jesus Christ standing before me looking at me. It was just me and Him. Both of us knowing my history and life different than anyone else. Both of us knowing my sin and His grace in my life differently than anyone else (though He knows it more fully). He's with me in my joys. He is there in my sorrows. He's the closest friend I have. Moved to tears with joy for That Day when I will behold His face (!!!), I sensed Him whispering to my heart-- I'm watching you. When I'm struggling with something that no one sees...He sees. If I'm being sinned against and I want to point a finger, He calmly says, "I'll take care of that. How will you respond?" Oh the sweet nearness I felt as I reviewed the Truth that since He is outside of time, His eyes can be (and are) completely and totally on me every second that I am alive. I don't fully comprehend it, but I love it. It challenges me as much as it comforts me.

I wrote in my journal, "Serve invisibly." I think that will be a theme this year. Then, I was reminded of the words to a song, "Take all my cravings for vain recognition, for fleshly indulgence and worldly ambition, I want to much LORD, to make you the focus- to serve you in secret, and never be noticed..." And since then have been reminded of my post about moms. And, I know, all of this is probably really hard to believe, but I'm being completly honest- I can even take a picture of my journal if you want me to...after sharing this with my mom, she emailed me a video that she meant to send yesterday. Take a look. And be encouraged. He sees you. (click on words)

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Hi JJ! I LOVE reading your blogs and hearing about life across the pond! I miss you so much!

I just wanted to share this with you...When I was worshiping in church this past Sunday morning God suddenly brought you to mind and I was overwhelmed with the truth that we serve the SAME God. The same God that we were singing to in Orlando is the very same God that WATCHING over you in Wales. When I read your blog on Sunday about sensing God watching over you and it just being you and him it was like reading the very same words that I wrote down on Sunday in my journal to share with you later. God is so good! I just had this sense that he was going to reveal MORE of Himself to you - that His majesty was going to overwhelm you. And that He has you precisely where He wants you.

Thanks for writing and letting all of us at home share in your experiences in Wales.

Miss you!!

Love, Eliz