Engedi. A place to which David fled as a refuge from Saul. An haven of life in the midst of barrenness. An oasis renowned for the richness of its produce. And the name of a retreat at the end of Summer's hot days.
This past weekend I helped other members of our church host a retreat for folks aged 16-32. It was amazing. Having been in on the planning and preparation made it even more wonderful. See, on the day of the registration deadline, no one outside our church had signed up. And I mean no one. Zip, zero, nada. And we'd promised the camp 80ish. What could we do? Nothing. So the main leaders prayed about it and decided to keep trying--and to keep registrations open. Folk visited other churches, called them, sent letters, and, above all, prayed. And you know what? God answered. The registrations started coming. From a trickle to a downpour they came. In one month we went from zero people outside our church to sixty. Some even registered the day before the retreat started!
And that's not all. Most of us had never put on a retreat of this sort before. Stephanie, Peter, and Rita have done massive homeschool conferences and the like but they're the only ones. The rest of us had been to them but never hosted. And the only difficulty we had was getting people to show up on time. Really. Everything went so amazingly smoothly. I had a one person who has been working on conferences say that she was learning things from us!
But wait! There's more! (Had to do that after our skit...) I'm not the most social person. That is, hanging out with complete strangers is very difficult for me. Usually, I'll hang on the outskirts, listen in on one of my other friends talking to the other attendees but not really get involved myself. Not so this weekend. Rather, I was in the middle of things. True, I didn't actually carry on much by way of conversation with a lot of people--I was playing v-ball, or other games during the little free time we had--but neither did I hesitate as to where to sit at meals, wonder if I would be welcome in games, or feel awkward flitting around the crowd to talk briefly to other people. God was good to me. I was nervous about not knowing anyone on my team but I really liked them. The guys--and gals when they showed up--were great. We just needed some help on the artistic side... :-)
Add to all that encouraging speaking from Brady and Eric on a purpose worth living--and dying--for and you have a marvelous weekend. Both reminded us that Christ alone is worth following and His kingdom worth living for. As Eric pointed out, we are His sheep. And His sheep are supposed to hear and obey. So get up off your seat and obey!
On the way down to Engedi, I prayed with a friend that God would show Himself mightily over the weekend. I think He did.
In Christ alone,