In a little over a month our youth ministry will be heading up near Lake Tahoe for our annual winter retreat that we have aptly named “Winter Escape 2013!” We have been praying into & planning this event for the last couple of months, & yesterday we took a group of our leaders up to tour the facilities & film some new promo videos.
After stopping for some coffee, we made the 2 hour drive east from Sacramento & journeyed higher & higher into the Sierra’s until our bladder’s became full & we had to stop at a greasy-gas station to use the restroom & buy beef-jerky (You can’t go on a road-trip & stop at a gas station without buying beef-jerky)!
Finally, we arrived at our destination where we received a tour of the facilities from the Russian owners who used an interpreter to communicate (That was fun) & then we began to set up the cameras & fill some fun & crazy (And dumb) videos!
After most of the filming was done, we spent some quality time doing the real important stuff like – sledding & snow-ball fights!! Some of our male leaders were having so much fun that when one of them was throwing the other into the snow, he bit his tongue a little to hard – & let’s just say he was making red snow-cones for the rest of the time (Ouch)!
Being famished from working so so hard, we stopped to find some dinner in a little town off the freeway about halfway home. The restaurants nearest to us were McDonald’s & a Thai Restaurant. When we asked our leaders which of them wanted to eat Thai, we were surprised to learn that most of them had never eaten Thai food before!! Shocked at this outrage (Thai is the best kind of food!), we made the executive decision to eat at the Thai restaurant & helped them all order one of our favorite dishes called “Chicken Pad Thai.” Our leaders loved the food & we all reflected on the days exciting events before heading home.
If anyone was ever busy & had an important ministry it was Jesus! He only had 3 years to teach the multitudes, heal thousands, train his disciples & save the world! Yet, he always found time for people, & it was in those moments where lives were always transformed – Zacchaeus up in the tree or the woman at the well to name a couple. It was in those special moments away from the crowds & busyness – up on the mountain of transfiguration or in Peter’s fishing boat – where Jesus spent that quality time with his leaders & truly equipped them to carry the torch of the Good News!
In one afternoon, I saw God unify our leadership team, inspire them with hope & burden their hearts for our students in ways that I had not seen before. Nothing – no planning, reading, calling, texting or emailing – nothing I could have done in my office that day from 9-5 could have replicated what God within our leadership team on that mountain as we threw snow-balls at each-other & ate chicken-pad-thai! – Derek