Refreshed . . . Retreat Goers Get a Chance to Relax
by Tobi Pawson
Members of the Christmas Valley and La Pine churches gathered for a spirit-filled weekend at the first annual REFRESHED retreat on August 25–28. The retreat was held at Ogden Group Campground, a beautiful setting at the bottom of Paulina Peak near La Pine, Oregon.
Presenters included Linda McConnell, a lifestyle consultant from Manton, Calif.; Pastor Jerry Joubert from Bend; and Pastor Jonathan Pawson from Christmas Valley and La Pine. During the retreat, the focus was on positive living and its rippling effect on our evangelistic outreach in the community or even in our own families. Participants were given helpful tips and hints on how to make healthier choices, both mentally and physically, which, of course, affect us spiritually.
The youth tent was busy as well, with children from ages 3-14. The theme was, "He Walked the Talk," focusing on Jesus' parables and learning through crafts and outdoor activities.
On Friday evening, seated at outdoor tables shaped into a cross, all the campers took part in an Agape Feast with authentic Mediterranean cuisine. The candle-lit table under the big starry night with special music by Bobbilynn Miller from the Klamath Falls church, ended the evening so beautifully, giving such an amazing entrance into the holy Sabbath hours. Pastor Jonathan fondly recalls, "To stand before both congregations in the quiet of the night, breaking the unleavened bread and drinking the fresh "wine" in the presence of the Lord under the stars that night, it was such a blessed experience, and words are few to describe it." Al and Barbara Tucker from the La Pine church also felt that the agape feast was a pinnacle moment at the retreat, "We were on a spiritual high being in nature with our God. We have been asking and God filled us with His Spirit. The agape dinner was the height of our experience."
On Sabbath afternoon, all were invited to join the members of the Bend church to witness baptisms at McKay Falls, which is on Paulina Creek. Pastors Jerry Joubert and Jonathan Pawson baptized Susie Bashaw from the La Pine church as well as Bethany and Tate Easterbrooks, Zoe Reynolds, Luke Darby, Joceyln Griffin, and Kristyn Taylor, all students from the Three Sisters Adventist Christian School in Bend. The students took part in a Bible-marking class with area pastors last year. This high Sabbath ended with a vespers by Rebecca Miller, from the Klamath church, as she shared her experience overseas mission work.
The purpose of this year's retreat was to break away from busy schedules, come together in a natural setting, and to seek God more fully. Martha Underwood, a member of the La Pine church shares, "To think we could have such a wonderful, spiritual, and refreshing experience right here in our own 'backyard' is amazing! We were blessed by the whole weekend!"