This past weekend, over 50 college students from Seattle, Bellingham and Tacoma converged onWhidbey Island for our annual fall retreat to focus on strengthening and cultivating our relationships with God. In order to appreciate a retreat, you have to imagine what its like to immerse yourself in a culture of students gathering together, hungry and eager to accept challenges and grow. This past weekend was just that. The weather on Whidbey Island held up and despite 60mph winds on Friday night, the students heard a great lesson then went out to hang out at a Bonfire and enjoy the fellowship ‘til the early hours of the morning.
The next day, we enjoyed breakfast and then listened to a lesson from Marcus Wallace, the South Sound Campus Minister. His lesson was about Jesus being able to change your life if you dig into the Bible and are willing to connect in a deeper way with him. Later that day, Landon and Gina Rawson, the leaders of the Bellingham Church, led a time of sharing where students a number of students got to share about their conversions and the ways that Jesus did change their lives. One particularly moving testimony was by Jordan Bonderoundt who shared about his own pride keeping him from being baptized and how it almost led to his inability to accept the gospel. He shared deeply and passionately about the importance of looking into truth and asking ourselves why we don’t want to change our lives to match the Bible.
Saturday night was one of the highlights of the weekend. We had a home-cooked chili meal followed by the greatest Halloween party in the history of our campus ministry. Okay, who knows if that last statement was true, you can take a look at the pictures and be the judge. I always get a kick out of how crazy college students can be during Halloween, though the winner for the best costume wasn’t a college student – it was Landon Rawson (pictured with wife Gina at right) who went as a Shogun Warrior! And yes, he made his own costume.
In Romans 6, the Bible states, “Shall we go on sinning so that grace my increase? By no means, we died to sin, how can we live in it any longer. Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death. We were therefore buried with him, through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the father, we too may live a new life.”
This was theme of our retreat, and it was special in that it gave our friends who were visiting us an opportunity to see our changed lives and be a part of our family. On Sunday, a number of people shared how the retreat had changed their lives and the decisions they were going to make.
Sometimes it’s easy to focus on looking for miracles in God changes lives of people who have yet to know His son, but this weekend we focused on the power that God has exhibited in changing our lives. We remembered our old lives and how much they had changed. Truly God’s power has been at work this weekend as it has this entire year, He has changed all of our lives and the more we remember about our past, the clearer it becomes that our old lives are truly dead and gone.