The Real OCF retreat (or at least the real post on it)

Dear Friends and Family, (March 6, 2009)

I apologize for not sending out anything last week, I wrote this update last Sunday but was so busy I never got around to editing it (bad me). This is about my weekend at the OCF retreat, two weekends ago. I will send out another update for this week, hopefully tomorrow but maybe not till Sunday. Thanks for your patience, and enjoy!

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Last weekend I went with several fellow OCF members from Columbus up to White Sulfur Springs PA for an OCF retreat. The location of the retreat was an old hotel on a plot of land up in the rolling hills. Besides the hotel (where we stayed), they also had a stable and horses for horseback riding, a climbing wall in the loft, and a tiny bowling alley where you had to set up your own pins. The land up there is beautiful, quiet, and peaceful. The weather was sunny and about 40 during the day, not too cold if you were in the sun. The remains of melting snow and ice were evident, but there wasn’t really much left on the ground.

We arrived there around 9 Friday night and were just in time for the opening session. The theme of the weekend was “stand up, get ready, hook up!”, focusing on making sure you were spiritually equipped to deal with the challenges in military life and hooked into the spiritual community around you.

Saturday started bright and early with breakfast at 8am, but I got up around 7 and went for a walk (a hike really) around the immediate vicinity of the hotel. The hotel and the lonely winding road that goes by it is stuck up between two steep ridges, so I hiked up to the ridge behind the hotel and watched the sun rise over the ridge of hills to the east. It was very beautiful, cold, and quiet.

Let me say right now that ALL the meals were absolutely wonderful, home-cooked feasts. I haven’t had such wonderful food since Christmas (when I was at home and therefore eating my mother’s wonderful cooking). After breakfast we had a short praise and worship and then heard from two men, Major Dioreo (USMC) and Capt Ward (US Army ?) about their military experiences, how the Lord had saved them and worked through them in their duties. Major Dioreo told us of the miracle of a command of his in Iraq where he was put in charge of a base in one of the most violent regions where they were losing marines there every day. From the time he took command to the time he left (not sure how long it was, maybe a few months) not a single one of his marines were killed, despite multiple car bombings and attacks on the base. According to the local insurgents, they didn’t succeed in killing the infidels (us) because the local resident weren’t devout enough Muslims (go figure). Anyway, his base and its lack of casualties were on the news several times and as a result of this miracle many Marines accepted Christ.

After lunch we had the afternoon free and I went on a trail ride with 7 others. It wasn’t very long or exciting compared to my usual galloping bareback around the farm at home, but the trail was beautiful and it was good to be back on a horse after 2 years at college. After that I went hiking on a trail south-west of the hotel. The trail should have taken me about an hour to do, but it actually took me 3 because I kept taking pictures. There was one high ridge I hiked on that had an outcrop of rock all along its length that was like a dinosaur spine on top of the ridge, very cool. It was even more cool because, after my geology class this past fall, I knew how it had formed and could (roughly) identify the rock. During my hiking I also found where some predator had caught and eaten an unfortunate ruffed grouse and I collected some of the feathers left behind to take home.

Dinner was at 6 and after that we had a sort of “concert” by Dan Meyers, the musician that did all our music for the weekend. Dan is a very talented singer, song writer, and guitarist who has released several albums. His “job” is traveling around the world and performing for our armed forces while spreading the gospel through his music. I really liked his music, but even better were his stories that he told. Each song had its own story, and the stories tied in things that happened in his life with God, the gospel, and what it is to be a Christian. I really liked the stories.

Sunday morning we had breakfast, cleaned up our rooms (no room service, we had to clean up after ourselves! which I think is just fine since I’ve spent my whole life doing it), and had a worship service. After the service there was the opportunity for people who wanted to to come up and publicly profess their faith and be baptized, which several people did (Praise the Lord!). Finally lunch and we departed about 2pm, getting back in Columbus around 7pm.

It was a wonderful, refreshing weekend

In Christ
Lydia

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