Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Weekend retreat pt.1

Okay, so I did warn you it would be a while before I posted anything, all the same I apologize. :) At least I left some comments and stuff so a few people knew I hadn't fallen off the mountain or been admitted to the hospital with multiple fractures... Not that we ever got around to doing much that was dangerous enough to cause any of those or other disasters. It rained all day Friday, all morning Saturday, and didn't clear up and get sunny until Sunday. So I had a very damp weekend!

Dad took me up to camp and we got there about a quarter to one...and didn't find anyone at the lodge. Hmm...not good. So we drove back down to the Hylton's (camp director and family) house to see what was up. So Andy (the director) came out and talked to us a bit and told me to take my stuff up to a cabin and then just come back down to their house to hang out because the canoe trip was probably not going to happen. So we did that; Dad helped me get my stuff into one of the cabins, we compared cell-phone signal strength (lousy up on the mountain), and then he took me back down to the house and headed home. So I talked with the few girls who were there already because they were working there, and then Kim Hylton and her parents were working on making snacks and stuff for the evening, so I helped them. I made the pigs-in-blankets, and by the time I was done with those another lady (Sandy) had gotten there, and Beka who I knew from homeschool camp and we three rolled some sort of sausage meatball thingies.

Then Beka and Sandy and I went and decorated the tables in the dining hall up at the lodge. The tables didn't turn out too bad considering what we had to work with...each of the tables was two folding tables put together and we didn't have enough white tablecloths for all of them, so there were white tablecloths and some randomly-patterned vinyl ones that were driving me crazy because 1. they didn't match, and 2. they were wrinkled. I finally suggested that we throw them in the dryer and that helped a lot! :p


Dining hall:

One of the tables:

After we were done with that, Beka and I went and played air hockey and foosball with the Hylton kids which was really funny. At one point we were playing foosball with one of the little girls who was maybe 8 and the youngest boy who is 4 and he was on the side with me and since he didn't really know how to play we weren't doing very well, but he kept saying "Come on, Natawee!" because he thought I wasn't doing as well as I should have been. Finally he sighs in exasperation and says to his sister "Let's switch girls" and pushes me out of the way! :p "Reebeka," he says to Beka, "you come play with me." I thought that was funny too, because I remember Colin calling my cousin Rebecca, "Reeebeca" when he was little. :)

So Beka says to him "Don't you want to be friends with Natalie?" and like little kids do, he gives me this suspicious look and stubbornly says "No". He knew Beka already, so he was used to her, but he hadn't ever met me before and he wasn't sure yet if he liked me or not! :D By that night though while everyone was eating snacks he was wanting me to carry him around and play with him and everything. :) Ah, little kids are so funny!

Let's see what activities did we have Friday night? Well, I guess most of the people got there a lot later because they weren't coming for the canoe trip (which was canceled, by the way). So everyone had snacks and then went upstairs for the message and some games that were supposed to help you get to know people...they didn't work very well. You would think dividing into groups and then standing in circles and having everyone say their name and where they were from would work somewhat, but it was pretty noisy in there, so most of the time you couldn't hear the people real well let alone remember their name later!

Our speaker was interesting...and he was extremely hyper too! I'd met his wife that afternoon and I was surprised at how hyper he was, because she was really sweet and soft-spoken and not at all hyper herself! :p

It was neat to hear how he was saved and everything; he grew up in Jewish mysticism and such and hadn't ever heard anything about what the Bible said, and he wasn't saved until he was twenty-two, and when he told his family about it they kicked him out of the house. (That's the condensed version anyway...) He was funny too, he was telling about how before he was saved some people had gotten him to go to a few Bible studies and he finally decided he'd go to one of their Wednesday services, and he walked into the meeting in the middle of prayer and he said they were praying for him, saying "Lord, save that boy Ray, he needs you, Lord!! He's going to hell!!!" and then after the prayer they're all like "Oh, hi Ray!" and he said he felt like turning around and running back out the door! :D

Anyway, he based his messages on Acts 1-4, and Peter and John, although he had us flipping all over to various other passages. I thought it was very interesting, especially since some of it was passages and things that we've been studying in church recently. Pretty much all of what he said I agreed with although there was one thing that I can't remember now, but I remember thinking that I hadn't ever heard quite that explanation of something and I wasn't sure that I agreed. It's slipped my mind what it was though. And then during his message Sunday morning he said "Well, I'm not a 'Calvinist' but when I was first saved it almost felt like it was predestined.....but I knew I had the choice to accept Him or not, and I did"... and I sighed inwardly, but I think I avoided making any sort of other slightly exasperated sound. :) I expected that though, I was surprised he hadn't said anything earlier. I told our pastor's wife about that, and she said that she always wants to say "Don't lean one way or the other, just stand in the middle!" Yep, because you can go in an extreme either way, for instance the Hyper-Calvinists that believe you shouldn't even tell unbelievers about the gospel, or the Arminian view that you can lose your salvation. Anyway...

The camp is affiliated with the Plymouth Brethren, or Brethren assemblies (which is the kind of church my grandparents go to). And let me tell you, that Wikipedia article is spot on, down to the hymnals being referred to as the "black book" and "red book"! It also describes the way they do communion...which I was familiar with since I've gone to church with my grandparents a few times. It's like, express communion...they pass around the bread and everyone takes a piece and eats it immediately, and then they pass the grape juice (that article says wine, but it's usually juice) and everyone takes a cup, drinks it, and puts it back in the tray. Since it was a rather big crowd up at camp it took maybe a minute, but at my grandparents' small church they're usually done with each element in about thirty seconds flat! We got done and I was thinking, "wow, that was really meaningful!" *insert sarcasm* I mean, yes, it was communion, but with no thought behind it or taking much time to pray or anything, and I was really thankful to remember that next Sunday is communion Sunday at our church!

Another time I bit my tongue and didn't say anything was when I heard two of the ladies talking and the one was encouraging the other that it was fine that she didn't want to have children, because of the end times and what Paul said in Corinthians, and that it would be better not to bring children into a world where they'll be persecuted. I managed (just barely) to keep from spluttering, but really...I mean, I understand that it's a matter of doctrine as to how you interpret 1 Cor. 7, and they would take that to mean right now...and I think part of what Paul says does apply to us now as well, but he also said "in this present distress" referring to the persecutions by Nero and I don't think that necessarily applies to now, or not in quite the same way. Moreover, Paul didn't say anything about not having children if you were already married, he only said that it might be better not to marry. Okay, so that's clearly a disagreement on what's meant by that scripture, but then the ladies went on to talk about how if they had kids they couldn't have been up at camp and doing fun things like that, or be able to go on with their careers as well...and that really irked me! That's pure selfishness...selfishness that they've excused with 1 Cor. 7, I suppose. Anyway, all that to somewhat explain what I was going to say next, which is that I didn't feel like I had much in common with many of the people up at camp.

The people were nice, and it was fine as long as we were doing something, an activity or playing a game or something like that, but there was also an awful lot of free time where everyone was talking and not only did I not have much in common with them, they all knew each other from church, or they'd been up at camp many times before, and they didn't really try to get to know anyone else. I was telling my grandma that, and she said they decided not to go to the Bible conference at Myrtle Beach like they've done the past few years, because it's the same way. She said the old people do the same thing...they and another couple are the only ones from their church, and everyone else knows each other and doesn't try to get to know anyone else! Good grief, I thought it was just lingering childishness from the age-group up at camp, but apparently they don't outgrow it!

Well, I didn't want to leave this on a low note, but I really need to divide this up or y'all will never get through the whole thing! :p I did enjoy myself, it just wasn't as much fun as I thought it would be. I'll post the rest tomorrow, along with a few more pictures. :)

Today was the day to take stuff to the fair, so I took Dad to work and dropped off everything but the baked goods on the way back. Then Mom and I finished up our baking and I took the rest in the afternoon. So now we wait until we go to the fair on Friday and see if we won anything! :)


Jessica said...

Well, I wish I could have gone with you, if for nothing else than to keep you company :) But it sounds interesting. And I completely agree with what you said about the 1 Corinthians 7 thing. Isn't there some boundless article about getting married and having children? ("yes..." I hear you mumbling "probably a lot of them..."). One second...okay, here it is:

Just read it and then we can pick up this conversation because I am trying to say something my brain isn't putting together correctly... :P

And I think it's selfish, too. And one day when those women are 40-45 they might realize they actually would like to have children, only to discover it's too late.

Natalie said...

I think maybe I said "probably!", but yeah... ;)

I haven't gotten a chance to read the whole thing yet. Maybe I'll blog about it when I get the looks good!