The Western Young People’s Retreat

Beach volleyball every day, mixer games, speeches and discussion groups—sounds like a convention! I’m not talking about the convention that most of us went to in Wisconsin, however. Early this summer, a small group of our young people (32 to be exact) representing six of our churches attended a “Western Young People’s Society Retreat” which took place at Ross Point Camp in Post Falls, Idaho.

The retreat started off as these gatherings do—with registration. The odd thing about this registration was you were asked to give yourself a nickname—one that nobody knew and that never had or would be used again. After settling into our cabins we enjoyed a meal of campfire roasted hotdogs and played a few mixer games. This is where our nicknames came into play. Each nickname was read aloud and then we would have to guess whose “nickname” this was. Most of them were pretty tough to guess since most of us had never met. As we got to know each other during the retreat, however, we could begin to understand why the nicknames such as “Chevy,” “Marathon” and “Visa” were selected. At the close of the evening, we settled down around the campfire again and read a portion of scripture for our devotions before going to bed.

The next two days were packed with activities such as going to an indoor water park with a wave pool and water slides, doing a high ropes course, and getting very wet (again!) while going canoeing. During free time, many of us had fun playing volleyball on the beach, participating in basketball games, or playing mini golf. Another activity we all did together was going on a short hike to Mineral Ridge. The view from the peak overlooked Coeur d’Alene Lake which was encircled by mountains. The beautiful scenery and view loudly declared the glory of our creator! On the third and last night of the retreat many of the young people played volleyball in the gym at the camp. This was when we all learned that the most qualified referee for making a game of volleyball go to all hours of the night is Rev. Rodney Kleyn!

Although all of these activities were extremely fun, I would have to say the highlights of the retreat were the discussion groups and, especially, the speeches which were given by Rev. Marcus and Rev. Hanko from our Edmonton and Lynden congregations, respectively. The theme of the Retreat was “Waiting for Christ’s Coming.” Rev. Marcus’ speech focused on Christ’s coming at the end of the world. We learned that the signs of his coming are not only reminders to us to be ready and to prepare but are also actually part of Christ’s coming, just as dark clouds and flashes of lightening in the distance are actually part of the thunderstorm as well as a sign of the actual full blown thunderstorm that is to come.

The subject matter of Rev. Hanko’s speech was how Christ comes today. Yes, he is coming at the end of the world, and we don’t know the exact day or hour, but, nevertheless, we do know Christ is coming today, and tomorrow, and on Sunday, and next month! He comes in the preaching of the gospel—so closely in fact that we can hear his voice! He also comes by the work of his Spirit in our hearts, in all the events of history and in his judgments. Lastly, he could come any day for us and bring us to be with him. Being mindful of these things should lead us to examine our attitude and life and make sure we are ready for Christ’s coming everyday of our lives.

These speeches, as well as the delightful fellowship with like minded believers, were truly a blessing. We are grateful to the Lynden PRC Young People’s Society for organizing this enjoyable event.