The last two weeks I have been in Flat Rock, NC at the Bonclarken Conference Center for the Joni and Friends Charlotte Family Retreat. Each week is filled with at least 40 families and over 130 short term missionaries (volunteers). No matter how much planning and preparation took place before hand I did not realize how much Family Retreat would impact me. Last night at church I tried to write out all that I could about how the retreats did impact me. The words I came up with don’t seem quite adequate enough.
So I thought I would share a few pictures with stories to go along with them.
Justin Howard and his family come every year to the first week of Family Retreat. Justin and his dad, Dr. Howard, have run a marathon and a couple half marathons together. When Dr. Howard found out that I’m a runner he said, “You will be running with Justin soon!”. Dr. Howard has injured himself and is not able to run for a few months. I gladly accepted that challenge and look forward to the day Justin and I can run a race together. I really enjoyed getting to know the Howard family.
The picture of Justin with Michael is one of my favorites from the first week. Michael has been Justin’s buddy two years in a row and they have a blast together! Michael taught Justin how to make a bird and a bear sound during their time at retreat this year. In the picture above they were making the bird sound for me.
Thursday nights are reserved for the Talent Show and Karaoke/Game time after the show. Each Talent show is filled with the many families showcasing their own special talent. A couple of young kids in wheel chairs showcased their basketball skills on stage. We had several sing songs and some others share poetry.
Each Tuesday evening we had a Ho Down. We had a “caller” each week calling dances for everyone. We had the Hokey Pokey, lots of square dances, and even the Chicken Dance! If I was not taking pictures, I was dancing. I loved both of those nights.
One of the biggest things for me at Family Retreat is all the new family that I adopted or they adopted me! 🙂
I met many incredible families that not only love the Lord but have a huge heart for those with disabilities and serve those that came to Retreat. The Crosby family and the Vonesh Family are two families that have huge hearts to serve those affected by disabilities.
I truly loved every exhausting moment of Family Retreat. I’m doing my best to rest today and get prepared to go back into the office.
If you are reading this and went to Retreat, I would love to hear what your favorite moment(s) was during the week you were there.