Spiritual Life Retreat: From the Perspective of an SCCS Senior

Students and faculty journeyed to The Oaks at Lake Hughes on January 10th and 11th to get away and focus on the Lord as Creator. Thanks to SCCS Senior, Emily Anderson, and her journaling efforts, we get to experience this meaningful adventure from a student’s perspective.

Emily AndersonDay 1
This morning we were herded toward the front lawn. We all mingled and chattered animatedly, each of us struggling to carry our backpacks and holding matching t-shirts, excited for a break from classes. When the buses finally came, we filed inside, laughing and talking, our enthusiasm undeterred by the two hour drive ahead of us to The Oaks.

By now we were all familiar with our destination: several large fields, beige buildings perched at the top of hills, trails leading into a dry forest, and a suspicious lack of oak trees. Nevertheless, we were happy to be there.  The first thing we did after unloading the buses was head to the fields to play games, which none of us took too seriously (steal the bacon digressed into human horseshoe) and to reconvene with the rest of the grades.  

Then we headed to lunch and then our first session, where Pastor Miller spoke on the magnificence of the Creation account. After that, we were given several hours of free time. My friends and I wandered the facility and made our way up to the high ropes course. I served as a cheerleader to some of my more dauntless friends and appreciated watching them struggle to grab ropes flapping in the wind thirty feet off the ground. After that, a couple of us headed over to rock climbing and appreciated a lovely sunset atop a boulder.  

From there, we went to dinner and our second session, where Pastor Miller recounted the book of Job and highlighted God’s dialogue and all of His incredible sovereignty over the natural world. After the message closed, a couple dozen of us shared an intimate worship time in the dimmed lights.

As the night grew darker, the seniors were instructed to hide throughout the grounds and avoid capture by the younger grades. My friends and I huddled behind the pool-house and were among the first ones caught, but we got to enjoy an 80s music party back at the hall while we waited for our friends. After the other seniors were found, our class headed to a bonfire where we shared clichéd ghost stories and filled ourselves up with s’mores.  

After the bonfire, we headed back to cabins. My friends and I stayed up late into the night, playing cards and talking until we couldn’t keep our eyes open.  

Day 2
This morning we woke up late and headed to breakfast. With the help of too much coffee I was awake enough to appreciate the third session, which dealt with the Lord’s continued involvement in our lives despite our insignificance. This lead to a great discussion about worship and gratitude in our lives. 
    
In the following free time, I played foosball in the game room with my friends and spent time in the coffee shop, enjoying time away from the chaos of routine. Free time seemed brief and before I knew it we were loading up the buses. The way back was quiet and contemplative. We hugged goodbye in the parking lot of the school. My fifth and last visit to The Oaks was again both memorable and motivating.