After our last Fasting and Leaders Retreat in the fall, we decided I should stay home with the boys the next retreat. (Which I did.) But after the leaps and bounds our boys have been making, we thought we might give it another try. So Johnny, Matthias, and I joined John on the spring Leaders retreat.
The boys have really gotten better at traveling in the car on long trips. (Praise the Lord!! As we think of the 10 hour flight back to the States we have before us….) We took our time driving down to Heidelberg, making a stop to climb a hill to see a ruined castle. And then of course a stop (or 2) at McDonalds for lunch and dinner. (I was ready for some healthy food after that. Fast food twice in a day is too much for me.) It was a beautiful day for a drive, sunny and warm.
We arrived in the evening at our destination, after a few turn-arounds, because our navigator wanted us to drive up a footpath. I don’t think so!
Once we unloaded, I got the boys into bed while John drove to the train station to help pick up students who were arriving.
The first evening of the retreat is set aside for personal prayer for the leaders. We split up into groups of 4-5 people (guys with guys, girls with girls). Each person shared what was going on in her life and what she wanted prayer for. Then we prayed. This time is always precious to me, because I get to reconnect with the girl leaders who I haven’t seen for several months. I usually only see these girls at retreats. And this is where I get to hear how they are really doing and how I can be praying for them. They are all such treasures. Another reason why I wanted to come on this retreat was so I could see these girls one more time, before we head home to the States, to be able to say goodbye. Many won’t be in leadership when we come back, because they will be finished with university and have moved on. So it was such a treat to be there.
The next morning began the fasting part of our retreat. This day is set aside for prayer for the individual SfC groups throughout Germany. Each group had a chance to present what they had done in the previous semester, and what they had planned for the next, followed by their praise/prayer requests. Then they were prayed for. The day went on like this, with breaks here and there, including a long afternoon break to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine outdoors.
I had the boys during the day. The first morning started out a bit rough… that is when Matthias tumbled down the stairs and got a bloody, swollen lip. But it went much better after that. The boys and I walked down to the castle, where there was open space to play ball, rocks to throw, and fountains with frogs to look at. Matthias took to waving at people who walked by, even if they didn’t notice or seemed to care. The walk to the castle was nice. I pushed one child in the stroller and carried the other on my back. It was down hill the whole way. It wasn’t till I was starting to go home when I realized it would be UP hill the whole way back! Schwoo!! What a workout!
We played with balls and more rocks once we were back to our lodging. In fact, that is what we mostly did. I was so thankful it never rained.
I had brought along a few toy cars and books, so we had other things to do inside, when it got too cold. The boys liked driving their cars around the hall floor. And whenever the students were on a break, they loved playing ball with them. Our boys seem to especially like the big boys. And thankfully, it was mutual. 😉
The fast was broken on the second day of our retreat with brunch. We went shopping that morning to pick up the goods with the boys. John took the boys after that so I could help in the kitchen a bit.
I was able to participate in the evenings, after I put the boys down each night. This was always nice, and helped me feel more like I was part of the retreat, too. I was usually one of the first in bed, though, because my boys were first to get up (at 6 am), which meant John and I got up with them and took them to the meeting room so they wouldn’t wake up the others.
Sunday was our last day. This day was the business meeting part of the retreat. We ended with lunch and clean-up of the whole facility. Then pedal to the medal, we headed back to Berlin, and made it home around 9 pm, tucked the boys in, and then soon followed.
It was good to be home. As we reflected on our time, we both were glad we chose to bring the boys. Not only did the students mention that they loved we had brought then, and it was so much fun to see the students interact with our boys. But it was so nice to be together as a family. To minister together, each in our own way, to love these students God has given us.