I really thought I might blog something relative to the Super Bowl today, since Monday is usually sports-themed. But instead, I thought I would share a recap of last week’s activity for me in WA.

As I believe I shared in a blog post before I left for WA, I went up into the Cascade Mountains last week (yes WA state – not D.C.). The purpose of the trip was not for snow-skiing or some outdoor adventure but to preach at SR15 (Snow Retreat 2015). It is a school retreat that Grace Academy in Marysville, WA puts on every year in late January. The school is affiliated with Grace Bible Church in Marysville, which is where my in-laws attend.

The students are not required to attend, but the week of classes are cancelled so they might attend. Thus, the majority of students will typically choose to come.

This was the 3rd year in a row I have been asked to be their guest speaker. The 1st year I attended, we focused on the theme of grace from the Book of Jonah; in my 2nd year, we studied redemption from the Book of Ruth; this year, we considered forgiveness from the Letter to Philemon.

One thing that was different this year than years past was the nature of the questions I received from students. The first two years were fairly theological in nature (e.g., grace and redemption). The “so what” questions weren’t as obvious, but with the topic of forgiveness the questions for application came naturally. Many students had a variety of scenarios they asked for help with. I could really sense a desire among the students to put into practice what they were learning.

There are a number of highlights from the week, and I will list them in no particular order.

  • Being greeting by pictures of my family (I traveled without them) in the room I was staying in – Thank you Marcela Pasmore!
  • Seeing the maturity and growth of the students from one year to the next – especially the guys
  • Observing students on the last night reconciling broken relationships before we took the Lord’s Supper
  • Finally winning the pool tournament with my esteemed partner Isaiah VanDam
  • Being convicted of the Lord’s unconditional forgiveness for me as I preached on it to the students
  • Singing songs about the cross – Thanks to Mark Ruhlman and his praise team. You do a great job!
  • Listening to a student who made a profession of faith after last year’s retreat talk about his love for evangelism now
  • Experiencing the closeness of this student body

I am so thankful the Lord has allowed me to attend this retreat for three years in a row. As is often the case, you sometimes attend these types of ministry events thinking that you are going there to be a blessing, but then come away feeling like you are the one who was ministered to. SR15 was that for me!


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