Monday, January 30, 2012


This past weekend we had an amazing winter youth retreat.  This is the third retreat that our kids have done that wasn't just Chris and I taking them on a trip to Lake Arrowhead for the weekend with a little bible teaching and some snowboarding thrown in.   We went to a Christian camp up in Big Bear with Calvary Chapel Joshua Springs; they rock by the way!  The whole thing was awesome.
The theme was Broken: Rebuild and like the theme suggest lots of break down was done and lots of rebuilding with Jesus Christ as a foundation was done.

Chris and I have begun to notice a theme though with being in ministry, specifically with preaching/teaching:  there is some sort of unspoken rule that you live out your sermon before you give it.  Chris had the opportunity to speak to the campers the first night and his topic for the retreat was broken!  And broken we had been.

The week leading up to camp was pretty insane and intense in our house.  Chris and I were not particularly nice to one another and our kids were pretty cranky.  Work was more stressful than normal but Friday was just insane and after being awake for about 30 minutes new that the enemy didn't want this to happen!  Chris and I got into a fight (about something stupid).  Auntie took Ethan to school, I stormed out (angrily I might add) to work and Chris went about his day trying to dot all the "i's" and cross all the "t's" for camp.  Chris had to, unexpectedly, go pick up a kid whose ride bailed at the last minute (which he was happy to do).  So Chris was getting ready to go and get him around noon.  I was leaving work at noon to go home and pack my things then was going to pick up my kids and go trade them with a friend for her high school daughter who was come with us to the retreat.  15 minutes from home Chris calls to ask if I had left work yet and I could tell in his voice something bad had happened.  Turns out Ethan fell from a stool at school and school reported that his tooth went through his lip.  Well let's just say for Ethan that is an automatic trip to the ER.

Chris was already pretty beat up by the enemy at that point (but other stuff that happened that day) and immediately thought I wouldn't be able to come to the retreat at all, which would have made it the fourth one I had to miss, in a row.  I had a feeling that the enemy wasn't done with us so when Chris told me about Ethan I was eerily calm, I was expecting something.  I went to pick him up from school.  He was disappointed to see me as he knew my presence at school meant he was on his way to the hospital.  We stopped at home to get his medication said goodbye to dad, who left to go pick up the youth kid and head to church to meet the bus and the rest of the kids.  We had decided that I would take Ethan to the ER and we would take the afternoon one step at a time in regards of me attending the retreat.  We prayed before we all ran out of the house in our separate directions.  God gave us all a calm and Ethan and I continued on to the ER.

The ER trip was fantastic.  About 15 minutes before the bus pulled out the parking lot I was able to let them know that Ethan was fine.  He didn't actually puncture his lip but he probably just bit his lip really hard on both sides when he fell.  So since there was no puncture he didn't need stitches just one shot of meds and we were going to be out the door.  Since Ethan was much better than we all anticipated we decided that I would finish up at the ER and one of our youth workers would wait and we would drive up together when everything was finished.

Her and I arrived at the camp at about 10pm.  It had taken the kids over 5 hours (should have taken 3) to get there as the traffic was the worst anyone had seen in a long time.  Chris arrived 15 minutes before he was to go on and speak.  But as he arrived he found out that the other church's bus had broken down with 50 junior highers on it and they had no way to get them all up there.  So he talked to our bus driver (whose services for us were donated by the owner of the company) into going down and getting those kids, twice; it took two trips to get them all.  The last group arrived 10 minutes before I did.  Chris did his sermon and shared with the kids how broken he felt at that moment right then and there!  But God does amazing things and by His grace everything worked out.  Ethan was fine, I got to go to the retreat, our bus made it on time for Chris to give his sermon.

Oh and did I tell you that the guest speaker had to have an emergency surgery to remove infected tonsils and wasn't supposed to be recovered enough to speak, he did (and I will eventually share more about him and his ministry).  And the guest worship leader/guitar player had his forearm bitten and mauled by a dog a week before the trip; he played and was amazing!  The other couple that came with us to lead the kids had a death of close family member just two days before; they came and were blessed and were awesome with the kids (we couldn't have done it without them)!  The head youth pastor of the other church found out he had a medical condition and needed to have surgery immediately following the retreat (today), but he was there and happy and gave a great sermon too.

 It was amazing, despite the brokenness God was there and moved so mightily in the kids and adults lives.  Numerous re-dedications, some new believers in Christ, and some walls broken down from some kids who have had to go through way too much in their short life.  Not to mention lots of friendships and bonding.  God won this one.  Nice try enemy, our foundation is build on GOD!


Kathy Sibayan said...

Can't write too much cuz of the tears in my eyes...what zn awesome God we serve! Thanks Amanda for taking the time to share . Luv you guys!

amanda said...

Thanks Kathy. We love you guys too!
God is amazing! It really was a fantastic weekend!