This past week we hosted our first Staff Retreat in the Mole! It was a great time of food, fellowship, laughter, fun, & spiritual renewal!
From Our Campus: Castillos, Beth, & Morgan
From St. Louis Campus: Stephen & Kelly Jernigan, Dustin & Alex Klink, Caitlin Smith, Stephanie Mosier, Taylor Davis, and Junior Veillard
From the States: Kenny Moore, Mary Beth Winkler, & Mark Wilkerson
Jose was responsible for the food and I was responsible for the games! As you can imagine – we ate great and we played silly games! 😀
Everyone arrived Monday afternoon to find a little container full of candy on their bed – WAY better than just a mint on the pillow! LOL!
We decorated our front room similar to what we do for Thanksgiving though more of a Valentine’s Day Theme. We started off the retreat by GIVING THANKS for all that God has done for us. So everyone went around the table to say what they were thankful for. There was also a little box full of Hershey kisses sitting beside each plate. There was a small paper inside the box – indicating whether they were on the pink team or the purple team! This would be the team they compete with for the rest of the retreat!
On Tuesday we had three work sessions led by Mark Wilkerson & Kenny Moore.
For games – We started with Hot Potato so we could release our inner child! Then we played a game where each team had to fill a container full of coke – teaspoon by teaspoon. I’m not going to say that the teams didn’t cheat…..because I couldn’t say that and still be truthful!!
After that game each team competed in a blind-fold competition. One person would give directions on how to find a marker I had hidden in the cafeteria – -WITHOUT touching their blind-folded partner.
This was our play day! We started off the morning with worship led by Morgan & a devotional thought led by me! Then there were several hours where everyone could swim or explore the town. Only a handful of people had ever been to the Mole before.
In the afternoon it was time for our Volleyball Competition! I wish I could express to you how hilarious this was! If we kept official score it might look something like 120 points to 10 points! Seriously! But it was still a lot of fun! The Haitians enjoyed playing, watching, and learning! I brought out a boom box so we could play music and the orphans were watching and dancing! Both teams played really hard though one team clearly creamed the other one!
After dinner it was time for Hide N Seek in the Dark! We shut off all the lights except the orphan’s dorm room & a few lights in the cafeteria. So the way this worked was: one team waited in the kitchen of the cafeteria while the other team took off hiding. They had 30 minutes to find as many people as they could. Then the teams switched. At the end of 30 minutes I would play loud music indicating that the game was over.
Stephen & Mary Beth were the ones found for the first group. The 2nd group found Malaya & Mark. Everyone thought this game would be really simple – but it was at least 15 minutes into the game before they found anyone on each team only found 2 of the 9 players! We have some really good hiders!
Stephen & Myself led the 3 Work Sessions for this day!
Games: The first game we played was Frozen t-shirt! I froze two t-shirts the night before and they had to break them free and put them on to win!
The next game we played was to bring perspective to what our pregnant ladies – who walk to the birthing center – experience every day! I know from my pregnancies it’s very difficult to pick something up after you drop it! Tying your shoe – forget it!!
So they had to put a balloon under their shirt and a ping pong ball in between their knees and walk several feet – where they had to drop the ball into the cup! This was hilarious to watch! #perspective
For the next game they had to kneel on a chair and drop candy from their mouth into a cup – using no hands!
For the last game we stood in a circle. We sent one person out of the room. When the person came back they had to guess who was leading the group. So if one person started pointing to the sky than everyone did it. We all had to watch the person who was leading without being obvious what we were doing. The person in the middle watched 4 changes of movement and then guessed who was the person calling the shots! Junior nailed it within the first movement change because he said he watched everyone looking at Stephen 🙂
That evening we did a cookout with hotdogs & hamburgers.
Then we headed to the beach where we did s’mores, worship led by Taylor, and communion led by Stephen. This was also Malaya’s first communion. She was baptized last week but because we are in Children’s Church – we didn’t take communion last Sunday. I think having her first communion on the beach will be something she’ll always remember.
Friday morning after Breakfast everyone headed home! Unfortunately the truck got stuck before it got to Jean Rebel and they had to push the vehicle and unload their luggage! Not the best way to end a retreat – but we wouldn’t expect nothing less!
A special thanks to everyone who made this retreat possible!
Kenny brought coolers full of food! Jose & our kitchen staff did an excellent job preparing all the meals!
Morgan & Taylor each led an amazing set or worship. We are so thankful for their leading!
Mark, Kenny, Stephen, & Myself covered all the Work Sessions! ** John Harvey was scheduled to speak but he had a family emergency. He had to fly out just a few days before the retreat started! We certainly missed him as we tried to fill in the gaps!
I’m grateful to everyone who braved the roads for 5-6 hours just to come and see us in the Mole! It was an honor to serve you – and to serve alongside you!
Here’s some video & pictures from our week of fun! (I almost didn’t post the video because I hate the way I talk/laugh through it but it was too funny not to.) I wish we would have had the camera out more often but we were too engaged in the games to remember!