Friday, March 9, 2007

Winter Weekend Retreat

Our first task this past weekend was stuffing as many pillows, sleeping bags, and duffels as possible into our small SUV. We crammed them in, floor to ceiling, hoping that the ones carrying precious cargo like Twinkies and Nutty Bars weren’t smushed on the bottom. After Doug and I fit ourselves in front, we were off. The bus we followed was no longer a school bus. It had been converted, as had many of the fifty-some teens inside. We hoped it would hold even more changed lives on the way home.

An hour and a half later we arrived at camp. Teens shouted and shot hoops in the gym while leaders brought out build-your-own taco salads for supper and talked last-minute details of the weekend’s events—1950s-themed fun, crazy games and contests, time for building relationships, and powerful messages and worship time.

There were many things to endure throughout the weekend—frigid temperatures as we trekked over flooded, frozen paths from chapel to gym, gym to cabins, cabins to bathrooms; cold water in not-so-sparkling showers; a shortage of toilet paper; inch-thick mattresses on creaky metal bunks; sleepers who snored or tossed above you all night; and of course those precious teens who never stopped buzzing on Mt. Dew.

But we endured the inconveniences for the wonderful times of bonding with friends, laughing hysterically, learning from God’s Word, singing songs to our Savior, and worshipping through Communion. By the end of the weekend, several teens had given their lives to Jesus, others had recommitted, still others had been asking, searching, and letting seeds be planted. It’s incredible what God can do during two nights away at a less-than-luxurious retreat center!

I hope to put fingers to keyboard on my own books someday. I have jotted down plenty of ideas over the years, some in scattered notes in my computer files, others on random scraps of paper stuck in old journals or my Bible. Several of those ideas are intended for teens. If I ever sit down to write them, no doubt they will include bits and pieces of memories from times like we had this weekend.

What ministries, jobs, or experiences in your life have provided great material or inspiration for your writing?


L. Harris said...

I've been blessed to be able to travel a lot through our ministry as well as live in a number of countries. I love studying people and learning more about other cultures. This in turn has inspired me to not only chose unique settings for my books, (something I hope to be able to do more of in the future), but also to bring these fascinating cultures to life in a story.


christa said...

I teach high school English. 'nuff said.
Was it Flannery O'Conner who said anyone who has survived childhood has enough to write for his/her life?

Darlene said...

I majored in music in college and traveled with our college choir. That background gave me the idea for my Heartsong book, Romanian Rhapsody.

Mary Connealy said...

The kids in my books are inspired by my own kids and the Sunday school classes I've taught. For some reason writing children is just really fun for me. I always know I can up the humor and cut through a lot of the adult nonsense by having children toss what's said back at the adults in a way children understand things.
What a great weekend. And you're so BRAVE.

Jess said...

When my daughter was about five years old, she saw Jailhouse Rock on TV when we were trapped in a motel in Baton Rouge, LA. She went beserk -- loved Elvis from that moment on. I was always an Elvis fan but never to the point of insanity. Seeing how Chaney was immediately hooked on him & his music inspired my Silhouette Romance, The Groom Wore Blue Suede Shoes. That book was so much fun to write!
Being an introvert and a people watcher, most of my stories are inspired by what I see and hear around me. :)