Ahhh... The Castle... a long desolate drive to the middle of nowhere (my apologies, Angie)... a castle that transports you to a different period altogether - of ballrooms and ladies teas and servants' quarters... and an invasion of 80 some young adults who are seeking more than this world has to offer.
Our theme was Storyline this year - centering on the crazy beautiful story that God has written -discovering how that overarching story speaks to our own lives - and allowing our stories to offer hope to the hurting.
The kids heard relevant messages, sang out to Jesus with Crowder and Brian, gained ten pounds compliments of Mary and her amazing kitchen staff, fought over cabbage patch kids and oil filters in the dumb item game (Paul exercised his authority to acquire one sweet Hello Kitty princess crown for Selah), watched Noomas, played hockey, dodgeball, ultimate frisbee, and football, created commercial spoofs (though I would have to say that Narnia and Ricky still hold the prize), listened to honest talks on sex (which I am hoping to address in another blog), clawed people during the World Series of Spoons, displayed talents, spent time alone in the prayer room, were challenged by Bre's stories of loving like Jesus in the Big Easy, etc, etc.
All that to say, it was a busy weekend, but a great one. God never ceases to amaze me how he correlates everything together and how He speaks to hearts. I want to thank Paul on behalf of the kids, for all of the work and prayer that you put into this, honey. Best Castle ever and I'm not just saying that cause I'm your wife:). I want to thank everyone who had a part, whether you were at the retreat working or at home praying. Based on tears shed, dialogues beginning, and facebook chatter all over the place, I'm thinking that lives were changed.
On a final note, I want to ask those of you who prayed to continue to speak to God on behalf of this generation. In fact, I beg you to cry out to God on behalf of these lives. One of the guys did not return to the Castle this year because he lost a battle to depression that no one knew he had. Talk about a tragedy that would break your heart. Please pray that each of the kids would know God as their Glory and the One who lifts their head. (Psalm 3:3) It's difficult navigating your way through this world as an adult - much less a teen that's got crazy hormonal things going on, a horrendous home life, and is inundated with this world's ethics and mores.