Sunday, August 13, 2017

Youth Group Camping Trip // Zip-Lining + the Book of Daniel

~Day 1~

Wind poured through the windows as the bus flew down the highway.  The seats were full with over twenty teenagers, along their duffel bags and backpacks.  One boy blasted strange and annoying music from his phone in the back, making it even more difficult for my friends - A, B, C, and N - and I to tell weirdly hilarious stories via taking turns with sentences.  One of them involved unitigers (the offspring of a tiger and a unicorn), and another involved rats taking over the world because all the humans had moved underground.

Finally, we reached the state park and unloaded.  Unfortunately, the memory of that first day is a little foggy.  I'm almost certain we went swimming, after setting up tents and getting a bit settled, and I'm 100% positive we had our first Bible study from the Book of Daniel that evening.  A also showed us 300+ pictures from her previous trip out of the country, in our tent after dark when most everyone else was at the campfire eating s'mores.  Another of my friends, L, got annoyed at me (good-naturedly) because I wouldn't stop making sarcastic comments and then laughing hysterically at myself, which made B laugh hysterically as well.  

Eventually, poor A made it through the pictures.

~Day 2~

After morning devotions (taught by the eccentric youth counselor M) and breakfast, we went ZIP-LINING.  The highlight of the trip, if you ask me!  I had never been zip-lining before, so it was a new and surreal experience for me.  There were five lines total, all with varying speeds and views and lengths.  Looking down at how far away the ground was, one thing was certain.  If any of us fell... we'd be dead.

But I wasn't thinking about that.  During the first line, I looked out across the view as I zoomed by and shouted "I love You, Jesus!"  My voice was lost in the wind, so it wasn't like anyone else could hear me, though.  Except God :)  

One of the best places to see the Lord is out in the wild, in the nature.  Away from the distractions of technology and everyday life.  That's the purpose of the youth retreats we go on.  To escape for a few days.  We took advantage of the trip by having two Bible studies per day, as well as an early morning devo and assigned evening readings.  The stories in Daniel are well-known, but even after studying Nebuchadnezzar's dreams AGAIN, and the golden image story AGAIN, and the lion's den story AGAIN, God had new things to share, new lessons to teach.  He never runs out of things to say.  

via Pexels

Here are only a few of the notes I took from our Daniel studies, many of them little quotes from the pastor that he emphasized or that spoke to me.

My mind will convert my heart.

The bands of Babylon are always trying to entice me.

Having a relationship with God costs me time.  Something else is going to lose out.

~Day 3~

Team Royal Coffee
Team S.A.P. (Saved And Powerful)
Team Fro Breez (my team, because one of our teammates had an afro.  I did NOT suggest it, but it kinda just happened...)

And there were a few other teams, but I can't remember what they were called.  Anyway, the group divided into these teams for challenges.  We had a relay race in which each member of the team had to create a tower of cups with a base of six cups working up to one.  You had to put them all back in a stack before the next teammate could do it.  

We also did a really hard challenge in which each team had to create a stack of cups with a base of four.  The thing is, you couldn't use your hands.  Five strings were tied to a rubber band, and each member held the end of a string.  To make the tower, you had to work together to pull the band apart by pulling the strings and then slacken it once it was around a cup.  Lift the strings and balance the cup on the tower.  Pull the strings as one and carefully lift the band from around the cup.  If any cups fell off the picnic table - and some did - we had to somehow pick them up using the rubber band device.  No touchy.  

Does that make any sense?  If not, just realize that it was extremely difficult, requiring a lot of patience and team cooperation.

God decided to dump rain on us in torrents during our mini Amazing Race, which wasn't exactly convenient, what with all the running.  In flip-flops.  Up hills.  Then aaaaaallllll the way back to the campsite.  Team Fro Breez finished first for that particularly challenging challenge (whoop-whoop!), and in the end, we made second place XD  Right behind S.A.P. and right above Royal Coffee.

via Pexels

Nights around the campfire were fun, with guitar music and s'mores.  N and B always went to bed earlier, but C, A, and I liked to sit around the fire for a while.  One girl plays guitar a lot and has a really pretty voice, and she led us in "Came To My Rescue" and "Heaven Song" and "All My Tears."  Plus many more, but those are some of my favorites, and we sang them kinda frequently during this camp-out.

I called, and You answered
And You came to my rescue and I
Want to be where You are


My soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing
My heaven song


It don't matter where you bury me
I'll be home, and I'll be free
It don't matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

I could say more, but this post is long enough.  I'll be keeping this youth retreat tucked into my memory as an unforgettable experience, and I pray that the fruit from it endures throughout all the rest of our lives on this earth, both individually and as a close-knit group of young people on fire for Jesus.  Now I can't wait until next year's!

So, what about you?  Have you ever been on a youth retreat?  What was it like?  Where did you go?  Leave a comment or two!


  1. This sounds so lovely! <3 I really, really enjoyed reading your experiences and some parts had me laughing and nodding with understanding. I have so many good memories with camping/friends. That just makes me think of how I should share things like this more often because I love how you shared your experience <3

    Beautiful post Lila! xox

    Anna |

    1. It WAS lovely! I'm soooo glad you enjoyed reading about it!!! Personally, I would love for you to share something like this on your blog - part of the reason I wrote this type of post is because I love READING that type of post :D

      Thanks again, Anna! xox

  2. Ooh loved this! So fun to hear about it and all the details cos I've literally been to a youth group only twice. Yeah.

    And that cup stacking game!? I did it at a conference when I was .. uh.. eight, I think :D Fun...but challenging. A little while ago I was obsessed with card towers. Making towers out of Uno cards xD *realizes I'm off subject* SO yes, towers are fun to make.


    1. Thanks, Lisa! My church has quite a lot of teens, so the youth group thrives because of that :)

      Oh, cool! It was a fun, if difficult, challenge. And I've never even tried making a card tower before, for some reason... But making towers are fun - I totally agree!

      Lol! Veer off subject all you want, girl! I don't mind at all ;)

  3. Awesome post! That sounded like it was a blast!!!
    I am to go to a youth retreat with my youth group next summer, but we're changing our program, so I'm not sure. I hope so! *crosses fingers*

    1. Thanks, Gray!! It absolutely WAS a blast! I hope you have your retreat, and if so, that you have a blast as well :D *crosses fingers with you*

  4. Oh, I love All My Tears! My favorite version is by Jars Of Clay.
    That sounds so much fun! I hope to go to Church Camp next year. Hopefully. Though, camping isn't exactly my forte. I've never actually done it...really, but me and bugs don't mix. I hate them with a passion. It doesn't help when chickens love dried worms and you're being chased by your sibling with them in their hands. Ick.
    God Bless! <3

    1. Yes, that song is lovely! I don't think I've heard the Jars of Clay version - I'll have to check that out!

      I hope you get to go! A few of those who came on my trip either had never been camping or, like you, hates bugs with a fiery passion. And I'm pretty sure they both had fun XD

      Oh, siblings. They're such a blessing, but it can be annoying when your little sis holds up a dead camel cricket in your face and you HATE camel crickets :)

      Thank you, LHE, and God bless you too! <3

    2. I love it so much. lol You should listen to the Canyon Sessions version. The sound is a little off, but it's so good. They're talented and they play their instruments there. If you want, I can give you the link. :) I think another reason I like it so much is that it reminds me of my WIP I'm working on, and reminds me of how God keeps his promises.

      Lol, Church trips are always fun! I may be just paranoid, but bugs make me freak. They're gross and pesky. xD Being with friends and coming closer to God makes it all worth it. ;)

      Ick! Camel crickets are disgusting! I can't even look at pictures of bugs without squealing. I can't believe they actually held those things. *gag* You've gotta love 'em though. Even if they chase you with gross bugs. lol

      You're welcome, and thanks. :)

    3. It sounds great! I'd appreciate the link ;)

      I know! Despite the perks of camping, I always have the most amazing time. And the things God shows me make it totally and completely worth it!

      I'm not too fond of bugs myself, but I can tolerate them (unless it's a camel cricket). My sissies are strange lil munchkins - they caught a live camel cricket once and wanted to keep it as a pet. I was like, whaaaaaat? :D But they're such sweeties, too.

    4. Okay. Here:
      Here's the regular version: *with these songs, it helps to turn it up almost all the way because then you can hear the instruments that are hiding in the background. lol*

      God's so awesome that way, isn't he? If we don't listen to him, he'll send people on our path to talk to us. He'll get across one way or another. <3 Camp is the best. :)

      Lol, most bugs just don't get along with me. *gag* Camel crickets are disgusting. My mom took a picture of a cricket (or grasshopper), and it looked so much like a spider. It was DISGUSTING. I know you'd agree with me if you could see it. lol I can't even look at it. My sister knows I hate bugs. I looked up huge bugs in Australia to see if they had the bug there I was telling someone about. I had my sister look at it. I was looking away and you know what? She saved the pic to my files and when I opened the file to see what it was, it was a huge centipede. I mean, it was so long and so wide. It was the one I hated the most. I about died. xD

      They wanted the camel cricket??? Ewww! Hey, siblings are siblings. lol I love my sister. She's the best, even if she dangles dried worms in front of me. lol
      God bless!

    5. That's probably the best version of All My Tears I've ever heard!!! Thanks for sharing with me, girl <3

      Yes, it's so awesome how God never gives up on us. Never, ever.

      That's so funny! I mean, I feel bad for you, of course, but it still made me laugh :D Siblings can be impossible to understand at times, can't they?

      Thanks for commenting, LHE! This was a super fun conversation! XD

    6. I think so too! My aunt played the song and I fell in love immediately. I'm so glad you liked it so much! You're very welcome! <333

      He's the best! I love him so much! <3

      I mean, I laugh when I looked back on how much I freaked! I'm glad my story gave you joy. xD
      They are! I mean, I have a twin, but I'm still a bit older. We're SO different. She doesn't care about bugs and I'm the one squealing at bugs that are on the internet and not even in real person! *pants* Did you read your friend's novel as well. I'm pretty sure I saw you on there, but I want to be positive. Their character, Penny is so relatable to me. lol Just read it and you'll get some good facts about me. lol

      You're welcome! Thanks for chatting with me. :D I've enjoyed it!
      God Bless. <3

    7. Hello! I'm GJE - LHE's sister, and I don't understand why she didn't like the centipede! It was so cute and HUGE. Like a snake. When my grandpa was in Vietnam during the war, he and his buddies took the stinger off of one and held it. It was cool.
      Oh, and chasing LHE with the dried worms was THE BEST. They were treats for the chickens, but LHE did NOT want to touch them. I didn't want to touch them either, but i didn't want to be a wuss, so I did. It was gross, but also so much FUN!
      I bet ya'll don't like slugs, either. They're just homeless snails! lol. I'm a little weird.
      Because I think they're cute.

    8. @LHE - Yep, I've read their novel! In fact, I've read A LOT of versions of it, ever since their very first draft XD You may or may not have seen me on there. They've shared the story with quite a few people from our church too. Lila Red is a pen name, and I would absolutely HATE for any other names I have to get out, so please don't guess on here or anything in case you end up guessing one of them - pen name or not. Thank you! :)

      But yesss, Penny is great! It's SO COOL that you and her are similar! Relateable characters are the best!!! XD

      @GJE - Gaaahhh, you're so funny! Welcome to my blog, GJE, twin sister of LHE ;D I'm gonna be completely honest with you - I don't understand why you can call bugs cute, especially slugs :p I think you're GREAT, though, and was sooooo thrilled to see you on here too! It figures that you'd chase your sis with dried worms *wink-wink*

      You girls are so lovely! Do you look similar enough for people to get confused who is who? :D

    9. @Lila Red - Aww, thanks! XD
      Ladybugs and butterflies are so sweet, though! Well, I guess they'd be exceptions.... My mom thinks that some slugs are cute (especially banana slugs), but we're both really weird.... lol
      Goodness, thanks again! XD
      teehee! It was just too good to NOT do. XD
      Aww, you're so NICE! XD <3
      Oh, NO WAY. Our only similarity is our hair color. BUT some weird people were like, "Are you girls identical?" and LHE and I were like, "Um..... no."

    10. That's cool! Their humor is the best I've read for so long. They did an amazing job. ;) I'm glad I've had the opportunity to beta read for them and hope to do more in the future.
      Lol, do you mean that you don't want me to guess your actual name? Or another pen name? Or both. lol I was actually wondering if Lila was your real name. That's such an adorable name. I won't guess. lol
      She is! I usually really love the books that have characters that I relate to. It makes the story even better.

      You're lovely as well! I'm glad I came across your blog. :)
      Oh no. I mean, some people ask us if we're identical. I don't think they know what that word means. We look so different from each other. If I saw a picture of her and a picture of me, I wouldn't put us together. lol Identical twins are cool, though. They could switch places for a day, which would be so much fun. xD

      God Bless! <3

    11. @LHE - Ohmigosh, yes! Same! So excited for their book 2! And Lila IS a cute name <3 As far as you know, though, that's who I am *wink-wink*

      Awwww, thank you, L! (mind if I call you L?)

      @GJE - Now, I do think butterflies are pretty :D But slugs and centipedes? *curls lip in disgust* I'm with your sis on that one, lol ;)

      @both - Oh, all right. So you're not identical twins. Interesting, interesting.

      I repeat - you girls are great! <333

    12. I am as well! Lol, do you think you'll ever reveal your real name, or do you not like it?

      You're welcome! If you want to, you can. lol
      Thank you! You're great as well and you've done a great job with this blog. <3

    13. I'd rather not give my real name because that pretty much kills the purpose of having a pen name, and also just for privacy. It's not as if I don't like my real name :D

      Thank you so much, L! *hugs you really, really hard* That means a lot to me, girl <333

    14. Yeah, I'll most likely do the same if I get a blog. Plus, it would be for security reasons. ;)

      You're welcome! *hugs you harder* I'm so happy I came across you and your blog. I enjoy reading your posts. :)
      God Bless! <3

  5. I've gone to a youth camp twice, but never a youth retreat, sounds like you had an awesome time!!!

    Zip-Lining is so awesome!!!

    I've not really read that much from the Book of Daniel, but I should!

    1. It was an awesome time!! I hold the memories dear XD

      Isn't it??? I can't get over how fun that was!

      You really should! It has SO MANY lessons applicable especially for teenagers. It's packed with so much truth... :D


Here's how this works: You leave a comment, and then we become friends :) It's simple, really. Just don't be mean, rude, nasty, or offensive, because *sighs* then I'd have to delete it.

That being said, I can hardly WAIT to hear from you!!! XD