Upper Columbia Holds Digging Deeper Retreat
May 18–20, 2018, marked the third young adult Digging Deeper Retreat at Camp MiVoden in Hayden, Idaho, and the sixth retreat in Upper Columbia Conference. It was truly a spiritually and socially rich weekend for young adults in the 20–40 age group as we came together for a special time of worship and fellowship. The retreat had a total of 209 attendees, which included 155 adults and 54 children representing 36 churches from around the Northwest. When classified in terms of family units, the group was comprised of 31 families with kids, 11 couples and 54 singles. Because of the diverse demographic, the retreat sought to balance family-friendly and young adult programs and activities.
The weekend was an alternating mix of focused meeting time and relaxed camp time. Attendees got to enjoy pieces of Camp MiVoden as they gathered Friday evening around fires on the beach, welcomed Sabbath morning with prayer on the dock, hiked the camp's property from Mokins Bay to Surewood to Patzer's Peak, lounged on the beach and in canoes Sabbath afternoon, and worshipped together during a Sabbath evening vespers at the campfire bowl.
Attendees also experienced authentic camp dorm lodging and exceptional cafeteria dining with meals made mostly from scratch and bursting with variety. We were very grateful to have such a beautiful and accommodating camp to host this event.
Ty Gibson, our keynote speaker, did a phenomenal job of leading us through the theme of "Digging Deeper Into God's Heart." He painted a clear and compelling picture of God's heart of inexpressible love for us, then invited us to see each of our stories and history from that perspective. His thought-provoking arguments challenged young adults to think about our profound need of God and the unbelievable life of healing and freedom that He offers to us.
Through these presentations, young adults heard a much-needed message about God's true character and His heart of unfailing love for each of us. Many of us found the messages hitting home in very personal ways.
The tone for the meetings was set by music teams from the Spokane (Wash.) Valley and Coeur d'Alene (Idaho) churches, with musicians from various other churches in the area. Each meeting was also lifted up with prayer as attendees gathered in small groups to seek God's presence and blessing. It was incredible to see young adults uniting together for a shared worship experience.
We have learned that ministry for young adults cannot be separated from family ministry because so many young adults have young families. This year about a quarter of the retreat attendees were under the age of 13. Some of the most fun of the weekend was had in our child care and children's programs as the kids were able to connect with caring volunteers and learn about Jesus. Our children's programming was bursting at the seams with 10 toddlers in child care (ages 18 months–3 years) and more than 30 kids in the children's program (ages 4–10). We are indebted to our weekend volunteers who helped with programming so that young adult parents could participate as much as possible in the meetings.
The Digging Deeper retreats are planned by young adults in the Spokane area who are passionate about sharing Christ with their peers. We are praising God for the 2018 spring retreat and grateful for the support of Upper Columbia Conference, our local Spokane churches and our many volunteers who made this event possible. What a blessing it is to work together to reach out to young adults and families in our area and to lift up Jesus Christ to our generation!