Teens Get to Know Christ at Teen Retreat

May 22, 2019 | Youth | Traci Carothers

It was a long drive from Pendleton, Ore., to Camp MiVoden overlooking Hayden Lake outside of Hayden, Idaho. Leaders and teens with the Pendleton Pathfinder Club piled into two cars to head up for Pathfinder Teen Retreat, Jan. 26–28, 2019. As it would turn out, the 508-mile round trip would prove to be more than worth it.

Friday evening Pathfinders from all over the Upper Columbia Conference (and even two from Montana) arrived ready for what would turn out to be a Spirit-filled weekend. Kids found their assigned cabins, got settled in and headed down for an amazing dinner. The cafeteria buzzed with conversations as Pathfinders caught up with fellow Pathfinders they only get to see at such events.

After dinner everyone headed to the first worship service of the weekend. The speaker for this retreat was Jared Spano, Pasco (Wash.) Riverview Church pastor. Over the course of the weekend, Spano spoke about righteousness by faith. He managed, however, to present it in a way that shed new light on this topic to most, if not all, in attendance. Every time he spoke the teens were so engrossed you could hear a pin drop. He was real with the kids. He was honest and shared heartbreaking circumstances he and his wife have endured. His relationship with Christ was evident, and those listening were drawn to Christ through him. At the end of Friday night’s worship he asked, “Do you want to be closer to God?” Around the room kids whispered “yes,” and they meant it.

The Sabbath afternoon activity was a Pathfinder version of the Amazing Race. Kids were given the chance to get to know and engage with Pathfinders from other clubs as teams were randomly put together from all the clubs. Several stations were set up, each with a different activity and spiritual lesson. For instance, one was moving gum balls from one bowl to another with chop sticks. The verse that went with it was Luke 16:10: “One who is faithful in very little is also faithful in much … .” At the completion of each activity the team received a stamp in their “passport.” When it was over, no team had completed every task and won all the points. The pastor pointed out, “None of us are capable of getting any stamps in our passport. God is the winner for us. God covers everything we do with His perfection and Glory.”

“I enjoyed the fun experiences, meeting new people, and the speaker was really good,” says Gianna Bella of the South Hill Southern Lights Pathfinder Club in Spokane, Wash.

Laura Luke from the Spokane Valley Trailblazers says, “I’ve been to a lot of Teen Retreats, and this is the best one. I loved roasting marshmallows on the beach. It was really relaxing.”

All the Clearwater Pathfinders were first-time attendees and agreed they wanted to come back again. The general consensus from many comments overheard was, “The speaker was really good!.”

Spano shared afterward he had had many come to him, both teen and adult alike, recounting their own painful stories and how his stories had touched them. His goal was to connect with the kids over the weekend. He strove to accomplish this not by coming across as “cool” to the kids but by being real with them. Everyone left with a better picture of Christ than they had come with.

Teen Retreat was, indeed, about relationships, both with Christ and each other. New friendships were made, old ones grew deeper, and the character of Christ became clearer.