2013 Youth Retreat

Todd and I Got to Maranatha Missionary and Bible Conference around 2:30pm and went up to the dunes for a bit then to Wal-Mart with Dustin. Had delicious home-made pizza for supper.
     Matt Yoder was our speaker on Friday, and Jeremiah and Marcie from Grace Community Church were the music leaders. We had a bonfire later which went pretty late. I got to bed around 1:00am or so and there seemed to be a very loud party right outside our window, which kept us up a bit longer!

     Saturday we got up early for devotions, which were led by Dan Schwartz. Then breakfast haystacks and a bit of free time until chapel, when Lael Barkman gave the message. He was really good but went on long enough that we missed our group activity time. We played group games (wiffleball) after lunch instead. We also went to the beach, and some of us went up to the prayer tower. The view was beautiful! In the evening was our formal dinner, which was very good. My mouth still waters thinking about those mashed potatoes and steak. J.R. and Carol were in charge of the food and they did an awesome job. We all dressed down right away afterwards though, as formal clothing can be tiresome and inconvenient. As Kayley put it, “half an hour is long enough!” Matt Yoder preached again and we had a really good time of sharing and opening up. It was awesome. Went to the beach again after for a bonfire. Found a nice spot on the dunes to overlook everyone else (thanks to Titus). Laying down on top of the dune oddly muffled the sound of the waves and people talking and made me feel as though in another world. Got to bed around 12:30 that night.
     Mark Raber led early bird devotions Sunday morning and Matt preached the last message. we ended up in a large group hug praying, crying, generally feeling good. God is everywhere and in all circumstances, but there are times when we are sure He feels nearer than others. I know that is not necessarily the case, but I think He uses those times to encourage us to discover more about Him and not grow dull and weary.


Grace and peace.



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Looking to the Future

The time is swiftly coming that my term as president will end, and I’m considering the future of this blog. As of now I am thinking that I will pass it on to whoever is youth president next. Or perhaps the youth pastor would like to maintain it. Obviously, I haven’t done the best job of keeping it updated, so the bar is set pretty low (I think that’s because of my perfectionist tendencies – ironic, isn’t it?). I will post updates on the transition. Or maybe someone else will. Ha!

It has been fun – I enjoy writing, at least when I have something to write about. I won’t be going away, I have started my own personal blog (mostly for blowing off steam, which I seem to have a lot of at times) over at rwindiana.wordpress.com. And whoever posts here in the future, I will be sure to read and leave comments! Maybe we should announce the existence of this blog to the youth so that we will have more readership and contributions.

Well, that’s all for now! God bless.


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It’s All Lumber, Man

I found a very inspirational (other than a reference to over-drinking) quote in the book Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome. I find myself so often plagued with anxiety because of the things that I have, what I am accomplishing (or not accomplishing), and shallow relationships. I aspire to follow this advice:

“How many people, on that voyage, load up the boat till it is in danger of swamping with a store of foolish things which they think essential to the pleasure and comfort of the trip, but which are really only useless lumber.

How they pile the poor little craft mast-high with fine clothes and big houses; with useless servants and a host of swell friends that do not care twopence for them, and that they do not care three ha’pence for; with expensive entertainments that nobody enjoys, with formalities and fashions, with pretence and ostentation, and with – oh, heaviest, maddest lumber of all! – the dread of what will my neighbour think, with luxuries that only cloy, with pleasures that bore, with empty show that, like the criminal’s iron crown of yore, makes to bleed and swoon the aching head that wears it!

It is lumber, man – all lumber! Throw it overboard. It makes the boat so heavy to pull, you nearly faint at the oars. It makes it so cumbersome and dangerous to manage, you never know a moment’s freedom from anxiety and care, never gain a moment’s rest for dreamy laziness…

Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.

You will find the boat easier to pull then, and it will not be so liable to upset, and it will not matter so much if it does upset; good plain merchandise will stand water. You will have time to think as well as to work. Time to drink in life’s sunshine.”

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Prove It!

Perhaps this is not relevant to the youth or to religious things, although I think it is relevant to everyone and everything. God is also Truth. He said that His people perish for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6), and how clearly that is seen today! How completely irresponsible we are with what we take in AND what we put forth!


Please, friends, take these words of the Bible to heart, even in the smallest matters. It is so important to do our research and get the facts before making any kind of a judgment. Whether someone tells you something ridiculous like “toilets flush backwards in Australia” or more serious things about the guilt or innocence of George Zimmerman, who, because of the ignorance of the masses, may have to live in fear for the remainder of his days because of racist groups who disagree with the verdict of Not Guilty.


You say Wal-Mart promotes poverty wages in third world countries in order that we might purchase our products for a lower price? Please, prove it to me with relevant facts. I am very weary of ignorant and foolish words.


Forgive my attitude today, I’m a little over the edge. Pray for me, and pray that God’s people would gain a new love of TRUTH in every form. God bless.



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The Trees of the Field

First read: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-plants-talk-to-help-them.html

Plants talk to each other? I know from experience that plants always grow better around other plants. Wow, and this evolved (ha!)? Is this a foreshadowing of life in heaven? Do the mountains, trees, and all creation literally praise God in ways we can not even know about? Isaiah 55:12, Luke 19:40, Revelation 16:7 are verses to ponder. I’m sure there are more.
Although if we start saying that God is in everything, that may be just a step away from Pantheism – claiming that everything is God. But it often seems that many heresies are only a step away from Christianity; and many, I believe, borrow their ideas from Christianity (read http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4217655/ and try to tell me that Jesus is not awesome!!). Surely God did put some of His essence into His creation. Even His Spirit (which creates and sustains life) is present in everything that lives, causing them all to bear witness of and to praise their Creator.

My sister said she wonders what Vegans will eat now. 🙂

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The Wheels on the Bus Do What??

According to Lorene, they “go ‘wah, wah, wah’!” This hilarious moment was courtesy of a very tired segment of the youth group wandering the streets of somewhere in Southern Indiana (I believe it was Aurora) after spending a beautiful day at the Creation Museum. Our bus decided it wanted to take a nap, so one of the shocks disassembled itself (it may have had help from the curb that attacked us) and was rubbing against a back tire, ruining the tire but also alerting us of the problem via our noses. It took some time to get everything fixed again, so we spent time at a park/playground next to the Ohio River swinging, climbing, throwing footballs, skipping stones. Getting bored of that (and distinctly hungry – we could tell we were hungry because we felt like eating), we decided to walk to the nearest town for food. After eating, we felt like sleeping, but we still had a long walk back to the bus. A perfect scenario for funny moments to happen.

I think I may be the only one who had an urge to go swimming at the motel pool, but it closed at 10pm and it was already 9:45. Sad ending to that day. 😦

Sunday was an interesting day. We think our church goes on long – well Beulah Missionary Baptist Church treated us to a service that lasted until after 1:00pm. It was a blessing, different from what we’re used to but a good experience. But we were pretty hungry again afterwards. Cracker Barrel for lunch quickly got voted down since we just ate there for breakfast on Saturday. So it was Ponderosa for us.

Saturday (did I say I was writing this in chronological order? My mistake if I did) we had nice, sunny weather. A bit on the cool side but not much to complain about. We were inside the museum most of the day anyway. I must say, the Planetarium was the highlight for me. It makes one wonder about so many things, like how we can be of any importance when we are so infinitely small (whenever I feel important, I must watch the video again), or whether God created life on other worlds.

If I remember, I might post a few pictures of the trip on the Griner page on Facebook. But as usual, no promises. God bless for now!


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Quick, Make a Post!

Well, glad I finally remembered how to log in and post again.

Concerning recent youth-related news, we had a great time bowling at Strikes and Spares in Mishawaka, after having a not-so-great time getting there. Someone should really put traffic cops on Grape road. With guns. Attitude check: really bad. Personally, I wanted to throw things at the people who were trying to turn left on a red light and completely blocking the intersection because there was no way out (tip: always make sure that it’s possible to *exit* the intersection before entering it. The better for all of us). But the most gratifying would be to drive through that intersection around 20 times and show everyone how to do it properly. It was partly my fault, since I told Todd to turn right when we should have gone straight. So at the next intersection we attempted to turn left. Everyone else in Mishawaka was also trying to turn left, from the road to our right, paying little heed to the traffic lights. Turning right after turning around in a parking lot was even more difficult and there was much road rage. But that’s enough of my complaining. It probably doesn’t make sense anyway. Besides, a small part of me enjoys road rage.

As I said, we had a great time bowling. We were supposed to go to Red Robin to eat afterwards, but due to the Intuitive Feeling types in our car (me and Michael. Excluding Todd, who just doesn’t care), and a sudden left turn made by the car in front of us which we were supposed to be following but could no longer, the red light at Krispy Kreme proved utterly irresistible. After indulging our senses, our willpower (and memory) was weakened even further by the sighting of Chick-Fil-A. It was a good night, but a small part of us did feel slightly like traitors. Sorry everyone!



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