The 2016 Elkhorn Hills Women’s Retreat was held at the Carol Joy Holling Retreat Center in Ashland, NE, the weekend of March 4-6. Twenty-two amazing women attended the retreat and grew closer to God and closer to each other through this experience.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Throughout the weekend we had large group sessions, small discussion groups, fellowship time, fantastic meals, devotions, crafts, singing, and worship. The attendees were grouped together by color (Blue, Green, Orange and Gold) based on their personality traits. Each color group was assigned a woman from the Bible who possesses some of the traits of that color group (Ruth, Leah, Rahab and Martha).
Additionally, each participant was assigned a prayer partner for the weekend–strong bonds were created through this activity. The baby picture identification proved challenging, with 8 correct I.D.s being the best showing. In addition, the retreat attendees collected an offering for the Lydia House, and an obituary of Jesus of Nazareth and poems composed by M.S. Lowndes were distributed.
In our spare time, we enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation by exploring the secluded 317 acres of rolling hills, walking the camp trails, relaxing in the sun, rocking in the rocking chairs, visiting the horses, and considering the challenge course.
The retreat theme was that regardless of our “color” God created all of us to work together for the betterment of our world. This theme was reinforced by the “Different Drums and Different Drummers” Bonner Curriculum that reminds us, ” . . . To put up with me is the first step to understanding me . . . you might come to prize my difference from you and . . . preserve and even nurture those differences.” The verses from 1 Corinthians chapter 12 about the body of Christ also speaks to this theme.
“Yes, the body has many parts, not just one part. If the foot says, ‘I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,’ that does not make it any less a part of the body.” 1 Corinthians 12:14
“Yes, Now, here is what I am trying to say: All of you together are the one body of Christ and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it.” 1 Corinthians 12:27
The campfire s’mores were an enjoyable and relaxing start to the wonderful retreat. We were reminded to look for “S’more times to show love; S’more ways to serve others; and S’more chances to bear our testimony.”
Another of the many highlights of the weekend were the group skits that that told about Ruth, Leah, Rahab and Martha, Martha, Martha. The special solo by “Ruth” during her skit, was definitely a highlight for me!
There were also many special favors that reinforced the retreat them, such as “Hope your day ‘BURSTS’ with God’s love!” and “Color your world with God’s Love!”
The food provided by the Carol Joy Holling staff was delicious! Peach cream cheese stuffed french toast one morning for breakfast–enough said. 🙂
By far, though, the attendees mostly enjoyed the fellowship and bonding time among participants.
This retreat would not have been possible without the hard work of the retreat planning committee. Many thanks to these dedicated ladies: Bonnita Sherburne, Sherri Kaufmann, Dianne Ruppe, Kim Jirgenson, Darla Langendorfer, Lena Beeson, Jan Heliker, Jeaneen Bates, and Sue Smith. Thanks to Pastor Nancy Davis for leading the retreat. Thanks to Julie Fraser, Lori Hullinger, Jan Heliker and Bonnita Sherburne for leading the small group discussions and thanks to Deb Eidam for the musical accompaniment. We appreciate your love of Jesus Christ, your friendship, and devotion to this mission.