I’m not quite sure why I ever have doubts about how and why God does things the way He does. I’m constantly reminded that His ways aren’t my ways, they’re BETTER! We took the whole youth group up to Timber Wolf Lake YL camp last weekend for our yearly winter retreat-but this year we planned to do things a little different. Normally we go skiing, play tons of crazy games, and talk about a certain topic in the evenings that the kids might be struggling with. The highlight in the past has been the last night where we lay hands on the kids and pray for them-super tear-jerker. This year God has been continually telling me that we need to look past the end of our noses-to the hurting, the oppressed, the lonely, the orphans. So last weekend we embarked on our first ever Justice Retreat. Timber Wolf is considerably closer than Covenant Point where we went last year, but with the CRAZY amount of snow dumped on Michigan it still took us forever to get there-when we were driving 25mph one of my junior highers asked, “When are we going to pull over and use your mom’s credit card to stay at a hotel-and will it have a pool?” God was great and we made it there safely. The lodge was beautiful, the food was good, and it had an indoor gym where the boys could be nuts without driving the leaders nuts. We played lots of mafia, nerts, and signs, had several appearances by Super T-Lex and got to go tubing down an extremely steep hill-helmets required. No phones, no TV, it was fantastic to see the kids actually having conversations without a screen in front of them!! The “meat” of the retreat was all about the injustice in our world and how as christians we’re called to help, period dot end. The kids got to see a first-hand story of 4 teenagers that went to southeast Asia with International Justice Mission. They saw whole families in bonded labor working for 16 hours a day for 40 cents. They saw children forced to roll cigarettes from sun up to sun down. They saw girls they’re own age tricked into prostitution. Then we asked them what they wanted to do about it. We had times of prayer and reflection on how as Americans we live in a little bubble, and even when we do mission trips we forget too quickly that our lives are so easy compared to so many. We worshiped and sang to the Lord and thanked Him for being the ultimate rescuer to those in trouble. Then we brainstormed ideas. The kids really felt like their strongsuit is relationships and being a family. They want to invite other kids in our community who don’t have a safe place to be into our family. They want to hang out with little kids who don’t get to do fun things at home, and they want to help feed starving kids by volunteering their time to make pre-packaged rescue meals. Like I said, God is so good. I’m not going to lie, I was a little worried at how the information was going to be received by our kids. I wasn’t feeling very respected at the last several youth groups, and in general I was feeling paralyzed by the call on our group to “change our world” for Jesus. But God showed up like He ALWAYS does, and did a big work in our hearts. The kids worshipped like I haven’t seen them worship before, they listened intently as we talked, they loved eachother better than they have since I’ve been at Riverside-not a single arguement the entire weekend. With 20 teenagers I think God should get a big round of applause for that one!! Praise the Lord for the good work he wants to do through the youth, and for letting us be a part of His rescue plan.