Retreat helps strengthen relationship with God


POSTED: Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Lutheran High students recently gave up one of their weekends to attend 2009's first Spiritual Growth Retreat, held at the Puu Kahea Conference Center from March 13 to 15.

Lutheran High's director of Christian education, Karl Ashcraft, headed the event along with Janet Linden, Our Savior Lutheran Church's director of Christian education.

“;The Spiritual Growth Retreat is an opportunity for our students to come face to face with the life-changing savior who is Jesus Christ and for him to work through us to begin or continue a transformation of their lives,”; Ashcraft said.

David Hee, a senior, said: “;It was fun, and it was a great opportunity to spend time with everyone. The activities were good, the food was awesome and the Bible studies were great.”;

The retreat's theme was “;Jesus is the Same Now, Today and Forever.”; Students discussed their interpretations of Jesus with one another and learned about the true gift he sent to the world.

Upon arrival, students were separated into devotional groups. There were five devotional sessions throughout the weekend, led by teachers.

“;At the Spiritual Growth Retreat you spend time with a lot of your friends and are able to get close to God,”; sophomore Trevor Young said.

Besides devotionals, Bible studies and worship, there was also time for fun. Students could take a trip to Makaha Beach, play basketball and volleyball, take pictures, sing, make videos and play on the camp's playground. Teachers also had special games set up such as “;The Captain's Daughter,”; “;Body Parts”; and the “;Couch Game.”;

Teachers and students prepared all meals. The retreat wrapped up with an emotional Saturday night session.

Freshman Ocean Hay said: “;I like the games we played and going to the beach. It was really deep, too, when we prayed to God on the second night there.”;

Principal Arthur Gundell said: “;The Spiritual Growth Retreat was started in order to strengthen students' relationships with God. The teachers work to plant seeds in each and every student, hoping that throughout their high school experience they can grow. It is amazing to see how much students change after they come back from the retreat.

“;It's like taking a weekend off and spending it with God,”; Gundell continued. “;It gives students time to evaluate trust and faith in God and helps them understand a little more about who he is and what he does every day. The retreat is hands-on. Leaders get in-depth with students and help them work through their struggles.”;

Senior Kimo Okamoto said: “;I loved the food there and the atmosphere we were in. Also, I had the opportunity to sing random things that did not make sense with Mr. Ashcraft.”;

Attendees shared their experiences with the rest of the school in a special chapel held the week after the event.