Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Iowa: an ROTC Valor Retreat

This past weekend, we were in Eldora, IA to provide worship and music for an ROTC Valor Retreat.  It was at Pine Lake Camp and we had a great time.  (Even if it was super duper cold.)  My brother-in-law, Nathan Self, got us connected with the Valor ministry that put it on and we were pumped to be a part.

We decided to split up the 11 hour drive and stopped in Hannibal, MO on Valentine's night.  Random fact:  Hannibal is where Mark Twain is from and my mom knew this because she knows everything.  When we continued to Iowa the next day, we actually got to do something we NEVER do on the road.  We actually got out and ate lunch.  (And yes, I'm still wearing the fleece that won't quit.)

I realized I've become quite good at car activities:  eating, putting on makeup and changing clothes.  

We got to the camp and we set up everything and also ran our own sound.  Trent called this picture "almost butt-crack." 

I needed to enter worship lyrics into Power Point.  I hadn't used Power Point since about 2001, so I was a bit nervous, but I got it all figured out.  No problemo.  

Yep.  That's right folks.  We were table leaders.  I'd like to think we rocked it.

It was really cold.  Like whoa cold.  But oh so pretty.

Our room in our amazing cabin had twin beds.  The first night, we slept like this:

The second night, we slept like this:

It was the best of both worlds.  Closeness to my man but we got to have our own blanket situations.  Him with barely a sheet and me with lots.  Can I get an amen?

We sat on a marriage panel.  The blue arrow is us!

We got some Valor swag.  I love bags, hats and coffee mugs.  

The last morning (Sunday) all the cadets and leaders sat in a circle and shared, if they felt led, anything from the weekend.  I did not plan on sharing...

But then, the speaker (Don Bentley who works with my brother-in-law) talked briefly about Nathan's battle.  I cried, of course, then shared.

I simply told the group how thankful I was for people in Military Ministry because they played a huge role in helping Nathan and Julie during a very dark time in their life.

(Also, if you'd like to know their story, read Two Wars.  You won't be sorry.)

The weekend was powerful.  Hearing Don's story and his wife Ang's perspective of military life was huge.  There were a couple other married couples who shared their wisdom, too.  I can only imagine how those tales impacted the young cadets and midshipmen.  

We were moved by the fact that these ROTC cadets are young and willingly entering into the military in a post 9/11 world.  Hearing some of them tell why they have chosen that life was an honor.  

"I want to help people."  
"I want to give back."
"I want to be a part of a team." 

I am thankful and in awe.

We split up the drive back home as well.  We chose St. Louis as our stopping point and hung out downtown.  

Fun times.  We head to Mississippi this coming weekend for another retreat, so stay tuned!

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