"Refreshing My Down Times", "Refreshing My Guilty Times" and "The Day God Eavesdropped" by Elder Paul Kelly October 10 to 13, 2002 by Francisca Trexler
The first retreat held at Camp Blue Ridge (CBR) last year (2001) was timely. In spite of the saddest events of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, we still attended the spiritual retreat at CBR. We all needed to be away from the busy city. Twenty-three people attended the CBR last year, and this year thirty-six people attended the retreat.
Again, the retreat this year (October 10-13) was timely and helped us get a much-needed spiritual rest because a sniper had just recently killed 9 innocent people in the Washington, D.C. area. It was such a blessing to know that CBR was a wonderful spiritual uplifting event for most of the campers. The people said that it was good to be at the CBR to get the spiritual food to help them to get through another tough year. It was good to have CBR supporting many campers in the fall.
Elder Paul Kelly gave a series of spiritual sermons. The series Elder Kelly gave was titled, "Refreshing My Down Times", "Refreshing My Guilty Times" and "The Day God Eavesdropped." The campers really enjoyed and benefited from Elder Kelly's sermons. He spoke of the love of God and His caring of His people on earth. God Himself wants so much to have you all in heaven. Let us give our lives to Him and prepare ourselves for His glorious coming soon. It was such blessing to know that CBR was a wonderful spiritual uplifting event to most of the campers.
Sabbath afternoon, most of the campers had a enjoyable hike in the woods. Some went canoeing. The youth seemed to enjoy the activities the most, as they used up their energies. One person said that hiking in the woods gave them time to think about God's great handiwork. That was what the Sabbath is all about!
Elder David Trexler gave a very meaningful sermonette for the footwashing and Communion (Lord's Supper) at the close of Sabbath. It was the best moment to give ourselves to God once more.
Afterwards, we had a wonderful candlelight service and campfire on Saturday night. We passed around candles to each of the campers. The candlelight is the symbol of having the Holy Spirit in our lives. Once we lit the first candle, that was used to light the second person's candle. This was done from camper to camper until all the campers had lit their candle. Then there was a solemn moment as we thought to ourselves about giving our lives to Jesus Christ with the help of the great Holy Spirit. Then we brought the candles up high above our heads and it was bright among us. We took turns to pray to God individually. After the service ended, it immediately became foggy. God performed another miracle by holding back the fog until we had finished our service - just like last year when He held back the wind until we finished our service.
Sunday morning, all the campers were busy cleaning the cabins before we ate a good hearty breakfast. Then all too soon it was time to leave CBR in the early afternoon. But we had good and uplifted feelings and blessings from this wonderful retreat.
All the campers are looking forward to coming back to CBR again next year. Overall, it was wonderful and memorable.
Why did you come to CBR?
I’m the only deaf SDA in my hometown and I want to go to camps when I can. Norma Bushey from Morganton, North Carolina
I missed the Midwest Deaf Campmeeting and wanted to meet other deaf SDAs. Bruce Buzzell from St. Louis, Missouri
I wanted a break from school. Farrah Gooding from Toronto, Ontario
I want a new experience of camping with nature. Edy Holm, Gallaudet student from Sweden
I want to make new SDA friends from other states. Wendy House from Crofton, Maryland
Want to meet my Adventist friends. Bryan Jones from Jacksonville, Florida
I want to listen to God’s Word in nature. Josiah Kelly from Rochester, New York
I want to meet new friends, and other deaf SDAs and need a break from city life. Robert Miera from Albuquerque, New Mexico
I want to grow spiritually and have a closer relationship with God. Paulino Patino from Rochester, New York
Want to meet friends. Gregorio Perez from Tabasco, Mexico
I want to see my old friends. Ben Santiago from Vienna, Virginia
I come to visit friends. Donald Snider from Rocky Mount, Virginia
I want to leave the city and come to nature. John Wehrli from Springfield, Virginia
What is the best part about CBR?
I benefit from sermons and fellowship. Norma Bushey from Morganton, North Carolina
Hiking and I got wet! Farrah Gooding from Toronto, Ontario
Enjoy fellowship with Adventists away from the city and learn about God. Wendy House from Crofton, Maryland
Beautiful nature and good support from friends. Bryan Jones from Jacksonville, Florida
I like meeting deaf people – we communicate the same when we discuss the Bible. Lee Roy McKinney from Bones Mill, Virginia
Canoeing and hiking. Gregorio Perez from Tabasco, Mexico
Fall is the best time of the year to be in nature away from the cities. Ben Santiago from Vienna, Virginia
Nice cabins. John Wehrli from Springfield, Virginia