Monday, June 2, 2014

2014 Church Retreat

We just returned from a 4-day retreat with our church at a hostel an hour outside of Vienna. It was a great weekend of worship, quality time, game playing, eating, chatting and listening to a great guest speaker.

What was most encouraging for Nate and I was thinking back on the same retreat last year and how different our experience was this time around. Last year, we were exhausted from speaking German for 4 days straight (and I was exhausted from being early in my pregnancy!). We didn't know very many people, so it was a lot of introductory conversations. We could barely follow along with what the speaker was sharing, and we took naps during all of the breaks!

This year, however, was totally different. Ellie was with us, so I ended up being a bit distracted by caring for her. But aside from that, we got so much more out of the content that the speaker shared. Speaking German for 4 days was basically a non-event for us both - it's not longer very exhausting or taxing to communicate in our new language. Nate helped lead worship by playing guitar for half of the group sessions. We were able to deepen relationships with people we already know, as well as meet some new people. Many people enjoyed seeing Ellie and we also took her for her first swim in a swimming pool. Nate was introduced to the church as the new intern, and he got up and spoke for 5 minutes about his background and his goals and hopes for his time serving in the church! (A year ago, this would have been a huge challenge.) It was an all-around great weekend, and we're so thankful we could attend.

Here are some photo highlights from our time:

Worship time and hearing our speaker

Nate's discussion group, with Ellie as a participant

Nate helping to lead worship

Ellie's first time in a swimming pool

Enjoying the water

Nate running from a cow on our group hike