“We need to do this.” That’s what the Idaho Conference women’s ministries team decided when planning the 2020 Women's Retreat at Camp Ida-Haven in McCall.
After six months of semi-quarantine and not-quite-the-same church activities, the conference ladies were restless. But how do you plan in the midst of such tentative circumstances?
Thankfully, our state and local conference administrations were willing to let us try if we limited the numbers to about 75% of the normal crowd and if we followed safe COVID-19 masking, distancing and cleaning protocols. We had a tremendous positive response from Idaho ladies and filled all but three of our available spots 30 days prior to the retreat. There were also attendees from California, Utah, Washington and as far away as North Carolina. Unfortunately, some were not able to attend due to sickness or being exposed to others who had been COVID-positive. We missed them and are so thankful for their consideration.
Why do we do retreats? Well, it’s certainly for fellowship and spiritual enrichment for the members of our churches. It is also an important opportunity for neighbors to bring friends. One non-Adventist lady came with her neighbor to check out what these Adventists believed. We praise God she heard how much Jesus loves her and are excited to know she asked for Bible studies right after the event.
Our speakers had not talked with each other about their topics. Yet each one built on the others and shared the same message that God loves each of us and wants to have a relationship with each of us. We could feel the Holy Spirit working.
We worked to make it fun in spite of the requirement for face coverings. Sometimes one needs to deal with a serious situation with humor. On Saturday night, we held a PPE fashion show. Several ladies brought their own renditions of a PPE (personal protective equipment), and we all had a good laugh. Perhaps the most covered of all was our leader, Cheri, in a polar bear onesie with a motorcycle helmet and gloves.
Of course, there is always something to contend with when God’s people are moving in faith, and the Oregon, Washington and Idaho fires provided plenty of smoke for the weekend. We praise God that the retreat was a success and know that God protected His girls through pandemic and fires to make it happen.
Oh, and we learned that God sees and adores His girls … beautiful and precious … every day and in every place. Keep looking up because Jesus is coming soon.