By 6:00 p.m. the January sun has already set at Big Lake Youth Camp. “This time of year, it’s usually dark by the time they pick us up,” said Tylor Watts, one of the young adults attending this year’s Oregon Young Adults and Big Lake Staff Winter Retreat. “It’s cool going through the trees at night on the snow cat.”
After being brought into the snow-buried camp, settling into cabins and getting together for a meal and worship service, things finally felt a little bit like they used to.
“What was different this year was that the lodge was new,” said Tylor. “That was a key thing for me. I’ve been going to Big Lake for basically my whole life. It was interesting because it still felt like the old lodge but upgraded and more modern. There were obviously a few things that were different, but overall, it still felt like the lodge.”
Worship leader Markis Zarate played the song, “House of Miracles” a few times throughout the weekend, and Tylor remembers Markis sharing his thoughts on how the lodge and Big Lake itself was a house of miracles during COVID — how it was built in such a short period of time, and how it would bless the people that come through for years into the future.
Aside from fun snow activities like tubing, Tylor appreciated the opportunity to reflect and explore the beauty of God’s nature. “The moon was so bright you could walk around at night without a flashlight," he said. "I could see my own shadow in it. We went to the outskirts of camp really late to take a few night photos. It was so calm and beautiful and serene looking up at the stars and around at the untouched snow with the mountain in the distance.”
“It’s nice to have the chance to meet some new people and do something like this after being so cooped up,” said Tylor. The Winter Retreat provided the chance to do what Big Lake does best — reconnect its visitors with their community, their earth and their God.