Thoughts on life from Pat Oaks
I haven't blogged for a few days, because we have had about 35 people at our house! Our Memorial Day retreat was supposed to be in Gatlinburg, like usual but the hotel cancelled because of the virus. Everyone was SO disappointed, so we decided to go ahead and have it. Our preacher, Paul, said we could have it here and use the gym for our meetings.
So, we sent out a letter and told everyone to bring tents, and camp in the back yard. Some slept on air mattresses in the gym. Lori and Scott (sweet angel pie and sweet baby, as we so fondly call them) even brought a luxury camper!
We had one sad development during the retreat. (Sad, but joyful.) Tommy, John boy and I were sleeping in the living room. I had just gone to sleep about midnight. All of a sudden I felt someone punching my shoulder. I looked up and didn't recognize who it was! I thought, "has someone broken into the house!" Then I realized it was Jami. She whispered, "Audrey's Dad died!" It had just happened. I got up and tiptoed outside. Audrey, John thomas, Jami and I sat and talked and cried and laughed until about 1:30 in the morning. It was sad because her Dad is no longer with her, but joyful because he is with Jesus!
Then Audrey got a shower and climbed into bed with Jami instead of sleeping in her tent. (And no....Robert was not in the bed!) Audrey left the next morning and left a giant hole!
Everyone agreed that we should keep doing the retreats here. We probably won't, but it was so different. Misty Carpenter, whom we now call Vista, (ask her) said that she liked it better because every night we sat around the fire and really got to know each other. If felt as if we went even deeper in our friendships this weekend.
We are located on a major highway (yes....right on it!) but in the back yard it felt as if we were in the woods all alone. At night it looked so cozy. Lori strung lights on her camper and I put a strand on each tent.
We also went to the Lost Sheep warehouse on Saturday afternoon and worked all afternoon! I was astounded at the work we got done! I honestly did not expect to get all of the projects done that we had to do over there. We did! It was hard, dirty, hot work, but this crew rose to the challenge. I honestly have never met a group like this one. I have been on mission trips and worked in camps and campus ministry and churches all over the country, but have not found the dedication to service like this group. So thank you to the crue. (I know it's spelled wrong. That's what we call each other.)
I could keep writing, but one can not truly give justice to something this exciting and meaningful. You end up always saying the worn out phrase, "You just had to be there."
So....next time....come! You won't regret it!