Well, it rained and rained. At first I was pretty discouraged, just knowing how much the staff looked forward to this weekend for so long. But it didn’t take long to realize I was the only one not smiling. I’ve said it before… many times. Our staff is amazing. They love God and they love one another. And so a wet weekend became a wonderful time of encouragement, relaxing, and bonding.

We were long over due for a get-a-way with the staff. In fact, we’ve never really done something like this. But with over 20 staff now, and with HLA continuing to grow like it is, I knew deep down we needed a break. Fortunately, and as always, God provided. In spite of the grey clouds over head, the weekend was full of fishing, laughter, inspiration, and beauty. We each were able to spend quality time with our families and with each other, making it bright and sunny where it really matters — relationships.

I felt especially close to God over the weekend. It wasn’t just the escape from the busy life of the city. It was the thankfulness deep in my heart that He would allow us to partner with Him in this ministry to families. As the weekend progressed, I took even greater comfort seeing HLA’s staff having a great time with their own families. I found out later some of them had not taken a vacation together in over four years with one another. We all need to take time with our families and get away every so often.

When my family finally made it to see the falls on the last day, I was amazed to find not one but two huge waterfalls, side by side. I grew up in TN and have seen the falls many, many times. But I’ve never seen this. The power and majesty of the two flooded my heart with peace once again.

Just as we were packing up to leave on Sunday a bright ray of sun broke through and blasted the lake, lighting up the trees on the oposite side. I was stunned. I stook there on the hill just praising God for His goodness, remembering that He always gives us what we need. And what we need is Him.

Hopefully, we’ll do this again. In fact, the first meeting after our return we talked about how neat it would be to do this again next year on a Wednesday and Thursday night and then invite all our families out for a huge retreat on Friday and Saturday. We’ll see what God does.