An era is signified to mark the birth of a King or Queen, & we believe that every heart reborn into the Kingdom of heaven steps into royalty. A head-on collision with their destiny thus created an Endless Era traveling through centuries into eternity and effecting the #generations to come.
Years = Centuries
The woods of Mississippi set the backdrop for Rekindle’s very first #retreat where 18
“1st Century Embers” from across the country ventured into the Land of the Living for
four days to discover the breath of the Father reigniting their hearts, renewing their minds and rekindling their souls.
As they arrived and checked in, they were cheerfully greeted and welcomed by a hand sewn bag full of goodies in a cabin shared with a roommate (or several in some cases) – a closeness that while potentially awkward at first ultimately added to the spirit of sharing, learning and truly connecting with one another.
We encouraged an unplugging from all things #digital to digest the richness of rest. After exchanging hellos, mingling, and easing the first-day jitters, they walked to the gorgeous table scape to find their name at the table where a decadent, freshly prepared four course dinner set the tone for the evening while we curated a discussion that unwound the tension and had us all taking deep breaths. Each person was assigned to someone praying for them and we took turns reading and celebrating a fresh word over their season.
Days = Years
We opened up our hearts with joyful singing, soaking up free time, and dancing the night away in worship. We felt hesitations and expectations melting away. There were times the room stood still, filled with hope, and got lost in wonder.
Time stood still. Watches literally stopped ticking…because time disappears when heaven is on earth. It was a time to cultivate the heart’s garden, stoke the soul’s fire, and renew the mind’s paths. The first night as we got into bed, seemingly speechless but also restlessly inspired, we realized, “we still have three more full days of this feeling!”
We began the next morning with a nutritious homemade breakfast and session ending with a journaling exercise that could take us from complete strangers with God, a few hours before to emotionally co-navigating the same wavelength in discovery of His heart and ours.
In the afternoon, they were led to the ropes course for a team challenge that instantly bonded their unknown souls and made them kindred spirits by the end of the exercise. At dinner there was a shared sense of unity, and acknowledgement of the victory tying all of them together.
We serenaded them and allowed everyone to join us on a rendition of secular songs made sacred, sealing the night with a powerful reminder of the importance of re-crafting life’s narrative to find beauty. We ended the night with a brisk, breezy wagon ride under the stars and through the woods to a giant #bonfire by the lake to roast marshmallows & Reese’s S’mores below the towering trees. If the first day’s spirit was one of extravagance, then the second day was a combustion of vulnerability and connection on a level perhaps never experienced.
The next morning began with an energizing breakfast and a focus on cultivating friendship with Holy Spirit through tending the garden of our hearts. We finally admitted what we had really been believing about who we think God is and what He says about us. We stopped numbing and denying our emotions and finally built an additional room in the home of our hearts to process them.
We ended the night with expressing all that we had learned, felt, and seen through a night of worship. We abandoned our comfort zones and when we moved, we saw God move. The room filled with rich sounds of 20 hearts and we heard the angels join us and sing too.
On our last morning, we all became too painfully aware that this would be our last day together, and the conversation became one of complete gratitude. We explored what type of leader and follower they are through a fun outdoor exercise and led them through the importance of creating a personal declaration – a bold send-off message for all of us. As we all said our goodbyes, the connections made over the long weekend were palpable. They all walked away with a deep sense of belonging and purpose. We ended the night with each one sharing around the table how they had come in and how they were leaving changed.
It was the end but it is just the beginning.
This Rekindle Retreat was an undeniable testament to what happens when 18 hearts allow themselves to share, open up, look within, connect, and explore not just their surroundings but their souls.
We thoughtfully created a lovely space for the tribe of strangers who, in this same season, dared to unearth their stories – each unique and beautiful – and simply showed up.
… and of course, this retreat would have be impossible without the help of some of these amazing friends! A BIG thank you to: Johnny & Debbie Buckner (and all of New Horizon’s Church Family), Chuck & Susan Bates, John & Tammy Boone, Providence Church, Lavette Boone, Mike & Debbie Mabry, Bob & Kem Kuenzli, Peter & Jana Kuenzli, Rachel Marlo, Megan Aucoin, Daniel & Hayley Scoggin, Jeremiah & Amina Deang, Darren & Janet Beall, Jimmy & Jordan Glassford, Wes & Kristen Shrickel, Hanz & Taylor Melebranche, Bill & Mary Buckley, Mark & Barbara Horstemeyer, John & Carrie Copeland, Kathryn Taylor, Jani Walker, Tim & Carla Cummings, Ryan & Regina Ellis, Robert & Diane Buckner, Charlotte Leonard, Tina Vining, Sarah Jo Wilson.