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Wow. This was my first WinterFest, and I was not disappointed. Every moment of the weekend, from the bus rides, to the speakers, to late-night chats, to many, many games of air hockey (and I mean a lot of air hockey), was steeped in fun and overflowing in God's presence.

Sometimes in church we can get stuck thinking that God only walks with us in the hard times of life, the tough times. But this retreat reminded me that the Holy Spirit can and does join us in our fun and laughter. And the opportunities for fun never seemed to run out at WinterFest! The game room was open both nights, with pool, foosball, pingpong, and, of course, air hockey. We spent time there just hanging out and playing games. During free time, we got to ride a zip line and the screamer swing (a huge, three person swing you get harnessed into!). And we can't forget the gym full of inflatable bounce castles!

The good times went deeper, too, as we dug into the message that Pastor Judy brought. She asked the question, "What are your 'therefores'?" When you encounter God, there is always a "therefore." I met God, therefore I will care for the poor. I met God, therefore I will befriend the friendless. I met God, therefore I can no longer continue a certain activity or habit or addiction. This idea spurred lots of conversations that we will continue through XL.

My first Winterfest will certainly be one to remember! Thanks to Kim and Heidi for volunteering their time and energy as leaders. After this wonderful weekend, I am pumped for the rest of the school year with our high school students, and am really looking forward to the Middle School retreat coming up in just a few weeks!

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