Our annual Director's Retreat took place this past week Monday-Wednesday in beautiful Sun River, Oregon. The Mission (NICE) rented a five-bedroom home for all of us that gave us the privilege of all being together. Our Director's wife, Shirley planned the meals and the other ladies helped her out with preparation and table setting. Maria Cordova wasn't able to make it but Jesus, our Hispanic Director was able to come. Earl & Shirley Brubaker (Executive Director) led our discussions. Others who attended were our Inland Northwest Field Director Roger & Karen Hayden, Oregon Field Director Jerry & Lois James, and Katherine along with myself. We were so glad Jerry was able to make it after his previous stroke. He is doing remarkably well! We also missed Larry & Linda Ott, our former Assistant Director who now lives in Sequim, Washington.
The weather was interesting as it snowed most the time but occasional rain also. Shirley commented that she should have brought a Christmas tree to decorate the place for the flurry of snow we evidenced.
Monday night we began with a fabulous Lasagna dinner. Earl then led us in a discussion of prayer requests for our NICE family in specific fields of ministry. After some time in discussion and prayer we had a time of fellowship of ice cream and goodies.
Tuesday morning following breakfast we discussed Progressive Dispensationalism and those within the IFCA that may be leaning that direction as opposed to Classic Dispensationalism, Calvinism and recent amendments to our Statement of Faith. Then we had a break for lunch and then free time for a few hours. A few of the gals headed out to visit the shops down by the Sun River Lodge. The guys worked on their computers, read and took a nap.
When we came back together in the late afternoon we spent some time discussing "Vision America" mainly concentrating on the uniqueness, similarities and differences of "Internships" and "Church Residency" programs; the former dealing mainly with under-graduates and catering to a broader scope of ministry while the latter deals with graduate level men specifically designed for church planting & training under a church planter.
After a wonderful ham and baked potato dinner we met in the living room again and spent some time discussing parts of "From Embers to a Flame: How God Can Revitalize Your Church." Along with this we discussed planting churches and serving churches. Earl also gave us some update in administrative changes and challenges without the Ott's in the office. We spent a short time looking at the N.I.C.E. Website updating areas and asking about changes or additions that might need done. The retreat was a great time of fellowship and discussion as usual.
One the way home Katherine and I stopped at Calamity Jane's in Sandy, Oregon to split a "big" hamburger. We were the only ones in this 1930's building. The economy has really hit them hard. We also drove around Napavine and downtown Chahalis and Centralia to get a physical view of churches. This is another area we are looking at starting a Bible study with the goal of a Bible church some day. Then on our way home we stopped by DuPont to participate in the Bible study in John's Gospel, taught by Pastor Timothy Atkins. What a blessed time to see the folks sharing and asking questions. We only got through two verses in John 17 but it was a rich time of learning.