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Retreats encourage students to relax and focus

Nearly 80 women attended the annual women’s retreat at Mt. Sequoyah this past weekend, March 1-2.

Melissa Hall, family and human services professor and counselor at the Joshua Center, was the speaker.

Senior Megan Toney, women’s ministry director, worked with her team and the residence life staff in order to get an idea of what should be talked through during the weekend. After a lot of brainstorming, they began “to sense [a] theme of daily overcoming these things that keep us from living the life that Jesus saved us for.”

“We are in bondage so often, and so often without any indication of how to move towards freedom,” Toney said. “In Galatians 5, Paul says that ‘It is for freedom that Christ set us free.’ He freed us on the large scale so that we can be free on a daily scale.”

The Women’s Ministry team knew that the women who attended would not walk away from the weekend with everything squared away in their heads, but they saw the point of the weekend as the start of a process.

“Dr. Melissa Hall wanted to teach girls how to fight, take thoughts captive and bring our tiny piece to the puzzle of freedom,” Toney said. “We wanted girls to walk away knowing what Christ had freed them for and giving them daily means to make the steps necessary.”

Toney said she was thankful for the help from her team and that Hall spent time with them and spoke to the group throughout the weekend.

“She addressed specific strongholds so honestly and gently and really connected with the girls,” Toney said. “She struck a chord with the women there.”

Toney explained that the last session of the weekend was a practical and tangible small- group session where the girls gathered in groups of four or five and spent time reading specific Scriptures, talking about the truth the Scriptures contain and praying over each other.

“I think it is a prayer that Jesus is all about answering and I am excited to see what Jesus grows from the seeds planted,” Toney said.

The Men’s Ministry also has a retreat in the works for the men on campus that will be held this coming weekend, March 8-9. Over 30 men have signed up to be a part of the retreat.

After thinking about an important message guys on campus need to hear, and what the committee wanted to pass on to underclassmen, the planning committee came up with the theme “Remember and Live.”

“We decided that a theme of learning how to appropriately remember what God has done, primarily Christ’s death, in a way that impacts our daily lives is what needed to be the theme for this retreat,” said senior Jordan Busekrus.

The retreat will be held at Ponca Bible Camp, near the Buffalo River, and the speaker will be Brad Edwards, the First Presbyterian Church Siloam Springs youth pastor.

Busekrus hopes the weekend away will help the men gain a better idea of “what it means as Christians to remember the death of Christ in a way that it continually affects them.”

“We are hoping for a few things,” Busekrus said. “One, that guys will come away from this weekend refreshed and focused. Two, that guys will leave this weekend knowing how best to remember the Gospel in a way that legitimately changes their daily lives.”