Here’s a summary of the ICFB spring retreat of 2019. This retreat was special for many reasons. First, it seemed like it might not be possible for this retreat to happen. There are so many things to organize, so many things that needed to work out. Yet God, again, proved to be an expert on making ways where there seems to be no way. Second, the travelling, both there and back, was quite adventurous! Third, the hike the same way. It was the first time we went on a hike without a plan, or even a map. We just started walking in a randomly picked direction, and 11 kilometers later, we got back somehow. One person that attended said: “This year’s retreat was so special for many reasons. The rain did not stop us from embarking on a 5-hour hike that would have us slipping and sliding. But this hike reminded us that, just like life, challenging things are better done in community and with friends.”

The jolly group on the rainy hike The jolly group on the rainy hike

During the hike we got to a point we thought was the highest. And then we looked around and saw we were wrong. That reminded us that in our journey in life and as Christians, when we achieve a goal or get to a height, we think that that’s the highest and we can’t go further. But as we continue with our journey, we encounter another peak higher than the one before, and realise that there are more heights that still can be reached. This retreat’s topic was friendship. During the hike, we shared some quotes on friendship.

  • A friend is like a bra, that lifts you up, supports you, and is comfortable.
  • A friend is a potential enemy that knows all your secrets and weaknesses.
  • Friendship means I don’t have to hold my tummy in.

Snippets from our Saturday evening discussion.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Galatians 1.10 (NIV)

  • How important is being accepted to you?
  • As humans, why do we sacrifice so much for acceptance?
  • How important is acceptance in the grand scheme of things?
  • Things that you have done to be accepted.
  • What makes a good friend? attributes we shared: vulnerable, honest, loyal/committed, has a good sense of humor, is able to apologize, take responsibility, express love, in their company you feel safe to be yourself
  • Who are you true friends?

Snippets from our Sunday morning discussion.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit –fruit that will last– and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.” John 15.13-17 (NIV)

  • Do you have a friend who is just similar to you? Or a friend you chose?
  • We should have 3 types of friends: one that mentors you, one that you mentor, and one that fights alongside of you “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18.24 (NIV) “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.” Proverbs 17.17 (NIV)

We also talked about defining relationships, friendship. We all have friendships of different levels of commitment. Defining where we stand might be scary and awkward, but also very beneficial. If the other person doesn’t see the friendship at the same level as you do, then it saves time, energy we would pour into it, and saves you from the pain of unmet expectations. And also, if it turns out that you both see the friendship as one you want to pour more into, defining the friendship just furthers growth.

All in all, this retreat worked out well and was a lot of fun. We are thankful for how God blessed us in this. It was great to talk about friendship, but it was even better to actually do it:) We hope you will join next time (in Autumn)!