Monday, June 9, 2008

Kingsfield Church Staff Retreat

Finally, finally, finally...I have time to blog.

A couple weekends ago, the Kingsfield Church Staff (this includes me now), went on a retreat to Lake Arrowhead. I was so excited to go, considering that I really wanted a chance to connect with everyone that I will be working with. Fortunately, we were able to go during the second half of my first week on the new job, which was nice considering the fact that I cried during my first hour of work on Tuesday. I tried my best to explain through the tears (and a laugh) that I wasn't crying because I was sad to be working there, but just overwhelmed with the fact that I wasn't going to be returning to Biola, while also with remembering how faithful God has been to me in the journey that He has brought me through so far.

Our journey started on Thursday morning where we all settled in Redlands (typical) for some Chipotle, Starbucks, and Trader Joes time. Some highlights: The two men with guns, Jono giving his food away to the sketchy "homeless" guy, and Mark finally giving in and buying those potato chips (which were very good by the way).

Off we went to the mountain, where I proceeded to become "car nauseous", and had to pull over so I could sit in the front. Why do I always forget my car sickness medicine?! We pulled up to the glorious house we were staying in, thanks to a wonderful couple that attends our church. This house is amazing. You might remember that I stayed here over the New Years Weekend. This house comes fully equipped with 4 bedrooms (though the singles - Chris and I, slept on seperate...rooms...don't worry), a family room, a living room, a dining room, kitchen, gym, sauna, steam room, hot tub, putting green, fire pit, pool table, ping pong table, the series of "Left Behind", and a sweet boat with lots of fishing poles. Basically, when you stay here, you never have to leave because there is just endless entertainment. Oh, and did I mention that the house is right on the lake? Yah, pretty sweet.

My bed

Chris R's bed


This is where you can find Tatum

We spent our first day unwinding, and just hanging out. We took the boat out and did a little fishing, though we didn't catch anything. It was so much fun because I don't even remember the last time I went fishing...I was determined to catch something. We cooked up some good food (the Norman's classic), of chicken, tri-tip, mashed potatoes, salad, fruit, and Tatum's famous bread.

We continued the night with a time of worship in song, and prayer. This went on for awhile, and it was so awesome to see how the Lord was molding all of our hearts together to the same themes: God's faithfulness, and His glory. I was pretty stuck on God's glory that night (well I have been all semester). My heart desires for every step that I take to be glorifying to God...and yet, it can be so hard sometimes. But God is so faithful, and He has been so faithful to me, which just does a full circle always pointing back to Him, giving Him the glory for what He has done through my life...and through our church. During that time of worship, I felt such peace, such comfort. I kept meditating on what it would be like to finally be with the Lord forever once my life on earth is over, and this meditation time gave me motivation to want to share the gospel with those who don't know Christ, so they too could spend eternity with the Lord, who loves them so much.

We ended this time together at about 10:45pm, where I decided that I was just going to run downstairs and watch the last 15-minutes of the LOST finale. Everyone thought I was crazy, but it was tooootally worth it. Especially because the last 15-minutes was the best part of the whole season finale. After that, we just hung out a little more, and I tried to finish reading "The Shack", which I think I am just going to give up on. My conclusion - everyone is making way too big of a deal about it. "Fooor meee", it's just weak theology, and this equals BORING! But for some people, maybe dealing with tragedies, I could see how it would give them some comfort. And if this is the case, then I support that (though I would always recommend that people seek comfort in the Word of God!).

I woke up the next morning (refreshed, because I actually do love sleeping on couches) excited for what the day would bring. Simone made us some fabulous crepes...seriously, yum! And we were on our way to boat! This is always my favorite part...I absolutely love going to town, pulling up in a boat, and parking. We are so used to getting everywhere by car (or lately, by bike), but never a boat.

We went to a little pizza/sub place and enjoyed some wonderful food, with wonderful people, in wonderful weather. The highlight of lunch (and probably the highlight of my weekend) was having the opportunity to learn so much about Frank and Lela's time in Spain. Before they came to Kingsfield, they were missionaries in Spain for about a year. It was interesting to see how God used them there for only a year, though they were planning on being "lifers". It made my heart desperate to share the gospel as I learned that so few people know Jesus Christ in Spain...but even worse - the people in Spain are just not open to organized religion at all (due to the Catholic church leaving a bad taste in their mouth - see Spain's history for more information on that). Frank and Lela are two of the most legit people I have ever known. They are great to look too when it comes to marriage and raising a family, and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside them during this time.

After lunch we headed back to the house where Frank and Lela then drove back into town so he could download the episode of LOST (is it strange that Frank and I are both completely obsessed with the same things - LOST, and blogging??) and Lela could buy new shoes, everyone else took "naps", while Tatum and I spent all afternoon trying to catch a fish, to no avail.

That night, Brenda cooked us up some of her famous, amazing, spaghetti, and we all sat around the table laughing, and enjoying each other's company. Highlight of the dinner - discovering that Jono can ALWAYS out-do your story, no matter what it is.

We then gathered into the living room where we met once again, and just talked about where the church is going. At this point, our theme of the weekend came full circle when we just realized how we constantly need to rely on God for everything, because we can't do anything in our own strength or power. At the next staff retreat, we will have some amazing stories of God's faithfulness (which will be interesting to see what they are), and in the end, the stories will bring glory to His name.

Then finally, the moment I have been waiting for for months - GAME TIME.

Apparently, the boys have been just KILLING the girls in all the games at every staff function. Well, I have been threatening Frank (fellow-blogger) for months that when I come on staff, the girls are going to win. Here is my logic: (1) I am a pretty good player at guesstures and catch phrase (especially catch phrase); (2) Tatum and I have a lot of inside stories/information, and that helps tremendously when playing these games; (3) I can spell dessert.

Anyway, it just so happened that Jono and Simone forgot all the games! But don't worry, if this house has a fully equipped gym, I would think they would have games...and they did. Now, our options were limited. Jono, Chris R., and I wanted to take a stab at something new - "Win, Lose, or Draw" (do you remember that game?!!!), but no one else wanted too. They all wanted to stick with what they always did - Guesstures (because there was no catchphrase). One problem though - the edition of Guesstures was old, and there were many new rules attached to this edition, but everyone was up to the challenge.

On the boys side, we had:


(husband of Simone and youth director, fathers a little cat names Pico, was attacked by a bear and a shark, winner of "Pimp My Ride", a free wedding, and probably a million other things...basically, the Knepper's are the luckiest people alive.)


(husband of Lela, and father of 3 beautiful children, while tackling men's ministry, home fellowships, and counseling ministry, and practicing his jokes out on the congregation...oh, and he cannot swim, and he is serious, he can't)

Chris R.

(Professional bicyclist, worship director, and creator of all things beautiful that consists of a flyer or logo of any sort...oh, and did I mention that he is pretty handy, and has saved me lots of money that I should have given the apple store)


(Husband of Brenda, ruler of all things donuts and coffee on Sunday mornings, father of 3 beautiful children and grandfather of 2 of the cutest grand babies ever, driver of the oldest van I have ever seen which is still running even though I almost broke it driving in "drive" all the way down a mountain)

Chris N

(Our senior pastor, husband of Tatum, father of 3 beautiful children, new blogger, fixer of all things that go wrong with the staff's cars, and lover of the weirdest combinations of flavors at yogurtland)

And on the ladies side, we have:


(Wife of Frank, mother of 3 beautiful children, famous lyricist of such notable tunes such as "Let Me Cling," "I Believe" and "Worthy To Be Praised", wonderful vocal addition to Sunday mornings and women studies on Fridays, and a mighty women of the Lord whom baked from scratch with no air conditioning in Spain for a year)


(A native of South Africa, wife of Jono, voice of the church, youth director, lover of guesstures, writer of winning essay from "Pimp my Ride", had the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen, mother of Pico)


(Children's Ministry Director Extraordinaire, mother of 3 beautiful children and grandmother of 2 little ones, loves singing along to Elvis' Jail House Rock, makes a mean pot of spaghetti, and pretty much got saved in a bookstore...where I like to witness)


(Wife of Chris N., director of women's ministry, mother of 3 beautiful children, famous for her bread making abilities, fellow-blogger for less than a week and chai lover)

The game was a rollin', and you betcha, the women were on a ROLL! We burned through game 1, beating the boys so badly they could barely stand for the second round. Maybe we should have stopped at game 1, but we took the chance and decided to play the best out of three games. On to game 2 it was tense. The boys were majorly ahead of us when we made a huge comeback at the end of the final round. Luckily, I got some of this on video...

Here is's pretty dark, but still funny nonetheless:

And then a classic - Chris R. was picking out his cards and he was getting really pumped up that he had some funny cards, so I whipped out my camera to make sure to get this on video (for the sake of Frank and I's blogs) was a good thing I did:

Just in case you couldn't understand (or see) anything...he was trying to describe "quadruplets"...classic.

In the end, the ladies won, just as I had predicted. And we will continue to win throughout the rest of history. The ladies have traded some people around, and have recruited the "Kobe" and "Shaq" (Brenda and I)...fella's you are going down from now on...

Ladies = #1!

The boys are sore losers...

Now, to be fair, I will let you read this story from a boy's perspective. Click here to read Frank's view of the story...

All in all, the staff retreat was amazing, and I really wish we could do them more often. Everyone is amazing, and I am so blessed to have the opportunity to grow in my relationship with Christ with their support, encouragement, and love.

This post took me so many hours...


Camyron Lee said...

This post is WELL worth the hours you put in to make in AMAZING! I now #1: want to be on staff #2: am looking forward to the high school leaders retreat #3:really want to play guestures AGAIN w/all of you!

It's pretty amazing. I dare say inspiring!

Anonymous said...

Nice post for sure.

Next time you are in Redlands, you better call me and I will come stop in and say hi wherever you are!!!!

Love Jessie

Bethany Pee said...

Hahahah so amazing.

(maritza) said...

i love the last picture - jono sticking out his tongue. totally how he feels everytime the boys lose... hahahahha so good