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Oregon Young Adults and Big Lake Staff Enjoy Winter Retreat

Oregon Young Adults and Big Lake Staff Enjoy Winter Retreat

During the winter months, Big Lake Youth Camp in Sisters, Ore., is transformed into a winter wonderland by several feet of snow. With the lake frozen over and the road to camp buried beneath the snow, it’s this time of year when young adults and former and current Big Lake staff spend a weekend sledding, skiing, snowmobiling, and spending hours in front of a warm fire at the annual Oregon Young Adults and Big Lake Staff Retreat.

Due to Big Lake’s central location in Oregon, this retreat is one of the most important opportunities for young adults to connect and meet Adventist peers from other areas of the Oregon Conference for personal growth, social activities, and worship. Benjamin Lundquist, the Oregon Conference young adult director, said, “This retreat has been going on for about the last six years. Its purpose is to encourage and connect young adults from around the Pacific Northwest for spiritual and practical life encouragement. There’s also an underlying purpose of better connecting Big Lake staff with the broader young adult community, so that when they finish working at Big Lake as staff, we hope that they will have a lot deeper connections with their peers. The Oregon young adult community isn’t just a summer camp thing, it’s a long-term connection with churches, ministries, and community across the Oregon Conference.”

“Our theme this year was faithfulness,” shared Lundquist, “Aside from the fun activities we had planned, we also had four general sessions to discuss faithfulness to God, stewarding our identity in Christ, being faithful to the dreams God lays on our hearts, and how to be faithful to people God has put in our lives.”

If you’ve been following some of the new developments in the Oregon Conference Youth Department, you may recognize the name of one of this year’s retreat speakers, Jason Calvert, who has been spearheading a new succession of area events and training opportunities for high school students since joining us as the new associate youth director. Together, the youth and young adult departments are continually working on new ways to create a seamless transition for Adventist young people to find meaningful communities as they go through high school, college, or whatever is next for their early steps into adulthood. “We recognize that if we as a church don’t engage somebody during their high school years, the chance of them being engaged long-term can be slim,” shared Lundquist, “With Oregon Young Adults, our purpose is really about building a culture of empowerment and collaboration. We don’t do ministry for young adults; we do ministry side by side with them as equal co-leaders called by God just like we are. We’re really not about raising spectators. We’re about raising contributors who can really use the gifts God has given them whether that’s at church, in the workplace, or on university campuses. So, I think there’s this really beautiful dovetailing from the youth engagement culture to the empowerment culture of our young adult community in Oregon. Ultimately, we want to help set people up to be lifelong followers of Jesus and lifelong contributors to being the church in action with the gifts, abilities, and wiring God has given each and all of our young adults.”

Whether at an event like the winter retreat or at others throughout the year like nights of worship, leadership training events, or young adults at camp meeting, Oregon Young Adults is a department that reaches beyond the Oregon Conference, folding in worship leaders, speakers, and creatives from other areas and connecting them with the community here. “Part of the vision I’ve had for Oregon Young Adults is we don’t just bless and empower our young adult community in Oregon, but that we use our platform of influence nationally and globally, too. We want to help launch and support other young leaders and build long term relationships with them and celebrate them wherever they are. We take hospitality seriously when we work with someone from out of town, and we want anyone who comes here to be treated with respect and generosity.”

Princess Demiar, a worship leader from Southern California, was one of this year’s out of town guest leaders. This visit was her first to the state of Oregon, and she shared the following reflections on the winter retreat: “This past weekend was a great reminder of God’s faithfulness. It’s important that we stay faithful and true to the Word of God so that we can know that our confidence comes from an identity that’s rooted in something unshakeable. It was a reminder that we can fully rest in His promises.” She went on to share, “Even though it was freezing I was just in awe of God’s handwriting in everything I saw. I’ve never seen so much snow and this was my first time in Oregon. I wish I was there a little bit longer to explore it more!”

To find out about upcoming young adult events like this one, follow Oregon Young Adults at @oregonyoungadults on Facebook and Instagram. You can follow worship leader Princess Demiar on Instagram and YouTube at @princessdemiar.

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