This was our second year to attend the annual GLOW retreat. GLOW is a christian mother-daughter overnight retreat for girls in the 1-6 grade to encourage them to be involved in missions. Each year the theme revolves around a different mission field (they alternate each year between home missions and foreign missions). Last year we went to Hawaii, this year it was Ecuador. They also have the children participate in a mission project by bringing something to provide for a mission focus.
The first night began with a mixer. Everyone met in one place and they had different activities going on. The first thing Gess jumped into was learning some dances from Ecuador. They had music going and showed the girls how to dance. They offered them shawls to use. Here is Gess sporting hers.
They had to move and sway the shawl to the music as they moved together in a circle and sometimes in rows opposite each other. Then they would form a circle and every other girl would kneel while the rest danced around them. Here is Gess kneeling.
Another activity was preparing their mission project. Each child was supposed to bring a new stuffed animal to be donated to police stations and hospitals for them to distribute to children. Since Gess has been on the receiving end of stuffed animals in a stressful hospital situation, we know what a blessing that simple gift can be to a child going through a stressful illness or event. So, the kids brought in their animals and made cards to attach to them. They were encouraged to put a bible verse or short message of God's love on them. Gess wrote Jesus Loves You on hers.
After the mixer it was off to the bunkhouse for evening devotionals and bed. The next morning started with a morning devotional in the room followed by breakfast in the cafeteria. Gess loves eating in cafeterias! After that the day began. We started with worship. We were one of the first ones there (yep, I am always early).
The worship band was really good and no member of the band was over the age of 16! After the worship service we broke up into workshops. The Bible study was based upon our theme verse. We talked about what treasures were and which treasures we should be storing up.
We also went to a craft session where they made treasure boxes to put their treasures in. This helped them focus on the theme verse and think about what kinds of treasures are important to keep. Gess has chosen to keep pictures she draws and colors in her box.
Then we had a session where we heard from a missionary who had actually served in Ecuador. We learned a lot about the country and the area. One fun fact was that it is literally on the equator. Because of that they can go and see water swirling down a drain in two different directions a few feet from each other and water poured down a drain right on the equator didn't swirl at all, it went straight down. They could also make an egg stand up on it's end and not walk a straight line because they were being pulled from each side. Another fun, but rather disgusting fact was what they ate their. One of their delicacies is fried guinea pig!! I think this looks gross but my husband thinks it looks delicious! Here is a pic I grabbed off of Wikipedia, you check it out and judge for yourself!
Then we went to lunch in the cafeteria before our final worship session and dismissal. On the way to the cafeteria and dorm room there are a couple of tree stumps that are carved into animal shapes. Gess cracked me up because every time she passed one she said, "That's an idol! I don't worship idols I only worship God!" Well, I guess we taught her something right, though I don't recall really drilling that into her head! Oh well at least she didn't mind having her picture taken with an "idol."
We were really blessed by the event and had a great time. I appreciate the ladies who take so much time and effort into putting this on every year. We certainly will be making plans to attend next year (Lord willing that we can of course)!