Esther – 2017 Girls Retreat

 In Events, Newsletter

Two years ago I attended a women’s retreat in Ligon Hall. It was then that I met the wonderful and talented, Lily Asaad. She led worship at the retreat and I thought to myself that I would have loved the guidance and encouragement of someone close enough to my age to connect, but also old enough to help me get through the transition to middle school. Through the help of my family, the staff of Carmel, many dedicated members of the congregation, and of course, Lily, I was able to put together the first Carmel Girls Retreat. I like to say that last year was a bit of a test runbecause it was a new idea and I wasnt sure how the girls would respond to it. Thankfully, it was enough of a success to continue the idea into this year.

The retreat consisted of a lovely welcome dinner cooked by Ms. Jean Blythe and Ms. Priscilla Perkins, followed by an activity, (This year it was a scavenger hunt that led to a surprise at Ben and Jerrys), a 45 minute lesson, worship and prayer time each day, ending with a parent lunch the following afternoon. Both years I have asked my cousin, Larissa, to come and speak. She is a certified childrens pastor in Rocky Mount, NC and is head of district for kids ministry. This year we talked about Esther and how even though Gods name might not be mentioned in her story, he is evident and consistent through her actions.  We also spent time on the subject that we are created in Gods image and the daughters of the king, therefore making us the heir to everything he created.

The girls were encouraged to bring a friend along and most of them did. They also made friends very quickly with those they didnt know. Larissa even brought some of the girls from her church along and friendships were formed almost instantly.

There was quite a positive response to the scavenger hunt as well, they were on two teams with people they didnt really know and I think that is what encouraged them to work together and win. One of the girls, Miss Ashton Gray, even described it as being The most epic scavenger hunt Ive ever been on!. I cant say thats what I was exactly going for, but Im glad they had fun. They even put away their com plaints about the humidity and mosquitoes when they heard the word competition. I cant say the same for the leaders of their teams, but in the end, the ice cream was all worth it!

I also felt that the spiritual aspect of the retreat was quite evident and refreshing! Karis Lee and Lily Asaad led worship on Ukulele and Guitar.  We asked the girls at the beginning who had heard the story of Esther before

and out of 12 that attend ed, only 3 recognized the name. I am so glad we were able to empower them with her story and also encourage them that God has a story and a plan worked out for them too. I feel that the weekend was such a big success and it is my hope and plan to continue with this idea. Thank you for everyones support and for all who made this possible!