Campus Ministry sponsers the Encounter retreat where students spend time developing their relationship with God
By Kimo Camat, Guest Commentary
My encounter experience began four years ago at my high school in Beaverton. At my high school, the juniors would embark on a trip with a number of classmates to a retreat center to bond with one another. After a number of talks from upperclassmen and some sharing of extremely personal subjects, we were able to come together as a group of individuals of Christ.
Coming to UP, I was afraid that I would lose experiences like these that helped me understand who I am today. My sophomore year on campus I got a knock on my door in Villa from one recent graduate, Zack Imfeld. He asked (more like forced) me to sign the application for the retreat and promised me that it would be different from anything I have ever experienced. And man was Zack correct.
Fast forward two years later I find myself leading as Coordinator alongside Mr. Sean Ducey. Sean and I have worked on four retreats together and complement each other's styles of leadership, making us a dangerous duo. I choose to do these retreats over and over again because it reminds me where I come from and what God is calling me to do. The encounters both at my high school and here at UP helped me participate more fully in my faith and even got me to branch out to other Campus Ministry events. The Encounter with Christ retreat is important on campus because it entails a much needed rest and an inward reflection of the college student's faith life. With the stress of school work, projects, jobs, roommates and lack of sleep, the retreat offers the retreatants a chance to slow down and examine their past selves and where they are heading.
At 4:30pm on Friday, September 21st, our Encounter With Christ retreat began. Thirty-four retreatants were greeted by the Encounter team with nametags, hugs, and a whole lot of singing. For those of you who do not know, the Encounter with Christ is a retreat that takes place once every semester. However, this semester Campus Ministry wanted to try two retreats during the fall due to the number of applicants. This retreat is designed to explore our faith and reflect on the journey that God has set us on. What does it mean to be called men and women of God? On this retreat the applicants and team experience various talks from peers, small group time, and time to bond with one another. This September the retreatants took a break from their hectic college schedules to relax and bask in the love all around them. Sadly this past September's retreat marked my eighth and last Encounter at UP, but it was hands down the best retreat I have ever been on. I could not have asked for a more loving and supporting team and group of retreatants to work with. As I continue my senior year and look to graduate school, I will always cherish my Encounter Family here at UP.
The next Encounter with Christ retreat is in October followed by a third Encounter later in the Spring. The Encounter Family urges you to apply to this wonderful experience. Ask anyone who has gone on it and they will tell you fantastic things regarding the retreat. Plus, the cookies are awesome!
Kimo Camat is a senior drama major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.