`48° 10' 1" N by 122° 40' 49" W <http://maps.google.com/maps?q=48.167051N122.680367W&t=h>`__
My dear friends at Ark fellowship in Seattle, from my home church there, ECC, graciously invited me down for the weekend to speak at their retreat! Ark fellowship is a bilingual (sometimes tri-lingual) young career / couples group renown for their close bonding and incredible food! There are folks from all over -- Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines -- but they find unity in Christ as they travel through life together. Hence feeling like they're on Noah's Ark! :)
The retreat was held at cozy Camp Casey on beautiful Whidbey Island, surrounded by water and greenery. The snow-capped Olympic Mountains lie just across the water, and in the early morning, the sunrise lights them aflame. In early April, it's still fairly cold and windy, but thankfully it didn't really rain this weekend!
We had a wonderful time together; the size was just perfect, so that we all could fit into two cabins, and even during the free time, most of us stuck together in one big group. The food was just amazing, better than I usually eat at home! We had a full layout of rice porridge for breakfasts, two- and three-course meals, and the last evening we even had hotpot, with four butane burners! That banner you see in the photo is filled with messages of encouragement we all wrote to one another; we had a "Secret Santa" kind of thing, called "小天使" -- Little Angel!
Our retreat theme was a "Dog in Sheep's Clothing" -- ah, it's a long story.... Anyway, the challenge was to grow as a fellowship -- "stuck together" (thinking, yoke, training, serving), and living the "CHIME" (come close to God, hold fast the profession, impact one another, meet together, encourage). On the last night, we even commemorated Holy Communion together -- that was special; it was the first time I've led communion for others!
The retreat came to a close too quickly, but the relationships built up in Christ will last forever! 'Til next time!