This year’s Men’s Retreat, with the theme “Building with God,” drew a total attendance of 411 men, both Spanish and English speakers. Participants spanned various durations of stay, with some arriving for the entire weekend, which encompassed Friday afternoon through Sunday morning, while others joined solely for Sabbath or arrived early to prepare for the event. Accommodations varied as well, as some chose to camp in the midst of nature while others opted for cabin lodging. Regardless of their preferences, all attendees found themselves enriched by a diverse array of offerings, including music, seminars, nourishing meals, camaraderie, and favorable weather conditions.
The English-speaking segment of the retreat featured Marty Miller as the keynote speaker. Hailing from the Chattanooga, Tenn., area, Miller is the driving force behind Blueprint for Men, a ministry devoted to the pursuit of “building better men.” During his sessions, Miller skillfully guided the men in forging a deeper connection with Jesus through personal devotions. Furthermore, he provided valuable tools for enhancing their lives by following the example set by Jesus, who serves as the ultimate Blueprint for Men. The retreat agenda encompassed periods of collective prayer, relaxation, bonding, learning, growth, praise, sharing, and recreation, ensuring a full and enriching experience for all attendees.
Under the steadfast leadership of Tony LaPorte, pastor, these retreats have consistently delivered unique and meaningful experiences. This year, Chana Gentry, LaPorte’s newly appointed secretary, contributed significantly to the event’s success by efficiently managing attendee registrations and ensuring that all necessities were readily available, thus enriching the annual retreat experience.
The musical dimension of the retreat was skillfully orchestrated by the praise team, primarily comprising members from the Charleston, S.C., Church. Their devotion and preparedness shone through as they facilitated a deeper connection with Jesus through music. The theme song for this year, “Builder of Men,” gifted to the event by Tag Garmon, a gentleman from Tennessee, played a central role in setting the spiritual tone. Although Garmon couldn’t attend the retreat in person, his presence resonated through the heartfelt rendition of the song by the praise team. His inspiring testimony can be accessed through the Blueprint for Men podcast, further enhancing the retreat’s spiritual depth.
Ralph Henderson, pastor from the Kernersville, N.C., Church, contributed a special musical performance with his guitar and captivating voice, showcasing his years of musical expertise. Rick Faber, camp director, as always, went above and beyond to ensure that the retreat was a comfortable and enjoyable experience for all attendees.
Looking ahead, plans are already in motion for next year’s retreat. All are encouraged to mark their calendars for September 2024, and join the event at Nosoca Pines. If anyone has not yet experienced the beauty of Nosoca Pines, now is the perfect opportunity to explore it. Those who have yet to attend a men’s retreat are missing out on a profound and transformative experience. It offers an invaluable opportunity to take a break, rejuvenate, and connect with men from across the Carolina Conference. Equipping themselves with the right resources through this retreat empowers each to become the man that God has called him to be, effectively leading his communities and churches.
Carolina | February 2024