Are you in need of a “Spiritual Tune-up?” This was the theme of the 2022 Men’s Ministries Retreat at Nosoca Pines Ranch in Liberty Hill, S.C., on the weekend of September 23-25, 2022. This retreat has set new records for men’s retreat in the Carolina Conference, totaling 375 men between the English (80) and Spanish (294) men’s meetings. What a year for this to happen! As the cherry on top, they could not have asked for better weather, and the men were eager to get outside and enjoy this gift from God.
While each group of men meet separately — Hispanic meeting in the gym and English meeting in the cafeteria — all of them ate together and participated in camp activities like boat rides, canoes, paddle boards, hayrides, and even campfires with s’mores together.
In the gym, the Hispanic men sat entranced by the message that was being presented to them by their weekend speaker and the Hispanic ministries director, Ricardo Palacios. These men were taking notes, sitting on the edge of their seats, following along in their Bibles, and livestreaming to their Facebook accounts via mobile phones.
While Palacios was on fire in the gym, so was the guest speaker for the English meetings, Rick Mercer, ministerial director for the Oklahoma Conference and former Carolina Conference pastor. Mercer wove his personal testimony masterfully throughout his presentations, and fit nicely in line with their other guest speaker, Carlton Alexander’s testimony.
At some of the meetings the men were seated around tables, and periodically were instructed to discuss certain topics or provoking questions amongst those at their table.
All the men were saddened to find out from Tony LaPorte, Carolina Conference men’s ministries director, that this would be the last men’s retreat for his secretary, Jayme Rouse. LaPorte invited her up to present her with a gift from him and his area leaders to express their thanks for all that she has done for the retreats over the years. He then invited Mercer to offer a prayer of blessing over her and her family. Later that afternoon, when the men gathered to take their annual group photo, the men insisted that Rouse be in the photo with them. Several of the men lined up to make sure they could express their gratitude and appreciation to her for all she’d done for them personally, and a few to make sure they got a hug.
Carolina | December 2022