Wednesday, November 9, 2016
My name is Caitlin Williams. I’d like to tell you a bit about myself before talking about the wonderful retreat I went on last weekend! I am a freshman nursing major with a minor in intercultural studies. I am a member of the Leaders Scholars Institute, and I am a campus ambassador. I live in Mayfield with hundreds of lovely ladies, and I have so enjoyed the community and growth that has been a part of life in the dorm.
LSI has been a huge part of my first semester as a college student. It is a four year program that teaches students about leadership in God’s Kingdom and equips them to develop their unique leadership skills before graduating and taking that leadership out into the world. There are 37 freshmen who are a part of the program, and I am so grateful to have been chosen to be a member! This past weekend the LSI freshmen went on a lovely 24 hour retreat. We drove out to Camp Egan in Tahlequah, OK and began an incredibly refreshing and encouraging weekend. We were fed with incredible food, given time for fellowship, and challenged to think about leadership in a new way. We spent time in discussion groups, learning more about each other and deepening friendships. We spent time around the fire talking and roasting s’mores. We stayed up late playing games and being silly. It was a time of absolute freedom to be who we are, ask the tough questions, be vulnerable, open up, and have fun. We also presented our Leadership Lab projects that we have been working on for the past month. Hard work and passion was poured into our projects, and it was incredible to hear what other students had learned about leadership through their own study, just as I had learned new things through mine. There were also a few sessions over the weekend, hosted by the LSI directors. All the sessions were challenging, interesting, and encouraging. The first session challenged us to surrender to God as leaders. We talked about how we need to trust God to work through the big events in our lives, and also learn to listen to His interruptions in our daily lives. I was personally challenged by this session. I can easily get caught up in my to-do list, but I am now striving to make room for God to work in and through me on a daily basis. The next set of sessions was set up to help us explore the dynamic of our generation. We discussed the views that the world has on our generation and talked about what values we might want to change. These sessions were so important because we are going to be leading our own generation, so we need to know how to do that effectively.
Overall, the thing I took away from this weekend retreat was hope. Lately, I have been incredibly discouraged about the state of the world. I felt like even if I played the part God has for me, it wouldn’t be enough to mend the brokenness all around me. This weekend gave me a new outlook. I was refreshed by the perspectives of my classmates, and I realized that I am not fighting the brokenness alone, but with all of my fellow leaders by my side. God is using each of us in a unique way to spread His glory and begin to fix what is so awfully distorted by sin, fear, and lies. This time away from campus that I spent digging in to leadership and fellowship was much needed. We are not in the fight alone; we are united in Christ and are working together to accomplish His purposes.