Fall break is over and now the entire campus is back to work. As I said in my last post I spent my Fall break on a service trip at Youth Development Inc., a youth camp and retreat center, in Headwaters, Virginia. My experiences there were some of the best experiences I had ever had. The trip was absolutely amazing! I went with five other Messiah students on this trip. Before leaving none of us knew each other, but by the end of the trip it was as if we had known each other forever. The group of us also immediately became close to the YDI staff as well.

After leaving Messiah around 12:45 on Thursday, we arrived at YDI around 5:00. The trip there was about 4 hours consisting of I-81 and then winding mountainous back roads until we arrived at Cow Pasture Road and the Headwaters Lodge. That night they allowed time for us to just explore the lodge and relax before being put to work. The group of us then went for a hike and then on a 4-wheel drive excursion to the top of a mountain that overlooked the Alleghenies. The view from the top of the mountain was astounding. It was amazing to look out over the tree covered hills colored with fall and realize how great our God is and how amazing his creation truly is. Then we traveled back down to the lodge for dinner, ping pong, and Apples to Apples.

Friday, we woke up had breakfast a time of devotionals and went to work. Our group was split up with the YDI staff and went outside to either stain two bunk houses or clear brush. I went up with two YDI staff members and three others from our Messiah group to stain the bunk houses. After a few set backs with the stain, we were able to completely stain both houses before lunch. Once lunch was cleaned up and all of the kitchen work was done, we went back outside to finish clearing up the brush. Despite the threat of rain, we were also able to finish with the brush before getting rained on; however, we then decided to go play volleyball in the field where it immediately started raining and then pouring. We were able to get a good game played in the pouring rain.

That night a youth group came for their fall retreat. The rest of the weekend was dedicated to helping with their retreat. We went to devotionals every morning and evening. We played games with them. We served them their meals and helped in the kitchen and dishroom. During the day on Saturday, we also we able to participate in many of the activities with them including a rock wall, the high ropes course and zip line, building a house out of index cards, and a whipped cream drop.

On  Sunday we had to leave and come back to school.  We didn’t leave before going to church with a large group of the YDI staff though. After church, we continued our way through four states back to Messiah. It was so hard to come back. After a weekend of no cell service, laptops, etc. etc., I was really reluctant to come back to the real world. It was surprisingly refreshing to escape the pressures of the world and run into the woods. It was also especially hard to walk away from the five amazing people that I had become so close to. Spending four straight days with them it was hard to realize that I wasn’t likely to see them everyday from now on. I know that we will remain friends and get together every once in a while, but its just not the same as the close knit family we had become over our time at YDI. Now that I am back at Messiah and have a couple of days back over with, I am almost reaquainted to the world I left behind last week. I will never forget my weekend though and will probably always have a small part of me that wants to go back to last weekend and escape back into Virginia and the woods.