Holiness Tabernacle Church First Men’s Retreat Jun 1-3, 2012
by Deacon Jeff Howard
The men’s retreat took place at the Camp Meade RV Park in Maryland. The first day initially appeared to be a precarious nightmare as we departed HTC in our two church vans and drove through torrential downpours of rain and tornado watches. The traffic was absolutely horrible on a typical Friday afternoon in the District. However, the delay may have been a great blessing in disguise because when we arrived, we noticed trees were blown down onto the roads and police and emergency vehicles were everywhere. It was too late and too dark to grill the meat we brought, so we had hungry and tired men – as well as three hungry and tired teenagers – wondering what we were going to eat. No problem! Pastor Pruitte came to the rescue and went on a food run to feed the troops. That’s when the night began to take a turn for the better.
As the bellies were filled, we all begin to look for fun activities to do. The teens discovered a game room lounge located in the middle of the campgrounds. One of the brothers brought a deck of cards and the Spades tournaments were on. Pastor Pruitte and Elder Green competed against Deacons Rowe and Howard in a very intense battle. However, it was Pastor’s team for the win with a two out of three games victory. After a night of fellowship and fun, it was finally time to go to bed.
Day two finally came and it was a complete contrast to our first night, as far as the weather was concerned. We woke up to a bright blue, sunny sky hovering over us and comfortable temperatures. The teenagers led prayer and then each teen expounded on Psalm 1. Afterwards, a breakfast crew consisting of Pastor Pruitte, Deacon Rowe, and Bro. Abney fired-up the grills and griddles and cooked a breakfast that would put a restaurant out of business. They fed us bacon and scrambled eggs, with pancakes and orange juice on the side.
After a few hours of relaxation, four of the men gave very informative presentations to the group. Deacon Howard began with a discussion on living as single men. Using 1 Cor 7:8-9 and 7:27-28, some of the key points he mentioned were that single men should stay busy in the church and seek God if they desire to be married. Additionally, single men should also abstain from things that may spark the lust of the flesh. Deacon Rowe was the next presenter. He spoke on appearances and said that men should always be neatly dressed, especially in the church. He talked about keeping our hair cut and explained the proper way to wear the necktie. Next, Brother Benjamin gave his presentation to the teens about living single. He stressed the importance of avoiding distractions in order to finish school and implored them to get their education. However, he also pleaded to the fathers to spend quality time with their sons, especially at this critical stage in their lives. The final presentation, given by Elder Green, was about living the married life. The most important point he discussed was that after the courting has been done with your potential wife, keep doing the same things in the marriage; such as holding doors open for her, taking her out for dinner, and showing love and affection towards her even after the wedding day.
After presentations, it was back to doing one of the things that our Men’s Department does best – have fun! The teens challenged the older men to a basketball game. Of course the men easily triumphed in victory! However, a couple of them paid the price with aches, pains, and soreness. Meanwhile, other men stayed back at the camp to enjoy hotdogs and beans from the grill, continue Spades tournaments, and relax on nature walks. As the evening rolled in, it was time to eat again! We all had cold-sandwiches, chips and soft drinks. But the “kicker” was the dessert! Bro. De La Cruz gave a lesson on how to make smore sandwiches. He explained how to roast the marshmallows, place them between two graham crackers along with melted chocolate bars, and eat it slowly so that it melts in your mouth. Yummy! By then it was now night time and we all had to hit the sack a little early for the drive back to the church.
Overall the first men’s retreat was a great success. We all had the opportunity to take a needed break and get away from the hustle and bustle of our jobs, school, and family life. We spent time bonding in fellowship along with edifying and encouraging one another, or just offering a listening ear. We were also able to take a moment to mentor the teenagers. A trip that began with much frustration, ended in refreshment to our souls and a desire to have another retreat in the near future.