Last week, the men in our New Life Ministry addiction recovery program at The Harbor embarked on a first-ever, four-day retreat into the wilderness of Central Oregon. For many of the men, this was their first opportunity to sleep under the stars, go boating, fish on a lake, and invest time engaging with other men, God, and His beautiful creation all around us.
“This was my first time doing something like this,” says Tasson. “I’ve never been on such an incredible trip. It was amazing. We had a campfire, made s’mores, even played volleyball. During the trip, I noticed a change in my heart. God was speaking to me in ways I’d never known. I was just reminded that there is hope. Life is not always bad. There are great and wonderful things in this life, and there is a God who can deliver you from your brokenness and your struggles.”
The men made camp at Cove Palisades State Park, pitching their tents over several campsites to make room for the large group. Each day was filled with fun activities and bookended by intentional devotion, worship, small group, and individual sharing times. Dallas Lange, Director of Men’s Ministry here at the Mission, led the trip.
“This retreat is an opportunity for the men in our New Life Ministry to deepen relationships with one another, engage with God in new ways, and enjoy the beauty of creation,” says Dallas. “We had a lot of fun hiking, playing disc golf, swimming, boating, and playing sports, but this was also a very intentional time for men to grow in relationships and discover what The Harbor is all about. This is a place where we take shipwrecked lives, bring them into safety for healing, and then send them out to serve and help others.”
It was exciting to watch as the men bonded over new experiences together. One day, the men hiked Misery Ridge Trail on Smith Rock. Another day, the group rented a boat and dozens of the men tubed and waterskied for the very first time.
“If I had to pick a highlight for me, I’d say driving the boat and pulling guys who had never been on a tube or skis before. It takes 4 or 5 tries, and then when they get up they have a big smile on their face. And then they crash!” Bill says with a laugh. “It was so nice. I taught them all the proper stuff to do on a boat, you know, where to sit and how to put on a life jacket. They’d never experienced it before.
I also enjoyed sharing things around the campfire. Talking about our life struggles. We found there’s a lot of similarity between our struggles. Everyone feels very safe here – that was actually one of the themes of the retreat. This place is so safe. Guys were just filled with so much laughter, joy, and spiritual awakening.”
Trips like The Harbor Retreat are invaluable to the recovery process here at the Mission. Getting outdoors and face to face with God’s creation gives the men a chance to truly get to know and experience the power and creativity of this God they learn about each day in their program. Thank you for your generous support that keeps our doors open and allows us to bless our residents with amazing trips like this. Please continue to pray for the men at The Harbor as they push on toward recovery, and make sure to regularly check our blog for more stories of what your support is doing!
P.S. — We are in need of tents! If you or someone you know is looking to give away a 4-person or larger tent, please let us know! We would gladly use it. Thank you.