Posted November 12, 2015 by
Tags: Student Programs Traditions
“Be still and know that I am God.” ~Psalm 46:10 (NIV)
God calls us to rest in Him, and over Wheaton College’s Fall Break this year, 76 students took the opportunity to find rest at HoneyRock, Wheaton College's Outdoor Center for Leadership Development. Located in the Northwoods of Wisconsin in the Nicolet National Forest, HoneyRock has over 800 acres of facilities and resources for activities, learning and adventure.
The students left Friday evening after classes and returned the next Tuesday afternoon to start the second half of fall semester. Saturday and Sunday were devoted to rest and play, then the students helped out with work projects on Monday. Becca Hravatic, a junior, said, “God used the weekend to give me space to process, and to meet new friends. I came back for B Quad with a refreshed heart.”
I spoke with several students about their Fall Break experience at HoneyRock, and they all mentioned how restful and refreshing the weekend was. HoneyRock is a place of transformation, but also of refocusing on God in the midst of a busy semester at Wheaton.
God used the retreat to refocus senior Daniel Tannous’ faith:
“While I had a fantastic A quad at Wheaton, God knew how much I needed a quiet break away from school. Being outdoors in God's creation away from the distractions and sounds of school helped pointed me back towards God. I was continually reminded of God's goodness and grace towards me.
Being at HoneyRock reminded me of all the ways in which God has blessed me and sustained me. I came back to campus assured of Him moving in my life. My restful time at HoneyRock also reiterated my need for quiet meditation alone with God.”
Former SLS members Sam Nathan and Cassie Conley recalled the best part of the weekend: waterskiing in 30-degree temperatures. “Each time I hit the water I was barely able to breathe,” Cassie said. “One of the people in the boat went skiing for the very first time that day; he was a champ. Then we all left the boat and hobbled to Chrouser on our frozen extremities so we could thaw out by the fire.”
Returning to HoneyRock for the first time since the summer was good for both Sam and Cassie. In the time since the summer, they had forgotten how noisy and full of distractions our lives are. A weekend to refocus in a place of transformation enabled them to return to campus with refreshed hearts and minds.
“Returning to HoneyRock with the picturesque fall colors had me feeling like I was dreaming the first morning I woke up and walked outside,” Sam said.
Cassie told me about her time of renewal: “One particular evening, the weather outside was calm and Long lake was unbelievably still. (More still than I saw this summer.) There, [a friend and I] sat in silence and prayed, seeing more of what stillness with a focus on the Lord looks like."
"I came back to B-quad more rested than I had been in a long while. As a result, I was ready to take the rest that God gave me to confidently begin a new quad. However, this rest will not remain with me each and every day. Therefore, there is something from the break I continually remember. That is, God is present and with me. Being with Him in the stillness, as I mentioned earlier, and feeling Him so close during prayer is something that remains true whether I can sense it or not. I need not worry, then, about my studies or plans because God is there with me, and His love of me is what I was created for.”
If you didn’t get to come to HoneyRock for Fall Break, keep an eye out for the more opportunities for students this year. Retreats (with course credit) will be offered MLK Weekend, President’s Day Weekend, and Spring Break!
Each of the students I talked to recommended HoneyRock retreats for all students. Sam Nathan said, “Even if it is just for a weekend or for the whole summer, HoneyRock seems to have a way of restoring the soul and bringing people back to the relationships (with God and others) and environment that gets pushed out of the way during our busy lives here in suburbia.”
~written by Lydia H. Stucki
Thank you to Sam Nathan for taking the pictures used in this post.