By Bob Wolniak, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
My first retreat experience came as somewhat of a surprise. I was a college student attending my first day of camp with hundreds of others my age, eagerly looking forward to spending time in worship, Bible study, making new friends, and deepening existing ones. Then we were told that for the next three hours there would be total silence in camp, and we were to spend that time alone with God. As an extrovert seemingly incapable of thinking without speaking, I nearly panicked! In spite of other instructions, I ended up wandering along trails in the forest in a daze. Eventually I sat down, took out a few pieces of paper, brushed some ants off, and began writing a prayer to God. To this day I still vividly recall this experience and its effect on the rest of my week—being more aware of God. In fact, it led me from that day forward to eagerly look for times of quiet to unplug and journal. Something I now cherish more than ever in a busy ministry role and increasingly full and frazzled schedule.