By Shannon Ness
Three hundred thirty-three students from Iowa City and Cottage Grove Salt Company flooded into East Iowa Bible Camp for a weekend designed to examine their own hearts, worship Jesus, and grow in community. This is nearly one hundred more students in attendance than last year. What is really amazing is that one hundred thirty-seven of them were freshmen!
The camp is not designed to fit over two hundred fifty people, so the students were literally over taking the camp. Some students slept in tents and hammocks while others slept in the barn. The camp director traveled all the way to Minnesota to find extra mattress to sleep on. At the dance on Friday night, so many students were dancing, that lights fell off the ceiling on the level underneath where the dance was being held. It is exciting to have space as an issue at the fall retreat, because that means that God is growing the ministry of The Salt Company in Iowa City!
Troy Nesbitt, from The Salt Network, talked about the Cancer of the Soul–the sins that kill us internally. His main points were regarding: unconfessed sin, bitterness, gaining a clear conscious, and greed. His application was on how to kill the sin in your life before it kills you. It was interesting to see how students responded to being confronted about the deep dark sins in their lives. Some students responded with hard hearts and decided that they wouldn’t share anything in their small groups that met after each session while others responded by confessing their sins, joining in the sweetness of freedom that we have because of Jesus Christ.
As Salt staff met throughout the following week with student leaders, they heard so many stories from the retreat. Leaders shared about how close their group became relationally because of the retreat. One leader confessed the shame she felt because of a past sexual relationship before she was a Christian. This lead to her group talking for over two hours. They confessed their struggles with each other and encouraged each other with biblical truth. The fall retreat is such an important time for connection groups to grow closer together in community and we are excited to see how the gospel that was shared at The Fall Retreat and is retold every week at The Salt Company continues to change the lives of students.