Retreat? Hardly!

Retreat: to withdraw

Often, we speak about going on a retreat, meaning to withdraw away from the busy-ness of life, the noise and distractions. We retreat to refresh and refuel.

We are going on a retreat this weekend. Lord willing, we are already at Camp Keystone about an hour from Jacksonville up in North Florida. But this isn’t the kind of retreat where we withdraw but where we engage.

We will be taking 50+ men from the rehab center we’re in charge of and meeting with 5 other centers for an annual, mis-named retreat. Maybe we should call it the Play Hard and Pray Harder weekend because they will forget they aren’t teenagers as they take to the basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. They’ll run an obstacle course and cast a fishing line. They will aim their arrows at the targets and consider their next move in chess.

From card and board games to the ones played under the beating sun, bodies will be worn and torn and the vans on the ride home will be filled with the sounds of hard sleep and and the scent of Ben Gay.


events  softball 954


ARC Retreat


They will sleep in cabins (air conditioned because it’s still Florida!) and have a couple of days without the usual sleep-eat-work-meetings routine. For some, it will be their first time to experience anything like this.

While they retreat from the city and group meetings and work therapy, they will engage in celebrating victories and displaying grace in losing. They will be reminded that sportsmanship counts more than the final score. They will see us fiercely cheer for them, our men, our team. They will discover how much I know about sports and how fearless I am at heckling the ref. We’re friends or it wouldn’t be any fun at all.

In between the activities, we will come together to engage in praise and open our hearts and minds to God’s word as it will be shared through song and teaching. We will be filled to overflowing with life abundant.

For us, it’s a privilege to share this all expense paid weekend with men whose lives were so out of control they ended up at our door. They ended up at The Salvation Army, thought of as homeless. Like the father in the story of the lost, we’ve been watching for them to come home. Home to recovery, to restoration, to recovery and into the loving arms of Jesus.


More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

4 thoughts on “Retreat? Hardly!

  1. gabriele

    Your work is so very inspirational to me!! I love reading about it.


  2. Debby Hudson

    Ah, thanks Gabriele. I was my inspiration when I first started blogging but seems I don’t write about it as much these days. God’s been putting it on my heart more this week. He speaks to us through some unconventional ways sometimes doesn’t he?


  3. Annie

    Praying for you all this weekend!! Sounds like a powerful time.


    1. Debby Hudson

      Thank you Annie. We got through all the sporting events with minor injuries and our speaker this morning brought such a good message. He’ll close it tomorrow. I always get something out of his messages…and he thinks he’s preaching to the men 😉


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