After the great experiences of the Appalachia missions, I longed to take a "bigger" mission trip; I wanted to see other peoples and help them as well. When Rev. Coombs came to the church, he breathed life into my vision. He told of mission trips he had done at other churches. Of course, he cautioned me that they were bigger youth groups. He knew that the kind of trip I was dreaming of would cost a lot of money. However, I think he underestimated the determination of our church to help others. It wasn't something I felt alone; instead I had an entire congregation that also had the same vision of helping others. However, Rev. Coombs decided that the next summer, as the youth group grew, it would probably be better to take a retreat. Therefore, we went to Panama City, FL. It was a great time of getting to know one another and connecting in a different way. It was really a time of reflection: self, group, and relationships.
This was an all girl retreat. Looking back, we probably did need to grow. A few boys wouldn't hurt the group. However, us girls had a wonderful time bonding with each other. The ocean was full of seaweed so we didn't spend much time near the ocean. Instead the time we did spend on the sand, was spent doing exercises to help us connect with each other. I had my two best friends at the time go with me. I truly believe this trip helped bring the three of us closer. In fact, we are still close to this day. Every group needs to spend some time bonding with each other, reflecting inward and outward, laughing, crying, and sharing. We did it all during that retreat. I didn't understand at the time why we didn't take a mission trip, but I now know. I guess this is why I wasn't in charge.