Ready and willing to humbly serve-JG & All Stars Winter Retreat

 (Peter W. Rim) 
Currently, I serve the Joshua Generation (“JG”) ministry as a small group leader; however, I also am a dad of a 10th grader in JG and a 7th grader in All stars (“AS”) ministries. Conveniently, both JG and AS held their winter retreats together at North Bay, MD from December 27 through 29, 2018. Since this was my 7th grader’s first retreat experience ever, I decided to take this opportunity to serve at the joint winter retreat. My dilemma was whether to serve as a small group counselor or as a parent volunteer, who would be relegated to kitchen duties.
Having participated in both summer and winter retreats in years past (in both capacities as counselor and kitchen help), I knew volunteering as a parent was not going to be easy, especially cleaning up the kitchen and dining facility after 300 plus students and staff over 5 meals in a 3 days span. Surprisingly, we had a record number of parents (over 20), who volunteered to assist for similar reasons, which I had – which was to make sure our own kids had a wonderful retreat experience.
What started out as an opportunity for me to make sure that my own 10th and 7th grader kids were having a great winter retreat experience, turned into a fantastic spiritual experience for me in variety of ways: (1) As parents, we got to bond with one another and share our own struggles, challenges, and joys of raising middle and high school teenagers; (2) We demonstrated to the younger generation of counselors, youth ministry staff (mostly in their mid-20s) and our teenage children that servanthood never ends and that servanthood comes in variety of opportunities as we advance in age. We just needed to remain humble and simply serve when the chances come without pre-conditions; and (3) We served joyfully because each parent had a clear purpose and mission – TO ENSURE THAT OUR KIDS MET GOD DURING THIS WINTER RETREAT AND THAT THEIR LIVES WOULD BE TRANSFORMED.
I realized that when I remain humble before God and have an open and willing heart, God will always provide me with an opportunity to joyfully serve others in some capacity or another, even if it meant waking up at 5:30 AM to prepare the kitchen, stirring the egg yoke to make scrambled eggs for 300 plus students and staff, and running around the dining area to provide refills for depleted drinks and food, cleaning the tables, plates, bowls and utensils.
Life is full of hardships and challenges, but when we remain humble and ready to serve with a clear purpose and mission, then God transforms us to view even these hardships and challenges into joyous opportunities to work together for His ultimate glory.