Men's Retreat for Iglesia de Mableton

June 17-18, 2016

This is our group at about noon on Saturday June 18 when we went down to the pavilion on Lake Tamarack for lunch.

We gathered at Iglesia de Mableton at about 6:30 on Friday night. Leaving with three cars, we gathered two more along the way with Javier coordinating via cellphone. We got together at the Ingles grocery in Jasper for a major food shopping event and reached the Bent Tree Pavilion on Lake Tamarack about 9pm. There they fired up the grills and Juan, Christian and Diego cooked dinner for the group of 20 men and boys. After the meal, everyone just relaxed around the area with Carlos and Juan playing guitar and singing praise songs. We finally reached the house at about midnight.

All the muchachos gathered around the ping-pong table and by Javier's account, played ping-pong until after 3am. I was long since asleep by that time. The guys spread out on all three floors to sleep on the beds and on the floors.

It was a cool and very windy night and very nice for sleeping. About 8am some started stirring. After the marathon ping-pong session last night, the young men turned to chess and seemed to have a good time with that while breakfast was being prepared.

Meanwhile, breakfast preparation was in full swing in the kitchen area.

Juan and Christian were the main cooks and had the kitchen well-coordinated to feed all these men. They are leaders of the music program of the church, so it was good to see that they could produce beautiful harmony in the kitchen as well. Francisco Nava is also fully occupied in the breakfast preparation, breaking two flats (5 dozen!) eggs for the breakfast.

Christian and Juan are still very busy cooking up eggs, Mexican sausage, beans, rice, and a big pan of eggs, cheese and sausage. Also tortillas of course. Francisco starts the serving process. Carlos reaches for the coffee pot.

It was about 10am when the young men sat down to breakfast, but since they had played ping-pong until after 3am, that seemed about right.

Kevin, Javier and two of the younger boys settle down for a Mexican breakfast.

I had breakfast with Carlos, Salvador and Juan on the deck. The other Juan is also with us here, but he didn't take much time to eat since he was busy cooking and serving. I enjoyed sitting with them since they speak exclusively Spanish and that helps me to learn.

The other Juan, Pastor Javier and Francisco joined us on the deck for an interlude of relaxed conversation.

At about 11:30 we prepared to return to the Pavilion at the lake for lunch and recreation there.

From the beach I could show them the house location from which we had just come. The house is just to the left and down the mountain from the tower which is seen on the top of Big Stump Mountain. The house is at 2400ft and the beach is at 1500 ft altitude.

We gathered everyone for a group picture before they settled down to the cooking of lots of food for lunch. They grill everything! The grilled corn is really good - grilling in the shuck seems to make it sweeter.

While the food was cooking, the younger boys were first to hit the lake. The day was beautiful and the lake was inviting.

The older youth preferred fishing from the dock on this beautiful, surprisingly cool day.

With three grills glowing, Diego cooks more corn and Juan and Christian are producing some beautiful roasted chicken.

All this great food was certainly enough to get the youth scrambiling back up to the eating area from their fishing dock.

After lunch all the youth returned to the water and seemed to have a great time with their ball game.

We got good use of the public pavilion for our lunch and activities for the early afternoon, but another group had the pavilion reserved for a party at 4:30. It worked out well for us to be good neighbors. Christian, Diego and Juan had grilled so much chicken that we offered some to our neighbors who were using the picnic ground and the beach. I talked to three groups and they were interested in our group so I could explain that it was a Spanish church group that I worked with teaching English. A couple of groups did take some chicken. When we were clearing for the party group, I could offer our grills with hot coals to them, so I had a good positive interaction with them as well. We did clear the pavilion and moved down to the picnic area with a watermelon to cut.

Along with our watermelon cutting and just relaxing, we got involved in a shuffleboard competition and everyone seemed to have a good time with it. It was very pleasant to be with such a good-natured and cooperative group. We hung around until about 5:30 before heading back toward Atlanta.

June family activities

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