Today’s Wooster, Ohio, Daily Record, tells about the recent youth retreat sponsored by the Grace Brethren Church in Wooster. Nick Cleveland, pastor of high school ministries at the church, has been taking students to the Kalahari Water Park in Sandusky, Ohio, for eight years. A portion of the story appears below. Read the complete story here.
Students from about 25 Wayne County Area Churches Find Retreat at Kalahari to be Life-Changing
WOOSTER — The Bible depicts baptism as a transformative event in the lives of converts.
Is it any wonder, then, how a water park in Northern Ohio plays a part in changing the lives of thousands of students?
Nick Cleveland, pastor of high school ministries at Wooster Grace Brethren Church, has been taking a group to Kalahari Water Resorts & Conventions in Sandusky for eight years. There were 331 from four churches who attended the first retreat, and this year there were 1,864, about 280 of them adult volunteers, from about 25 churches.
“It’s neat to see what a tradition this has become,” said Cleveland. This year, Wooster Grace Brethren took 340 people, more than all of the people who went that first year. The students came from other area churches, including Millersburg Grace Brethren Church, Smithville Brethren Church and Smithville United Methodist Church.
While the teens have access to the water amenities during the weekend, they are isolated from them during the conference sessions.
“We take kids out of their environment, eliminate the distractions and ask them not to carry cell phones for the weekend so they can hear from God, that he loves them, he has a plan for them and he wants to use how they are gifted to change the world for the sake of eternity,” Cleveland said.
Something happens to the students and adults who participate at Kalahari. Of the experience, one student wrote, “I learned the true meaning of following Christ and finally understood that God’s plan is the only one that matters.”