Southern Indiana Living

JUL-AUG 2016

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July/Aug 2016 • 41 I t takes a lot of planning for Faith Rocks to happen. The faith-based re- treat for teens is held annually at Syc- amore Springs Park, west of English. Preparations begin months earlier. And even that does not guarantee a seamless operation. "You must always be ready for the unexpected," said the Rev. Rodney Shel- ton. That was evident last summer when violent storms broke out on opening day. "We got permission to use the 4-H Building and moved activities there for the night," said Shelton. "Then we got the kids up early the next morning, cleaned the building, returned to the park and continued as planned." The 2 ½ day event gives teens an opportunity to grow spiritually and so- cially as they commune with fellow be- lievers and God in a beautiful seting. "More of You" is the theme of the retreat set for July 22-24. Speakers will include Stephen Lynch, who – with Christ's help – has turned his life around and shares his story to help others, and Jason Denton, of Hol- land, Indiana. Denton, formerly addicted to alcohol and other drugs, now ministers "to reach the lost, the last and the least for His glory." Performers include Kirby Stailey, popular local musician; Narrow Path of Jasper, and Michael Cochren and Com- pany from Washington, Indiana. Shelton, pastor at Moore's Ridge Church, French Lick, said the Sycamore Springs retreat came about after the Ich- thus Music Festival in Wilmore, Kentucky was discontinued. While he was pastor at a church in Corydon, Shelton's congrega- tion joined with several other churches to send youth groups to Ichthus. "So we had the necessary camping equipment and we felt it should be put to good purpose," he said. "It has been an amazing experience. Sometimes you just have to see where God is leading and go through the door. Great things happen." The frst year there were 64 atend- ees; the second, 128; the third, 145. "This year we budgeted for 250," he said. "We don't let numbers scare us." "Once the idea came, God started opening doors," said Shelton. Two for- mer Ichthus atendees stepped up. Ator- ney Sabrina Bell did legal work; Anneta Crecelius, a graphic arts major, helped with brochures. "Other volunteers showed up as we needed them including Carolyn Ritchie, former employee of Nes- tle Chocolate Co. in Pennsylvania, who took charge of the food. When she could no longer help, Donna Hook, a cafeteria director in the Warrick County School District, took over," Shelton said. For the $40 fee, participants get a T-shirt and water botle, as well as food and camping privileges. Churches do- nate scholarships for kids who can't pay. "We don't want any young person to miss out because they don't have funds," said Shelton. "We have kids dealing with ad- diction, cuting, planning suicide, family problems. We hope to make a diference." He added, "Last year of the 145 atendees, 80 were kids; an estimated 70 made commitments." He explained how the program works. "Junior high and senior high are divided. Then campers cast lots to choose a weekend 'family.' There is an adult leader and young adult leader for each group which meets for discussion each evening." Activities are planned for each day, with prety tight scheduling, Shelton said. "There is not much free time." When a youth is registered, his or her name is given to an adult prayer part- ner from a local church who prays for the teen throughout. Often the prayer part- ners meet for the Saturday evening ser- vice. "Sometimes adult prayer partners can't make it; sometimes a kid doesn't show up for camp, but prayers are needed no mater the circumstances," said Shel- ton. It seems that last year's storm evacuation is not what stuck with the teens, at least not 15-year-old Nick Rid- dell. "What I remember most," he said, "is climbing up a hill where we held our hands up in a way symbolizing Christ on the cross. That is something that sticks with you, impacts you spiritually." (Nick and his brother, Dillon, were among six sets of twins atending.) "I like it that there are people from a lot of churches," Nick added. "I met a ton of friends and formed some lasting relationships." The event is sponsored by Faith of a Mustard Seed ministry, a non-proft or- ganization dedicated to introducing peo- ple to a relationship with Christ through fellowship, music and ministry. • For information, to donate, or sponsor a child, visit htp://faithrocksus.org. "Sometimes you just have to see where God is leading and go through the door. Great things happen." - Rev. Rodney Shelton Summer Fun in Southern Indiana Faith Rocks Story by Sara Combs Photo by Rodney Shelton

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