This past weekend Ronnie, Bethany, Jamie and Adam were so excited to have the opportunity to lead worship at the volunteer retreat for Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization affiliated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The retreat was held at The Cove, a retreat space near Asheville, North Carolina owned by the BGEA as a place to hold conferences, retreats and concerts with the ultimate goal of equipping pastors, lay people and volunteers to better spread the Word of the Gospel.
Friday night we had the extreme privilege of hearing Dr. Robert J. Bentley, the current Governor of the State of Alabama, speak on the task of managing and re-building in the state of Alabama after the tornadoes that hit a year ago and killed over 200 people, particularly in the Tuscaloosa area. Dr. Bentley was a humble and gracious man whose love for the Lord and his state were apparent. We were excited to take a photo with him afterwards….this one is a tad fuzzy (thanks to my iPhone) but I’ll swap it out with the one taken on the “good camera” as soon as I get it emailed to me. :)
We were also thrilled to have some free time on Saturday, so we kicked it off with a hike. There is a beautiful space at the top of the mountain at The Cove called “The Overlook.” The round trip 6 mile hike is a treacherous one (Jamie would argue it’s more of a climb than a hike..haha) but well worth the effort as the view from the top is amazing. (Bethany actually got engaged to her husband at the top of the Overlook nearly 3 years ago on a previous Ronnie-and-the-band gig in Asheville, so it was special for her to get to return to that very spot!)
And because there have already been comments flying on Facebook to the tune of “if there aren’t photos, it didn’t happen,” I’ve posted some photos here for you to enjoy the view….and to prove that we did, in fact, make it to the top! (and in near-record time, I might add.)
A short video clip of the view from the top!
After our hike we headed into Asheville for a little lunch and a cup of sipping chocolate at French Broad Chocolates, which is a must-see if you are ever in the area. The worship service that night was wonderful. It was so great to hear the volunteers sing (They could have been a choir! It was awesome!) and to get to hear Will Graham, Billy’s grandson and Director of The Cove, preach about how God can use us, even if we don’t feel equipped.
All in all, it was an amazing weekend! Great speakers, so much encouragement from new friends, and even perfect weather as a bonus. We always enjoy our time with Samaritans Purse folks and this weekend was no exception. Thank you one and all for your gracious hospitality! We were blessed to be with you!