Kerdos Retreat: Rapids, Axe-letes, and Fine Wine

The Kerdos ABF recently returned from its second annual weekend getaway to the Wolf River and the Nicolet National Forest. Our goal was to enjoy nature, safely navigate the rapids, and experience comfort and relaxation in order to more vigorously approach our vocational and familial callings, and to better serve our God in all aspects of our life.

A diverse group—comprised of college students (current and soon-to-begin), young professionals, a visitor to GCD, singles, dating couples, married couples, and a married man flying single for the weekend—headed to the Menominee Indian Reservation in Northern Wisconsin to escape the clutches of email and social media.

Together, this group faced head-on their fears of whitewater, bears, and heights, conquering some of those fears. The weather on the river was perfect—slightly overcast at times, and never too hot. We had a great time rafting through waterfalls and rapids, ending with a trip over Big Smokey Falls, the final rapid of the trip that descends approximately 20 feet in just a few hundred meters. All Kerdos rafts managed to stay upright through the falls!

The day culminated with a discussion of John’s account of Christ’s miracle of turning water into fine wine, bookended with Christ’s acceptance of sour wine on the cross, as a reminder that God gives to us fine gifts, while we so often return those gifts to Him in a fallen, ruined fashion. But we have hope, as Christ conquered sin and death with His victory on the cross! He makes, and will make, all things new, even the gifts we sour. The group sang a few hymns at the campsite, prayed, and gave a send-off to Renee Rupple, who was to depart for Gordon College the day after our return to Warenville.

As darkness fell, we started a new club for "axe-letes," and then played the classic campfire game “Mafia” while consuming s’mores. Because Kerdos is comprised of thinkers, the game naturally led to a discussion on the ethics of trickery, deception, and negotiation, even in games, and whether “practicing” these skills, even during games, is a good use of our time and talents.

In all, we thank God for his good but sometimes-forgotten gifts: minimal rain, moderate temperatures, and safe travel throughout the weekend. And, we certainly experienced the thrill and fun of river rafting!

Most importantly, we bolstered our sense of community in conversations throughout the weekend: discussing vocation and calling, especially as many in the group have been working for 3 to 7 years in their fields; pondering dating and marriage, as God sees these things; and considering appropriate Christ-like responses to difficult situations we have been living lately.

We thank you for your prayers and support!

We just may have successfully escaped the clutches of digital technology entirely.  ...Does anyone have any photos from the trip that they'd be willing to share?  Please send them to me at or text me.  Thanks!
– Heidi