Brent Learned – Casper, Wyoming … The Wyoming Winter Retreat, an annual event for more than 30 years, took place over the weekend of February 17-19 at Mills Spring Ranch (MSR). More than 60 people from across Wyoming, Montana, and Northern Colorado participated in the event sponsored by a handful of Wyoming churches and MSR. The event is focused on worshiping together and providing a time and a space in nature to enjoy moments with family and friends.

The weekend began with attendees riding a snow cat for a mile over 132 inches of snow to reach Mills Spring Ranch and their warm cabins. There were four worship talks spread throughout the weekend on how to study the Bible. Each worship started with several lively praise songs lead by Lyle Wortman and a band from Gillette followed by an engaging teaching on the RIM (Reading-Interpretation-Memorization) Bible study method.

Guest speaker Pastor Henry Johnson, from the Greenville South Carolina church, instructed the group on the importance of using the Bible dictionary corresponding to the Bible version they’re using so each word’s meaning can be understood and translated as intended. Pastor Henry also talked about the importance of starting out a textual interpretation with knowledge of the authors’ original intent before jumping to its contemporary application. Pastor Henry finished his talk by speaking of the power of memorizing Bible promises and passages.

On Sabbath afternoon, some attendees spent hours snowshoeing through aspen groves and doing Nordic skiing on the miles of freshly-groomed trails. Others participated in sledding with their kids or snowmobiling with the teens and young adults. Following Saturday night worship, attendees were seen relaxing and chit chatting around the warm fireplace or sitting around tables gleefully playing board and card games with friends and family.

The event wrapped up on Sunday morning following the final worship session with many attendees volunteering to stay well into the afternoon to help clean up and enjoy the additional 3 inches of fresh snow. The sound of kids squealing with delight as they took turns sledding down their favorite hill and adults catching up over cups of hot chocolate, coffee, or tea would accurately sum up the vibe of the event.

Garry Gage, a Union College student from Casper, Wyoming, commented that the event was “lots of fun at Winter Retreat. Cool people in a small-town setting. An involved speaker with great messages.” And his fellow Union College student Zack said, “It was a great experience and tons of fun. The people are great!”

Audrey, a first-time attendee from Bozeman, Montana, said, “I really enjoyed it. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly. The snow covering the camp was magical! I would definitely recommend [attending].”

An attendee from Gillette, Wyoming, Andrew (who happened to be blind and full of jokes), said “I didn’t see one bad thing the entire weekend.”

—Brent Learned is an RMC assistant youth director and Mills Spring Ranch manager. Photos by Liz Cornett.