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By Jesse Utz 

Fishing, canoes and tomahawks

Jess Shut Up

 


Manly men doing manly things! I went to the men’s retreat this past weekend with other men from Faith Community Church. We went to the Peniel Ranch on the lower river road between Omak and Agency Campus. I have been there a few times with this group of men, and it is always a special time.

Fellowship is always a key component to this retreat, and this year seemed to have a great mix of ages in the men who came. One man in his 90s and one in his 20s and an even mix of the rest. I got to know some of the men in the community that I knew little about, and some of whom I knew nothing. Let me say this. The high school is going to have three young Christian men there this year that truly care about your children. Them adding to the leadership at LRHS and the current staff, I foresee some great things for years.

It was a pleasure spending time with all the men, but of course it just wasn’t about sitting around and talking about football and wireless internet the whole weekend.

The Peniel ranch is very reasonably priced. It is also close. But it has activities that we manly men enjoy doing and honing our warrior/hunter instincts in the process. Fishing is always a big highlight. The ranch has a fish farm right on the river and raises thousands of trout that are released. There are strict rules on the fishing, but it is very fun. Unless you’re on net duty. Then you never are without the net in your hand and someone yelling “Fish On!” at you. It was fun.

You can also take a canoe or kayak for a trip in the slow moving current. On one of the past retreats Rich Black and I took a ride, and it was an awesome experience. This year, a few others braved the raging rapids and all seemed to come back dry. Well, except they were dripping with sweat. It was hot.

This year we got to throw tomahawks and knives. No cuts to report. Though on more than one occasion we had to go searching for escaped blades and axes that flew way too high or way to the left from the target. After a while, with lots of practice, the warriors where hitting and sticking. I did hear a donkey laugh a few times; that is probably because there are donkeys and horses, goats, sheep and other critters roaming the grounds. There are also two giant dogs that patrol all night, chasing off predators.

The main reason we go is … the food. I’m kidding, but the food is delish, highlighted by the best tasting BBQ fish I have ever had. The ladies there do a wonderful job.

OK, the main reason we go is we want to change, we want to become better men, husbands, fathers, grandfathers and friends. We want to hear what God has to say to us. We have great teachings from great men and it always strikes my heart with a bullseye every time I go. I think I can talk for all who went when I say we all want to be better men, better role models, better Christians. The teachings we learn here, the stories we hear, touch our hearts at the very core and we yearn to want more. Yearn to get closer to one another and closer to our God. Manly men doing manly things, like praising God, praying for each other, shedding a tear and letting our God show us something.

Note for next year: I’m not netting, bring ear plugs and recruit other men to come.

 

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