Over the long Columbus Day weekend, 140 graduate students from all over Boston gathered together at Toah Nipi in Rindge, New Hampshire for fun, fellowship, and renewed growth in their daily spiritual walks. Toah Nipi is Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s New England retreat and training center which accommodates college, church, and community groups.
Graduate students, including 18 of us from Harvard Business School, arrived on Friday, surrounded by the power and magnitude of God’s creation of gorgeous red, orange, and yellow leaves of fall foliage. HBS was joined by students from Harvard Law School, Harvard Divinity School, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Public Health, the Graduate School of Education, Kennedy School of Government, MIT, Sloan School of Management, Boston College, Boston University, UMass, Simmons, Northeastern, and a few others.
The weekend began with a Compline service which is the final prayer office of the day, followed by an evening of rest and relaxation. The Saturday morning studies focused on John 3, where Jesus declares the key to our salvation in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life.” As Christians, we used these lessons to focus on God’s will for our own lives and how to conform His desires to our wants. Psalms 37:4 says “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your hearts.”
After an afternoon of reflection, hiking, and resting, we gathered for dinner and prepared for the ultimate evening shindig – the Fandango Hoedown and Square Dance. We mastered the art of promenades, twirling, and clapping before the native Texan (aka Madison Mauze, (NC)) took over to teach Texas two-step and salsa lessons to everyone who was so inclined. The evening concluded with a few crushed toes, some gooey S’mores by the bonfire, and late night Scattegories before we all turned into our glamorous bunkrooms and tents.
There is nothing like waking up in the midst of nature on a beautiful October morning before heading to Sunday Morning Worship. We sang, praised, and even cried a little while we listened to and often shared how the Lord was working in our lives. After cleaning the center and loading our cars, we all headed back to Boston. Although everyone was touched in a different way and felt called for a different purpose, by the end of the weekend there was at least one certainty…the Lord was and still is moving and shaking in this place, and we are all so blessed to be a part of it.