October Update

It seems weird to even type the following words but… fall semester 2021 is already half over. It seems like just yesterday we were ramping up for the start of a new semester and welcome week events, and now here we are, more than halfway through looking at finals week events and planning for the spring! I am incredibly encouraged by this, as we had some legitimate concerns about being able to make it through an entire semester when our Covid numbers throughout the state started rising. But God has been faithful in many ways this semester and being able to experience an almost “normal” return to campus has certainly been one of the ways.

As we’ve slowly returned to normal, we’ve been excited to return to some of the activities that we love most. One of which is most assuredly our Fall Retreat. Fall Retreat has been a long-time staple in the ROC community and is always a time of growth and bonding amongst the students. This year was certainly no exception to that. It was also a historic retreat for the ROC community as it was the first time ROC OU and ROC at Rio have ever come together for a retreat.

Our group left their respective campuses Friday evening and traveled to Morehead, KY. My good friend opened his church to our group and housed us there to help students save money and make the retreat more affordable. It was an incredible blessing and allowed us to explore the Daniel Boon National Forest and Kentucky’s famed Red River Gorge. Our students enjoyed the hike to Natural Bridge and Battleship Rock on Saturday as well as a short hike to Lockegee Rock on Sunday before heading home. In addition, we were blessed to spend time throughout the weekend growing through devotional times, teaching, small group, and worship times as well. It really was an outstanding weekend. Here is what one of our ROC at Rio students shared about the trip…

ROC at Rio Student Abbie Kimble (pictured center, gray shirt) with some of her friends from Rio.

“What an awesome experience with an awesome group of people, ROC! From climbing Lockegee Rock to hiking the trails to the Natural Bridge looking over God’s Creation, worshipping, and connecting with others was worth it all. The biggest thing I learned this weekend was that God loves us, he is with us at all times, even in nature.” – ROC at Rio Student Abbie Kimble

But don’t think that things are slowing down anytime soon. ROC’s Halloween Barn Jam is happening this coming weekend. A paintball outing with our friends from 5th Street Church of Christ is coming up on November 13th, and ROC Friendsgiving is happening on November 17th, all before Finals Week survival in the ROC house as we start wrapping things up for the semester.

As always, I’m incredibly thankful for the role that each of you play in the life of the community. I’m often overwhelmed to think about the countless faces and lives you have touched over the years through your love, support, and generosity.