Husband. Dad to 5. Student Ministry Pastor. Follower of Jesus. Yatta yatta.


This last weekend I took our high school men to the desert. 22 high school guys. 6 adults.

Here’s the highlights and some mo pics:

  • FOOD: We ate like kings: the notable taste bud explorations were: marinated teriyaki tri-tip steak and baked potatoes for dinner the first night. Breakfast burritos the next morning. Homemade beef/vegetable stew in bread bowls for dinner the second night. And we capped it off with peach cobbler made in a dutch oven and topped with crushed granola and bagels for our last breakfast. Oh…. that was some good grub.
  • CONVERSATIONS: got to have some good talks with a few of these young men. Some good one-on-one times. Some good group discussions. We examined some principles from God’s word and a book by Brennan Manning called “Posers, Fakers, and Wannabes”. It’s a youth version of his previously released book called “Abba’s Child”. It was great. My favorite memory of the weekend was a Saturday night talk in a canyon where we hiked in some wood and then had a discussion on a rocky hillside about being secure in the fact that God likes us and that we don’t need to impress him or one another. We talked about how God we need to be real, secure, and devoted men in 3 key relationships: (1) with God. (2) with ourselves, and (3) with others. It was a great conversation. The Holy Spirit was clearly there.
  • EXPLOSIONS: Yes we shot clay pigeons and such. But I’m talking fire explosions. Last year, our students discovered that a can of Axe deodorant makes a really big explosion. Like blow embers and wood from your camp fire a good 30 feet in all directions kinda explosion. So this year, we controlled things with 2 fire zones. One was a “bonfire” zone where you could hang and roast marshmallows and junk, and the other was an adult supervised “bombfire” zone where we set HUGE raging fires lite by gasoline trails. The students brought fire works and tons of axe deodorant. I’ll post a picture of what it does to the can in a future post. My camera is in the shop after this trip. Somehow the LCD screen broke. No, I didn’t shoot it. But, one night we did suspended gallon jugs of fuel over the fire using big boards and rope and then shot them open with a rifle from like 50 yards away. It was tons of fun. It was like a Hollywood set. Made me feel like a kid again.
  • EXPERIMENTAL TEAM BUILDING: this year we went out to the desert earlier in the week and hid large pieces of wood that were pre-drilled and cut to make a trebuchet. We hid them in the desert a mile from camp in the rocks in 3 separate directions and groupings. We then divided up the students and gave them a gps unit and told them to go find it and bring it back. It was a good team building exercise. After all the groups were back, we debriefed the experience, assembled the pieces, and then used it to launch 5ish lb rocks some 200 yards. It was pretty amazing. Maybe not as amazing as when we set it on fire and burned it to the ground the last day in an inferno you could only set in the desert, but yeah…. lots and lots of good times here.
  • GAIL FORCE WINDS: We had to eventually cut our trip a few hours short due to wind. I didn’t sleep at all on Saturday night. At about 1 am the wind picked up to the point that it would come ripping through the canyon in like 5 minute intervals and you could hear it coming like a distant wave. Then it would arrive and it blew so hard in knocked stoves off tables. It was so intense that at one point, while I was attempting to sleep in my truck bed, I was startled by the fact that the wind actually picked my tailgate up and slammed it down. It was pretty amazing. I’m ok with skipping it in the future however.
  • GIRL BONDING: So, we were supposed to get everyone up at 5am to watch the sunrise and have a worship experience on Sunday morning. Well, like I said, it was so ridiculously windy and cold that we decided to call it off. However, like 5 students still wanted to go. So, at like 5:15am they showed up at my truck. I told them, they had 2 options. #1. They could go by themselves to the top of the mountains and watch the sunrise and I’d have breakfast ready when they got back. OR #2. they could go back and get their sleeping bags and watch it from my truck bed and we’d have girl cuddle bonding. Cuz it was freaking cold and windy and I couldn’t sleep and I wasn’t getting out of my sleeping bag. Once presented with these 2 options, one of the students said, “I like option 2. No one else argued.” We then cuddled like girls and watched the sunrise. Next year, I’m bringing foot pajamas, nail polish, and warm coco in a thermos.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Brian,

    No, I haven’t been ignoring your e-mail. Give a girl a chance to break away from her busy “adult” life and I will FOR SURE get back to you. Nor did I fully forget your birthday (which has been permanently embedded in my mind since I was like, oh, a Freshman in high school). SOOOO… Happy Birthday!!! (By the way, ALL of my closest friends deal with the severely belated “happy birthday” thing… I actually received @$$hole-of-the-year-best-friend award this year for practically forgetting Kim’s b-day… whoops!)

    Anyway…. I’d like to note that you never allowed us Powerhouse folks to use guns or trebuchets while on various trips and retreats. And, I’d like to thank you for this. I’d like to thank you on behalf of myself, Daryl, Kim, Katie, Angela, Angela, Christina, Cassidy, Jared, Josh, Andrea, Adam, Tim, Trevor, Matt, Candi, Matt, etc, etc, etc, and all of our children — born and unborn — for not allowing us to EVER operate guns or trebuchets. It was obviously your infinite wisdom that “red-flagged” us as a bunch of losers who would inevitably blow our faces or limbs off if we ever used either of these devices. So, Brian C. Berry, I thank you.

    And yes, I know what a trebuchet is and that it doesn’t call for gun powder of any sort, but you know us…. We would have found a way to blow off our faces or limbs with it. Again, our grandparents, parents, ourselves, our children (again, born and unborn), and our childrens’ children…. We all thank you. 🙂

    Love and miss you all. Please give my best to the tribe. 🙂


Leave a Reply