Black Granite Retreat

Kim / September 12, 2021 / testimonials

We were camping in the Black Hills just outside of Custer, South Dakota. This area was beautiful and our campsite was in a secluded area in the woods where we could really “be still”. We had discussed heading west just before Labor Day weekend, but decided to stay so we wouldn’t have to fight to find a spot over the holiday. Well at the time, that was why we thought we were hanging around, but God had a plan all along.

On September 1st I was scrolling through some of my photos and came across a picture I had taken back on August 26 of a brochure in an enclosed outdoor billboard. What caught my eye was “Fun & Fellowship in a Christ-centered Setting”. It was a retreat scheduled for Sept. 3-6, later than we’d planned on staying, but I wanted to research what it was about anyway. I had totally forgotten about the picture and never researched it. So, when I found it on September 1st I immediately googled Black Granite Retreat and read the entire website, the mission, statement of faith, and heart of Pat and Ginger. I told Tim, “I now know why we are here through Labor Day weekend. We have to go check this out!”  I began reading him parts of the website and he was in agreement. 

“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Saturay afternoon, our chairs were packed, we stopped by the Dakotamart to grab a potluck dish, and we were ready to see what this retreat was about.  We traveled down several dirt roads, as we neared the destination, balloons started showing up on sign posts. Then we see little white signs with encouraging messages written in red; be a peculiar people, you are His vessel. We turn into the drive and travel down a steep hill into the valley where campers and tents were set up.  We were surrounded by the beautiful Black Hills.  Tim parks the truck, but we are unsure where to go and what we may need. So, with hands full, we leisurely head towards the two white tents set up at the base of the hill.  We immediately see a lady coming toward us with a clipboard in hand.  

We received a very warm greeting from Kristin. She was helping people park, register, and set up chairs. Kristin asked if we’d share our address which led me to explain that we are full-time, but have a Florida address. She immediately says, “We’re full-time, we’re from Florida!” Another divine appointment from the Lord! We hit it off and she proceeds to tell us about her husband and daughter. Her husband was the speaker that night. Long story short we connected right away with this amazing family, hung out with them through the weekend, went to dinner with them before we left the Black Hills, and hope to connect with them again before they head south for the winter.  

Frank and Mila are another amazing couple that we met.  They are part of the Cowboy Church in Texas, pastor a local campground over the summer in Custer, SD, and run W3 Ministries (wounds, weaknesses, worries). We connected deeply with them and were able to enjoy a meal and fellowship at their campground before leaving the Black Hills as well. 

Peanut and Laurie, from Louisiana, were a true blessing to meet. They blessed the retreat with their homemade gumbo and fried bread. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!  Evelyn asked Ms. Laurie if she could help with the bread.  So, Laurie showed her how to patty out the bread and cook it in the cast iron over the fire.  This couple is following the Lord’s lead with their chuckwagon as they travel around feeding people and being the hands and feet of Jesus. We had much in common with the way the Lord spoke to each of us and led us to the retreat. 

The dynamic duo behind it all…Pat and Ginger are the owners of the beautiful property where the retreat is held. Their vision for this retreat is to “provide a safe place for spiritual growth; dedicated to providing opportunities for the entire Body of Christ to gather, fellowship, and encourage one another”.  They are passionate about the Body of Christ and creating a space for refreshing and growth in the Lord.  We enjoyed sweet fellowship with them during the retreat and around their kitchen table the day before we left South Dakota.  

There are so many others that we connected with; Jackie, Tim and Petra, Tsehaya, Matthew… God joined our hearts with these amazing people! 

We were so encouraged after our first night attending that Tim said, “I think this may be annual trip for us!” I agreed as I was thinking the exact thing during worship that night. Jessi even commented on the way home, “Mom are we going back to “church” tomorrow?”

The girls were quick to make new friends as they climbed rocks, played in the stream, picked cattails, threw tomahawks, shot the bow, and much more.  Many of the older kiddos kept an eye on the younger ones, just like family.  Several of the teens helped lead worship as well. 

We don’t know what the next year holds, but we are putting this retreat on our calendar and praying to see if that, too, is God’s will for us to reunite at the 2022 Black Granite Retreat. 

The worship was genuine and the word was rich! We remain in awe of all that God did in connecting us with amazing people at this retreat. We are looking forward to these relationships growing and future fellowship!  

We are a Peculiar People

Retreat Theme:

We are INDEED God’s peculiar (chosen, special) people and He DOES have a purpose for our lives!

Memory Verse

Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous for good works.  Titus 2:14 (KJV)

Retreat Pictures

Retreat Info:

The retreat is held annually just outside of Custer SD.  For more information or to sign up for next years retreat visit: