“I can remember when I got married. I can remember where I got married. But there are days when – for the life of me – I cannot remember WHY I got married!!” All married people, if they’re honest with themselves (and their spouses), will admit to having that thought at one time or another. Jay and Laura are no different!
“Jay and Laura’s ministry with us was exceptionally well received. My wife and I happened to be seated near a couple who have been married for 70 years and a couple who have been married a little over a year. Jay and Laura’s combination of humor, authenticity, and solid teaching captured the attention of both couples even though they are at opposite ends of the marriage spectrum. What an amazing blessing!” Dr. Kerry B. Robinson, Senior Pastor, East Side Church of God, Anderson, IN
Schedule subject to change
4:00 pm Registration & Check in
7:30 Session 1
Worship & Teaching
but we’ll explain)
9:00 Snack Break
8:30 am Breakfast
9:30 Session 2
Worship & Teaching
10:45 Coffee Break
11:00 Session 3
Worship & Teaching
12:30 pm Lunch
1:00 Free Time
5:30 Dinner Buffet
7:00 Concert with Gordon
8:30 Snack Break
8:30 am Breakfast
10:00 Session 4
Worship & Teaching
12:00 pm Lunch
Free time on the grounds to think, pray & process – stay as long as you like!
“Being away from work, household problems, and daily schedules allowed us to sense the quiet and freedom to be us.” -Ryland, Colmar, PA
“Just pulling onto the grounds is a blessing!” -Yvonne, Bellmawr, NJ
“This place is awesome. The environment and kindness of everyone – you really feel connected with God!” -George, Franklinville, NJ
“We laughed all weekend! With young kids it’s hard to plan weekends away. Everyone needs this in every year of marriage.” -Erica, Wilmington, DE
“Very relaxing atmosphere. Beautifully kept grounds and room. Love was everywhere.” -Elvin, Lancaster, PA
“This weekend of marriage retreat has brought my husband and I much closer in spiritual and family togetherness.” -Linda, Parlin, NJ
“My husband and I were able to connect and pray in a much needed time in our lives.” -Lisa, Elkton, MD
“It was great teaching and a wonderful time to connect with my wife!” Jourdan
“My husband and I shared great time together…laughing, playing, learning and resting.” Amy, Springfield, VA
“We laughed so much! It was an amazing weekend.” Valerie, Pasadena, MD
“Gave us both time and tools to better connect to each other and God.” Kelly, Forest Hill, MD
“We were able to slow down and put things on a backburner to enjoy being together, playing together and getting some rest amidst the beauty of God’s beautiful creation.” Gwen, Oxford, PA
“God laid several things on my heart and opened my eyes to some blind spots holding back my marriage.” James, Middletown, DE
The Laffoons are real people with real lives walking through a real marriage. They like to call themselves “marriage edu-tainers”, combining education with entertainment. And the Laffoons put their real marriage of almost 30 years on display.
“You probably stood at the altar like we did; hearts and minds filled with giddy expectation of the journey ahead. But too often that romantic Street Car Named Desire gets derailed by the big Locomotive Named Reality” explains Jay and Laura. “Yet we’re convinced that creating and regularly celebrating a thriving marriage reaches beyond a husband and wife to positively impact three critical arenas in our culture; our homes, churches, and our local communities. We’re determined to be a part of that impact.”
The Laffoons fearlessly share their own experiences as they unravel what they’ve learned about the mysteries of intimate relationships, believing that all married couples share the same struggles and joys along the journey! Their humorous and entertaining transparency offers couples permission to laugh with each other and courage to continue growing a future together.
After meeting on a blind date in 1984, their brief courtship has since transformed into a daily marital celebration. Having ministered together in Youth for Christ for 15 years, along with interviewing thousands of couples, they’ve gained tremendous insight into marriage and family issues. Now they’ve been presenting comedy infused marriage events for more than 17 years!
Growing up in Petoskey MI, Jay, holds degrees in Biblical Literature and Music. Laura grew up in Atlanta Georgia (home of their famous blind date) and holds a degree in Social Ministries.
Both Jay and Laura previously served on staff at Youth for Christ, and currently serve on staff at Mt Pleasant Community Church, coordinating their Marriage and Family care ministry. They are part of an exclusive group of certified instructors for Dynamic Communications International.
Together, Jay and Laura have written numerous books. They currently live in Michigan. They have two children: a teenage daughter, Grace and son, Torrey who is married to Shana, a wonderful addition to the family. Jay & Laura founded Celebrate Ministries, Inc. in 1995.
Few artists possess a more impressive resume than Gordon Mote. And few artists have had to overcome more challenges to realize their dreams. Blind since birth, Mote’s faith provides the foundation for his life and constantly fuels his creative spirit. When he was just three, Gordon surprised his family on Thanksgiving by sitting down to the piano and miraculously playing “Jesus Loves Me” with both hands. “I was just passionate about music,” states the Attalla, Alabama native. “My music is so eclectic today because I listened to every album I could get my hands on growing up. As kids, my brother (who is also blind) and I traveled and sang in churches of all sizes and denominations.”
As a young man, Mote became one of the first blind students in the country to be mainstreamed into the public school system and later received a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. After three years at JSU, he transferred to Nashville’s Belmont University and graduated with honors. Two days after graduation, Country music legend Lee Greenwood asked Gordon to join his band. Since then, he’s toured with Trisha Yearwood, Porter Wagoner, Gaither Vocal Band as well as the long-running Gaither Homecoming Tour.
As a studio musician, Mote’s big break came when Country Music Hall of Fame keyboardist Pig Robbins (who is also blind) was unable to make a session and recommended that Gordon fill in. That particular day, Alan Jackson cut the poignant 9/11 tribute, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”—resulting in the first number one single Gordon played on. Since that time, Gordon had played for Country music’s biggest names, including Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Lionel Richie, Alison Krauss, and many others. His unmatched studio prowess earned him Music Row Magazine’s instrumentalist award in 2009 and 2011, which recognizes the musician who played on the most top ten albums. Mote is honored and humbled by the artists and producers who place their trust in him, “I always try to bring my creativity and do the very best I can.”
Since stepping into the spotlight as a solo artist, Mote has recorded an impressive body of work—three instrumental and six vocal albums—including the Dove Award-nominated If You Could Hear What I See (2004), Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory (2007), Songs I Grew Up Singing (2012) and his acclaimed Christmas collection The Star Still Shines (2012). A two-time winner of the Academy of Country Music’s top piano/keyboard player award, Mote has recorded with Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton, Carrie Underwood, Gaither Vocal Band, Alan Jackson, and many, many others. Yet on his latest New Haven Records album, All Things New, Mote again proves he’s more than just Music City’s most respected musician, he’s also a consummate artist. From the exuberant title track to the compelling “Meanwhile Back at the Cross,” Mote’s voice wrings every ounce of emotion from tender ballads and teems with passion on high energy anthems. “I never recorded a project that is as fun–but as deep–as this album,” Mote says with a smile.
For All Things New, Mote assembled a collection of potent songs that acknowledge life’s struggles while reverberating with hope and percolating with energy. “Down by the River” is a contagious tune featuring the famed Gaither Vocal Band and platinum-selling country artist Trace Adkins. “Do You Believe in Love” is a buoyant celebration featuring Mote’s friends Darius Rucker, Josh Turner, Sheryl Crow, Matthew West and Scotty McCreery. “I’ve played for every one of these artists on their records. For them sing on mine was a real honor,” Mote says. Frank Rogers, well known for his work with Paisley, Rucker, Turner and McCreery among others, produced the bulk of the album. Dove Award winners Wayne Haun and Russell Mauldin produced the remaining tracks. Mote and Rogers have been friends since they both attended Nashville’s Belmont University. “Frank was a rock for me through this whole process and his talent speaks for itself,” Mote says. “He’s an extraordinary songwriter who knows great songs.”
A gifted songwriter himself, Mote contributed four songs, including “All Things New,” “Sound a Dream Makes,” “For You,” and the autobiographical “Broken Open.” He also tapped some of Music City’s finest tunesmiths, including Don Sampson and Jim Brown, who wrote the lead single “Faith Like That.” “I have friends who have had experiences that could have shaken their faith to the core,” Mote says, “but they were steadfast in their testimony to God’s faithfulness, goodness, and mercy. I want to have a faith like that.”
Mote continues, “I love to record songs of hope. ‘God of New Beginnings’ is a prime example. It’s about a husband and wife who are headed toward divorce. The first verse tells the story from her side and the second verse tells the story from his, and then finally how God redeems their marriage.”
Mote penned the autobiographical “Broken Open” with Frank Rogers and Kyle Matthews. “I had a wonderful childhood, but grew somewhat lonely as a teenager as my friends were getting driver’s licenses and leaving me behind. Whether you’re blind or not, all of us experience insecurities. I learned that my brokenness made me more open to God’s love as well as more sensitive to the brokenness in other’s lives.”
When he’s not on the road (150 dates a year) or in the studio, the devoted family man can be found spending time with wife Kimberly and their three children—Samantha, Parker and Ashton. On All Things New, Kimberly and Samantha join Gordon in the studio to sing “For You,” a beautiful worship song he penned with Jason Cox, Kenna West and Sue Smith. The song also features the Voices of Lee University. Gordon reflects, “I wanted to write a song that says, ‘Lord, I’ve been so blessed, but if You never do another thing for me, I’d still love You for You.’”Upon hearing All Things New, those familiar with Gordon will recognize his contagious joy for life, his inspiring generous spirit, and his undeniable passion for God. Likewise, those who are hearing Gordon for the very first time will find a friend who will inspire them through whatever challenges they face.
Mote concludes, “I wanted this project to encourage others to let the Lord use the rough parts of their lives for his glory just like he has in mine. If we’ll give God the chance to make all things new, He will.”
Stephen has been leading worship for nearly 20 years. Stephen has led worship for several conferences and special events. He was the worship pastor of a church in Nashville, TN and has led teams at other churches as well. Stephen is currently the President/CEO of Sandy Cove Ministries.
Rates are per couple and include two nights lodging, six meals, snacks, program and activities.
$498 per couple
Treat yourself to an upgraded room!
Ask about beautiful bay view rooms and 2 room suites – a few with Jacuzzis!
Upgraded charge is per room, not per person
Looking for a slightly different Retreat? Try our campground!
Log Cabins are open all year.
Log Cabin Rates: $498 per couple
Financial hardship? Partial scholarships are available.
Modest swimsuits are required…baggy trunks for guys, one-piece for girls of all ages!
10% military discount for all program events for ALL military personnel.
This discount is available to any member of the armed forces, any branch and their immediate family members living in their household.
This is a Child Free Event. We love babies and children and we know you do too! But “Child Free Events” are your opportunity to be free from some of your normal daily responsibilities. It also provides a distraction free time for everyone to focus on the spiritual purpose of the event. Thank you for your cooperation and consideration.