the retreat

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the retreat was a blessing.

it gave me a chance to catch up with everyone, since everyone came, except my sis Steph. It all began with the 2 way walky-talkies. After a while with asking each other “can you hear me?”, we were finally off driving within 2 miles of eachother, talking about nonsense. Perze drove and Rogie drove. In perze’s car, sarena and michelle basically slept while i was still finishing the powerpoint presentation that Perze made.

We made in safely to Blackrock Retreat and cozied into our rooms, afterwards to meet up in the main sanctuary. I shared the room with Michelle, Reen, and Lheila [who came saturday morning courtesy boyfriend]. I missed the first devotion and the pastoral report because i was needed in the children’s room. Teya helped me that first night by taking care of those 5-below while i took 6+. I taught the kids about unity, about family, about the Trinity, about Love. I drew them lots of diagrams and had a nice prayer circle at the end of the lesson where all they had to do was simply take turns during the prayer, to tell to the Lord, “I love you.” It’s funny how we grow up and end up saying so many words to God, when sometimes, the sweetest words end up to be the three sweetest words we too long to hear: “I love you.”
At the end of the night, before going back up to join the adults, Darielle asked me to look at her and see if she was teaching my lesson correctly. She took a marker and started teaching me what i taught her. It made me smile, cuz i knew she had understood it.

That night ended with volleyball…and volleyball…then afterwards, the youth played catch phrase, got into trouble with Kuya Popoy and moved on upstairs. After a while, Reen, chelle and I ended up telling poop stories. Then we had a good catch up talk with Rommel, and his desires for the future. Around 2-3, the girls ended up going back to the room and shared personal questions, about love, about people, about ourselves…it was a nice sharing. we even talked about marriage. imagine that…

It was really hard getting up in the morning, but the bacon called to me. With pajamas still on, perze and i headed to the main sanctuary for praise and worship. Perze led praise in his pajamas, LOLS…it was so cute. Pastor Frank gave a compelling message about unity in the church. I was so awake for his message, despite my fatigue. Afterwards, we had breakfast, then another devotion which i held with my students, accompanied by Ate Grace. The kids ended up making tambourines out of paper plates which they were going to use for their special number that night. They also learned, “It’s Me, who builds a family.” Then we ate lunch, had siesta [when i got to plug in my shower], while the girls slept. Finally, the long awaited game time. First, volleyball, team green won!! woo hoo!! Then the indoor games were soooo funny. I think the funniest one was with Darielle, Bunny, Aia, and Leon who had to hoolahoop the longest. It was so close between Bunny and Darielle…but Darielle won. hahah.
The best tho, was when we had to get into our teams and write the names of the vegetables to “Bahay Kubo”…and i told rims that her vegetable was wrong, that it should have been broccoli. hahah…she actually believed me and was about to change it. hahaha. oh man.

Afterwards, we had the talent night. Everyone did soooooo well, i was so impressed that these were people from my church…so creative! I had so much fun leading the kids to “Roll over the ocean”…wow!! they were going crazy! The adults Dr. Christian skit was hilarious…i was seriously laffing out loud. The youth did well too, and the young married couples…but the “not so youth” did amazing with their high tech skit…c’mon…hands down every year…they don’t fail to amuse!!!! Great job guys…to the Tian family and SiraUlo…hahhah…lastly on talent nite, i have to add my special number with Perze, in which we sang “You Are So Faithful.” Kuya Darius gave a great sarcastic, leading to, comforting, and assuming, alluding introduction that after the song is “the married”…perze and i just pretended that we oblivious…

We had one more devotion time which i went downstairs again with the kids…it was more towards the quiet time so ate grace gave them a story of the prodigal son, and i taught them songs to quiet them down before they went upstairs to join their parents for bedtime. By just day two, there were some kids who was very distant to me in the beginning, but by this time, a lot of them were coming up to me for a hug, or attention…some even volunteering to help…it was so sweet…i really love the kids in my church. i really don’t know how they can love me. While the adults retreated back into their rooms for night time, the youth stayed in the main conference room where we were given a sermon by Pastor Frank where he challenged us to really live for Christ. Despite everyone’s sleepiness, we all stayed for Pstr.’s invitation for those willing to commit their lives for God…and most of us were confused whether it was for salvation or recommitment…so only a few went up…after the prayer i heard that Icho was shaking while he stood up for the invitation…and while the pastor prayed over him…i’m so amazed by these young people cuz i remember when i was their age, i was soooo convicted just as they were, and i know that God has so much in plan for them, it’s unbelievable to fathom what they’re in store for, but i praise God for their courage to stand, their courage in faith, and their longing to know Christ even at a young age…what God is doing in their lives really move me. They are the sweetest fruits.

Afterwards, we ended up praying for Melody since it was her birthday…we all laid hands upon her, and ended up crying cuz she is really special to us…[special as in loving, not kellogs]…and we can really see God’s faithfulness through her. How sweet the night was.

You’d think we’d all be tired by now…Night two ended up in our room [which smelled like feet]. Since we had the food, everyone gathered there and just sat around talking, laffing, what not until it got very late and everyone decided to go to sleep. I too fell asleep under my haze of crazy tiredness…only to be awakened by the three noisy kittens in my room, sarena, michelle, and lheila. They were laffing like crazy, and once i woke up, they barraged me with questions about relationships…hahah…then we all ended up talking about two other topics that was pretty funny too…*secret*

Sunday Morning was the worst in trying to wake up. We first had breakfast and were a little late for the service. I was able to hear the message since teya and ate grace took care of the kids…i was finally able to breathe and rest to hear another message, which i really praise God for. His messenger talked about family and in the end gave an invitation to the families, to the parents, to the young people…it was so moving…i looked around and thought about my own family, how i wished they were there…how i wished we could pray together…how i wished we can all change together…I was so blessed also when i saw Emman [one of the boys from our youth] go up to his siblings and ask them to go with him to the front, then go up by himself. Later on, i saw his sibling join him while Kuya Popoy prayed over them. Then Perze and I approached the front to be prayed over…it felt so peaceful.

After the service, we had lunch. then packed up. then headed home. i came home with so many blessings, so many pictures in my head, so many desires, and great memories…i think that it really strengthened our church family…but more, it strengthened the bond within our youth group…old and new…i really was able to see ourselves again as a family.

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