so sunday we came back from our annual youth retreat
it was really quite amazing, esp. since things were so last minute, like the venue. but we ended up getting this really adorable shore house that housed all 21 of us. one thing that i liked about the weekend was just the looniness of everyone, from the “relocation” jokes that basically set up the tone of the weekend. it ended up being a weekend of inside jokes…
but that’s not really the most amazing part. you know, i’ve worked w/ these youths since i was 18, probably younger…
and now, in just a couple of days, i will be 28…that’s a long time to invest in someones. but i’m really thankful that God allowed me to stay and devote to this ministry, when life sometimes can take you from point A to a very far point B. but i still remember some of these youths since they were 11, some younger…and now to see them grow in their faith, is humbling. and some of them, i’ve only gotten to know in a few years, some of them even hating me…haha.
but now they’re going to college, highschool…
but anyways, nostalgia aside, this weekend was about leadership and how they’re at the fringes…the entrance of their own ministry circles- and not just in the church sense. the last night, i gave the lesson and it was a bit personal because we read how paul was passing down his ministries, laying it down because he knew he was almost going to die. but he gave this beautiful passage, straight on, accurately writing how he felt about how he lived his life, and i could not but help imagine just what it means to live a life glorifying God. and i told them that i would be proud to have at one time led a bunch of youths, and see them grow older and mature in their faith and in leadership- in their work, their families, their church…imagine how that would be like?
i really expect a lot from them. i don’t know if that’s right. and i don’t expect them to be perfect.
but i honestly care about each one of them. the last night, i gave a simple exercise, and for some reason, it got very emotional. without music or anything i said. then during our prayer time, it escalated even more and i just played the guitar…and let the spirit move…
afterwards, the quietness lingered and people were still weeping. so i let them go outside where they all ended up fellowshipping. it was nice that God gave us a place with a pretty river right outside, and a moonlight that lit the backyard.
crying aside, during my lesson, rogie started cooking his plague chips. i didn’t notice because i was paying attention to what i was saying, but then we all started hearing laughter from 2 of the girls sitting next to each other. turns out they started laughing because they found themselves crying over rogie cooking. i guess they felt humbled about how much rogie cares about the youth.
crying aside, i was really happy with how this year’s retreat was taught. perze and lei helped teaching which made it a lot easier. there was one day when i wasn’t teaching at all, and one day when rogie wasn’t teaching at all…perze and rog taught one day, and the other day was lei and me. then one of the youths led a movie discussion about esther. and each night we had a combined group lesson. it just made things easier, esp. since we brought em too…so perze and i were taking turns taking care of her.
speaking of emma. the weekend was such a good experience for her, having stayed 4 days with the same people. so she got a good opportunity to socialize- plus she loved the river right outside where she threw a large number of little stones. plus we were able to bring her to the beach everyday. speaking of the beach, since we went to some obscure shorehouse, we ended up going to a less popular shore, which actually benefitted us all the more since it wasn’t at all crowded! plus, the waves were immense! the weekend was perfect for it. and the youth actually preferred that beach, minus the funnel cake.
there were a lot of good memories. i think it was good for them…esp. being able to fellowship w/ each for 4 days, which i know they all needed. i was really blessed…and i’m really thankful. it’s just another stepping stone. i wish i could’ve taped all the lessons…(aside from all the “other” videos we took that weekend).
for the ybs who wanted to read the retreat testimonies: YB RETREAT REFLECTIONS
YB Leadership Retreat @ Little Egg Harbor Township shore house. 19 participants.