We stayed at the gorgeous retreat center in the middle of nowhere and had the whole lodge to ourselves. It was the perfect homey and comfy atmosphere to build community and friendships with each other. This was the first year we have created our own leadership camp and we focused more on helping the teens grow personally and as a community in their faith, rather than being skills focused. We were blessed to have several youth ministry alumni join us for the week too; they each took turns sharing their own testimony, leading sessions, and kept us on our toes with some insane icebreakers. My favorite sessions we did were on evangelization and how to pray with another person.
When talking about evangelization we looked to the Gospels for specific, concrete examples of how Jesus evangelized the people He encountered; what made His style different and impactful? We brainstormed together all the different pieces of the Good News we believe in or have experienced in our own lives. I don't know about you, but I sure was impressed what we came up with! Then every person had 3-5 minutes to share their testimony and how they have experienced the Good News in their own life. Holy.Moses. I was blown.away. at the depth and raw honesty of these teens. They were so real and authentic; some were so passionate in talking they began to cry...nothing is more amazing than seeing and hearing how Jesus works in people's lives. #bestthingever
Our last night at camp we talked about Scripture verses of the early Christians praying together and laying on of hands; what its important and why we disciples shouldn't be scared outta our socks to pray with another person. After discussion and sharing, we headed to the chapel on site for an evening of Eucharistic Adoration with worship music.
All of us got opportunities to pray with two other people, and then have them pray over you. One of the girls told me afterwards it felt like the Holy Spirit was weaving us all together as a community in all of us being open/vulnerable to pray with each other.
Our final session of camp was a giant affirmation circle where we took time to affirm and love one every teen and adult that was present. Can't think of a better way to end 4 days together.
And as we finished our affirmation circle and did another round of hugs, God reminded me gently that His plans always always are better than mine; even if that means I have to let go of plans/dreams I had to accept a new one. Which go figure, happens more than I would like.
Sure I was quite frustrated when the burgers for dinner turned out kinda nasty or when the half can of lighter fluid couldn't do jack to light wet firewood...but somehow it all worked out. God was crazy present...great things happened...we laughed, cried, and prayed together.
Sometimes when we let go and let God, amazing things happen....
|love these crazy, beautiful souls :)|