Event Update: Youth Winter Retreat
I can’t think of many things that get me more excited than watching the Lord work in the lives of young men and women that I have the privilege of interacting with. It especially brings me so much joy to look around a room filled with a hundred-something students and see over a dozen hands raised, symbolizing a decision to follow God and trust in Him with their life. This picture is a tiny glimpse of what the Lord did at our annual Youth Winter Retreat last weekend.
As we prepared for the retreat this year, we sensed the Lord leading us to do things a little differently than we have ever done before. We decided to approach the subject of Biblical femininity and masculinity. For us, this meant planning a separate speaker for both the young women and the young men. Essentially, we created two separate retreats on the campus at Rock Mountain Bible Camp in Northern PA.
The men’s speaker, Doug Pruitt, taught with conviction, passion, and honesty. I can already see that our young men have been challenged and encouraged to take their faith to another level as they step up and fulfill their role as young men in our congregation.
Susan Wood, a long time servant here at Reston Bible, was our speaker for the women. The girls looked up to her wisdom, knowledge, and excitement regarding being a woman of God. Many of them realized their value as a princess of the King and have been inspired to be more of a life-giver and helper to others around them.
Our prayer as the students settle back into their daily routines, filled with one busy activity after the other, is this: that as young men and women in the faith, they would continue to look to the Lord for their guidance and identity, so that the current culture would not distract them or lead them astray. We also pray that every leader in the youth ministry here at RBC would continue to encourage and hold every student accountable for what the Lord has begun in their heart over this Winter Retreat weekend. We want our students to continue to bear fruit as they grow in their faith.
Here are some of the stories of what the Lord did in the lives of our students on the Winter Retreat:
She said before the retreat she liked to think that women and men were interchangeable in every role – that she didn’t need a man to do anything for her. That she could do anything a man could do, and better. But throughout the weekend the Lord spoke to her, softened her heart, and made her realize that men and women are different. They’re not created for the same roles, but that doesn’t mean they are not equally as significant or powerful in God’s eyes. Something happened in her heart. She gave her life over to the Lord and accepted her role as a woman of God – a life giver. She says something significant she learned over the retreat was this: “I have nothing to fear, for the Warrior fights for me!”
Before camp he didn’t really care to live for God at all. He was apathetic, and he knew it. He didn’t try to change it. But then the Lord started working in his heart and he knew something was going to happen over the retreat. He was ready to let the Lord begin to change His life. After camp he found an accountability partner. He cleaned out his heart, and cleaned out his room. He decided to spend time with the Lord every morning. He reminds himself everyday not to deny his devotion. He has had the greatest time with God that He’s ever had. His final declaration after the retreat: “I’m all in!”
She came into the retreat negative and pessimistic about the subject. In fact, she almost didn’t come at all! But she sensed the Lord drawing her there and wondered why, expecting to learn nothing of importance to her life. However, the Lord had a plan for her, and fulfilled it by working in her heart in small but significant ways. On the last day of camp she declared to all of the women, “This week I discovered that I am a princess of the Almighty King. This means that I need to reign as a princess! What a privilege that I never realized before. So this week I resolved that I want to be the coolest princess that there ever was.”
Many of our young women recognized a need to trust God more with their lives. Here are some of their responses on the subject:
“I need to really put my trust in God.”
“I need to trust that God will not fail me.”
“God is the only One that I can trust wholeheartedly, and I need to work on this.”
“I need to trust Him with EVERYTHING in my life, and not just parts of it.”
“God has led me to trust Him with my life & put ALL my trust in Him.”
“I realized my need for God’s control in my daily life.”
Many of our young men recognized a need to step up and take responsibility for their actions. Here are some of their responses:
“With supportive friends by our sides, we must stand up for Christ like He did for us on the cross.”
“God has told me to step up and do things myself, not to wait for others to do it for me.”
“I have resolved to step up at school and do the right thing even if no one is looking. And when people are looking I will do the right thing as well. I will not be afraid of peer pressure of rejection because I know God is there to support me.”
“I was challenged to step up as a leader and live righteously all of the time!”
“God is leading me to take every action to invest eternally and not just live for myself.”
A final prayer from one of our young men, striving to become a Godly man:
“Please pray that I can pursue a deeper, closer relationship with the Lord, and that I will apply all that I’ve learned this weekend without giving up.”
Will you pray this prayer with us, for all our teens?
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