A Manantiales of Healing – Youth Retreat
By Merlin M. | Short Term Volunteer
The word “manantiales” in Spanish means spring and the word seems fitting to describe the youth retreat of Ciudad Refugio which took place from November 10-12, 2018. The youth and leadership team had a chance to get away from their normal responsibilities and ministry to just have a chance to relax, spend time with God and each other. The youth leadership team did an excellent job in planning the entire retreat and it provided a good mix of activities and time with the Lord.
We arrived at the retreat on Saturday afternoon and after settling into what would be our rooms for the next couple of nights; we spent time some playing an intense game of football. (I should clarify that the others played an intense game of football while I screamed every time the ball came near me.) Following, we had dinner and then Rebekah shared a powerful lesson on healing. During the lesson, we were each given a rag and at the end of the lesson, we got a chance to write what we individually needed healing from and nail it to an actual cross! It was a powerful moment for all!
Sunday was a unique day because it was the first time that the youth had a separate service apart from the rest of the congregation. The morning was spent in time for praise and worship and David shared a powerful word. He began by asking: “When was the last time you cried?” And by the end of his message, many youth were touched and wept before the Lord. It truly was a beautiful time in the presence of the Lord. The afternoon consisted of volleyball, swimming and tie-dye crafts. In the evening, we spent time with the Lord and Gustavo taught on having passion and fire for Christ. It was an inspiring teaching that the youth needed to hear.
Monday was the last day of the retreat! In the morning, Erika taught a beautiful lesson on how our inheritance in Christ comes through faith and how we all need to share the hope we have with others. The afternoon was special because Pastor Douglas and Marilu came and spent time with the youth. Once again, there was a super competitive game of football; this time with Pastor Douglas leading a team. It was great to see everyone involved in the game; and to even see a few goals scored by Pastor Douglas himself. (Though I do have to say, some of the goals were handballs. But according to Pastor Douglas, there were no handballs but I have a problem with my sight.) The retreat ended with a timely teaching and passionate prayer from Pastor Douglas that summed up everything that was previously shared and taught over the course of the previous days. We truly felt the healing and powerful presence of God during this time!
Overall, it was a great experience to spend time with the youth and to see God begin a work of healing in many lives. It was inspiring to hear the youth reflect on their time at the retreat on how God spoke to their hearts and their takeaways. Some shared that they learned about faith, that is alright to be vulnerable, how God wants to heal us, and what it means to be a child of God. I know that the retreat is just the start of what God is looking to do in the lives of this next generation. My prayer is that the work that God began in their hearts would grow and spring forth to provide much fruit and that these youngsters would shine the hope and light of Christ to all those around them.