As 67 kids poured into the church on Friday night, it was quite clear that so many people had been praying for that moment and the next 24 hours to follow. Everyone seemed to be filled with joy and excitment, anxious to find out what God had in store for our weekend.
After eating pizza, and socializing for a few moments the kids went up to the sanctuary to listen to Ben give an energetic sermon about the Devil wanting to ruin our lives. He made sure we understood that we needed to have all of our armor.....not just a helmet and a sheild, but ALL pieces.
Then the time came to go to bed. Well, some people used the opportunity to sleep, others found that it was a good time to talk!!
Eggs, pancakes, sausage, and bacon made up our delicous and filling breakfast! We would need it to stay energized for our long, spiritually strengthening day that God had planned for us!!
Mike Strickland woke us up with his talk about social media and electronics. He gave us some very disturbing facts about what the world is coming to today. He warned us that when you watch garbage on TV and listen to garbage music, guess what, garbage is going to start coming out of your mouth.
Joe then took the stage and talked to us about our armor and told us that God judges us based on the inside not what is on the outside. It doesn't matter if we're short, if our hair isn't straight, or if we aren't the most beautiful girl in school. What God looks at is our heart.
The girls went over to the Abbe parsonage and listened to Amanda and Leanna and Kim give a very emotional and moving talk on modesty and purity. They told us that God would lead us to our husband, and He knows exactly who we are going to marry. We were warned not to have sex until we were married, that is the way God wants it to be.
We were fed a snack to keep us moving. This was also a time for us to think about everything that we had taken in so far. Every speaker was amazing....if only we knew how much better it was going to get as the day went on!!
After our bellies were re-energized, there was a time for us to ask any questions we had about everything we had learned. Some great questions and amazing answers!
More food!! Lunch time went along with a time to take a nap or go to the gym and get some energy out.
Scott Bensink told us all about the dangers of money and credit cards. We learned that the things that make us happy in life are not things that any amount of money can buy us....they are things that come from God, like love, blessings, and faith.
We had a chance to sing and dance to some crazy Bible School songs!! This was a fun time to move around before our next speaker.
Scott Aikens opened our eyes by telling us that each and every one of us has some type of special gift or talent from God. He told us that God has things planned for our lives that are too amazing for us to even imagine!! We need to use our talents and gifts to honor God!!
More food!!! Ice cream sundaes with a countless amount of toppings!! At this point we had only begun to see the amazing, life-changing, heart-moving things God had planned for us. The constant prayer from the whole community was definitly helpful.
Mike Cerula talked to us about putting on our full armour and being ready to handle whatever the devil trys to throw at us. He gave many examples of miracles he had witnessed and told us that we can't let people who are not Christians pull us down and convince us that God doesn't matter.
We then had another panel. Even more questions were asked this time and some pretty good advice was given to us. The adults said that they were blown away with some questions being asked. "How do I know what God's plan for me is?" "How do I know if God and I are on the same page?"
Dinner time. Both our bodies and our souls were well fed this weekend.
When we came back from dinner,we had the most amazing praise band! They were enthusiastic for Christ, and led us in many praise and worship songs. It was absolutely amazing to look around and see 65 kids with raised hands, closed eyes, and clapping to the music!!
Then came the time for Erin, Roy, and Ken to each wrap up the speaking part of the weekend (definitely not the spiritual part!!!!). Each of them added a little bit to everything that we had learned. They must have had a way of really humbling and softening our hearts, because what was about to follow was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.
Erin, Roy, Ken, and Ben went up to altar and prayed. They said if anybody would like to go up and be prayed over, go ahead. It started with one person. One person got up, then a few more, then a few more, and next thing you knew there were 5 or 6 huddles of prayer around the church. Everywhere you looked you would see groups of people praying. Everyone was out of their seat involved in prayer. Not only was there tons of prayer at that moment, but tears.....so many tears of happiness being poured out because of different reasons, at that moment some people accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, some people were drawn closer to Him than ever before, some people were simply experiencing the love of Christ fill them. At that point it was clear that God was really busy that weekend. If that wasn't enough, when we were all back to our seats they asked if anybody would like to stand up and say anything. A couple people went forward with tear filled eyes saying thank you, or that they had really felt the Holy Spirit in them, but when two girls went forward and said that they had never felt so loved before and they had never thought that anything could be so amazing, if you werent crying before, you were at that point!! No words will ever be able to describe the feelings and emotions and that were felt over the weekend (especially at the end), it was obvious that the Call of Duty Teens on Fire Retreat was filled with prayer and the Holy Spirit.
Thank you so much to everybody that helped in any way!!!!