YOUTH RETREAT 2015
The Youth Retreat took place from Friday 17th April to Sunday 19th April 2015, and it was themed ‘Activate!’ The focus was on activating God’s purposes for our lives. The aim was to help the youth understand that at whatever age or level they are, the purpose of God for our lives remain this: “…to be molded into the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29) and that every day and every season of our lives, God is working something in us which is ultimately to fulfil that purpose.
The theme was based on Romans 8:28: “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labour] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” (Romans 8:28 AMP)
In attendance were 52 youth of all ages. The majority of the attendees were youth from GHIC, but we also had some of our friends from London and Yeovil join us. It was the highest total number we’ve had in 5 years of youth retreats and the highest number of attendees from outside GHIC.
The retreat took place at the purpose-built Hill House Christian Centre in Bridgwater, Somerset. The weekend was a mix of teaching sessions, group discussions, prayers, games, and spontaneous activity.
We started out on Friday settling into our accommodation, but before long, the youth had invaded the Games Room and were getting competitive playing table tennis, table football, connect 4 etc.
Saturday started bright and early with devotion led by Dr. Bisola Ezobi. She exhorted us to step out into God’s purpose for our lives as the children of Israel had to step into the Jordan, getting their feet wet before they saw God’s hand at work as he parted the river for them to walk on dry land.
After the devotion, some exercise and a hearty breakfast, we were ready to start the first full day of the retreat.
Brother Jon Mousah joined us for the day and through a very interactive first session, he taught us how God knew our purpose before we were formed in our mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5), and how that purpose is tied to being Christ-like.
Dotun Adeyemo, one of the older youth, took the next session, and with a very intriguing story about a son whose father set him a task to go on a purpose-seeking journey, he showed us that often purpose is found only as we consult the ‘manufacturer’ – God.
Pastors Tope and Bisola Ezobi took us through the Bible in another interactive session. We explored why God made us, what abilities He gave us to fulfil His purpose for us and how we should be tying both together.
Pastors Osien and Fatima Sibanda also joined us that afternoon; Pastor Osien took us through the need to activate God’s purpose for our lives. We looked at what our purpose is at different stages of our lives and in different contexts – family, friendships etc. we also looked at some the things that could stop us from fulfilling our purpose at various times.
Pastor Fatima Sibanda led us in a powerful time of prayer. It was a session where we literally saw the Holy Spirit at work. It was beautiful to see people praying and being prayed for as we asked for God’s help to rise and fulfil purpose and to overcome hindrances to doing so.
During the day we also had a picnic lunch, after which a game of football saw the boys narrowly missing being beaten by the girls!
The day’s sessions were rounded up with our gender-split ‘Candour sessions’, where people were able to raise different questions and hear real, no-holds-barred answers in a safe environment.
Later that night we lit a large campfire, sang songs, danced, roasted marshmallows, ate pizza, heard testimonies from some of the youth, and prayed together.
Sunday kicked off with the morning devotion led by Brother Jonathan Bullen, who encouraged us yet again in our growth towards Christlikeness while sharing his experiences.
The Sunday service began with an inspirational time of praise and worship and powerful prayers inspired by words of knowledge from some of the youth. Kemi Adetoro took the final session of teaching as she shared on how God made and then also bought us, thus confirming that He has a plan for our lives. She exhorted the youth to walk with the Holy Spirit so as not to end up ‘re-purposing’ their lives in a way that’s different from God’s intention.
All in all, we had an amazing time. The camaraderie across all ages and with guest attendees was great. It was clear that no one wanted the weekend to end! We’re already looking forward to the next one and we trust that between now and then, we will be walking in God’s purpose for their lives daily.
A few of the messages shared on the Retreat Whatsapp group after the event:
“Thank you all for such an outstanding weekend, I was so blessed…I forgot what it was like to be in a place where God’s presence was so tangible. And the lessons…pwoar! It was a weekend I’ll probably never forget.”
“…I wanted to say a big thank you for having me with you guys this weekend, and also for making me feel so welcome. Iot was an amazing time and I felt so much love from you all…”
“I’ve never felt safe/secure in such an environment to be transparent and vulnerable like I have been this weekend. Thank you all.x”
“Hallelujah! We thank God for such an awesome weekend. I think lots of people will agree when I say I definitely want to go again next year. Feeling very blessed and inspired.”
“Good times people. Well done all. Nice to be with you all. I second using the same venue. Nice bonfire and sports facilities. God bless”
View more photos here
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