Last weekend SPO and FOCUS hosted retreats for our student leaders. We had separate Men’s and Women’s retreats and both events were very fruitful for both the students and the leaders. The women headed to Camp Vacamas, a retreat center and summer camp west of Seton Hall for a weekend of prayer, small groups, worship, talks, and social time. Although many women had a challenging time coming on the retreat (a lot of women had big tests, papers, or projects next week), the women that did make it were blessed with peace and a great weekend of growing in following the Lord.
As part of the retreat, I gave a talk on fears that can keep women from growing in their relationship with the Lord. I presented the women with six questions to ask themselves about their own fears and things that hold them back in their faith. We met in small groups throughout the weekend to continue talking about the things that keep us from God. Many of the women were challenged by these questions and reflected on ways that fighting the lies that they believe because of these fears can help them grow in their faith. The vulnerability and trust that the women had with one another was incredible and will help them throughout the year as they continue to share their faith journeys.
I really enjoyed helping plan, run, and talk at the retreat. It was one of the most rewarding and life-giving things I have done so far in my ministry work. Throughout the weekend, I imagined what it would be like to run retreats all the time. Towards the end of the retreat, though, I had a realization: the important part of this retreat is not the retreat itself, it is the community and continued growth. The reason that the retreat is so beneficial is because it is a jumping off point for the rest of the year of spiritual growth. The small group that I met with during the retreat is the same small group that I will be meeting with throughout the year. The entire group of women will continue to pray with and for each other as they meet throughout the year. This was not just a one-and-done retreat. This was not just a summer camp or a yearly event, this was one more way to push the women further in their spiritual life and love of Christ, as they continue to grow throughout college. What a blessing it is for me to have a part in that journey, and a journey it is, not just a weekend-long retreat.
There are more pictures to come when I get them from the student photographers. This is the only one I took on my phone. I’ll post them as soon as I get them!