The Young Adult Retreat at Camp Allegheny in Ellwood City, Pa., is the only place I would have wanted to spend the last official weekend of summer.
Young adults from the Empire, NEOSA, SWONEKY, and WEPASA divisions came together to connect with God and with each other in many different ways. It was a relaxed weekend with great worship leaders, great speakers, and great fellowship.
Marty Mikles and Phil Laeger, special musical guests, led us in worship. Having spirit–filled worship leaders was a huge deal to me because I am a music–oriented person and that is how I often connect to God best. But worshiping through music with other believers my age was a rare and wonderful experience for me.
During the worship services, Marc Eckel, a visual artist, made a beautiful painting of Jesus by using only his hands and four colors of paint. It was great to see that we can use our talents to glorify God and to encourage other people in uncommon ways.
Steve Carter, teaching pastor at Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and Major Larry Ashcraft, SWONEKY divisional commander, were the guest speakers. Each meeting seemed particularly anointed and ended with large numbers of my peers praying and worshiping at the altar.
On Saturday morning as Carter taught about reconciliation, one thing really spoke to me. It was a simple prayer he suggested when you are unsure how to move forward. “Lord, may you father me through this,” he said. “I don’t know how to do it.”
This approach to prayer was relevant to me because many of us are in a place where we have to figure things out on our own and make decisions that will influence the rest of our lives. I saw this as a prayer that could mend a broken relationship and help in many other areas of life.
I loved the entire weekend—from the food, to the music, to the guest speakers, and to staying up really late and talking with new friends. This was a wonderful getaway from the responsibilities of life and a spiritual renewal to better prepare me for “normal” life.
“The Gathering,” a young adult retreat at the Wonderland Conference Center in Sharon, Mass., was a much–needed weekend for the young adults of the Massachusetts, Northern New England, and Southern New England divisions.
As a fourth–generation Salvationist from the Massachusetts Division, I was reminded of the wonderful family of believers that I have in The Salvation Army.
An important part of this weekend was the interest groups, which provided an opportunity for us to learn more about the problem of human trafficking, Christian relationships, the Holy Spirit, and more. Someone passionate about a particular subject led a group discussion on that subject. Each leader’s passion shone through as they brought these subjects to life.
Our time of worship, led by the music group TransMission, really spoke to me. Each time they played for us, they brought the Word to life. As they played, you could feel the Holy Spirit moving as people prayed, raised their hands in praise, and listened for what God had to say to them.
On Sunday morning our speaker Jim Sparks, said, “It’s not about the weekend; it’s about making life–altering decisions.”
Being able to attend a young adult retreat like The Gathering is important because we get to share ideas with fellow Christians. Going somewhere with someone who’s 60 is different from being with people our age, where we can actually be ourselves.
During the weekend, Cornell Jordan really stood out to me. He is an amazing speaker.
I learned more about God from that weekend than I have in my entire life!
As members of the Brockton, Mass., Corps, we absolutely see fruit from the weekend in our corps and in our lives. We’ve also grown closer in our relationships. The retreat helped us to focus on God first. Regardless of how ill equipped we may feel, He has “got us.”
The song “Your Love Never Fails,” it has became our anthem at the corps.
As a young couple, we’ve been praying for God to reveal to us whether we are meant for each other. We feel a strong calling to ministry. He made that clear.