The Way – Young Adult Retreat 2023
The Territorial Young Adult Retreat happens every three years with the purpose of having young adults from across the territory between the ages of 18-35 come together for a weekend of worship, word, and fellowship. This year around 375 young adults gathered at the Kalahari Resort in the Poconos, PA, to hear from speakers – Captain Darell Houseton, Erin Morgan, Captain Gilberto Rivera, and Captain Jessica Kelly and to worship with UNBOUND & MOVE. The weekend’s theme was The Way based on John 14:6, which says “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
The weekend kicked off on Friday evening with a session titled – “Choose your Own Adventure: The Salvation Army and Emerging Adults,” held by Major Paul Cain – the director of the Salvation Army Student Center at Asbury University. He explained his use of the term “emerging adults” to describe the young college students that he ministers with, and he shared insight into the ways this age group connects with their church and their faith. Later that night, the main session, titled THE WAY ushered us into a time of worship and movement with a MOVE & UNBOUND worship & dance piece to the song of ‘Praise’. The night went on with a powerful word shared by Captain Darell Houseton and the challenge to find rest and be productive in Jesus! The night ended with small groups, where the young adults were able to sit around the table, enjoy snacks, and be part of a conversation to process what they were hearing from the Lord.
Saturday was a full day of teaching with two main sessions, small group conversations, a panel discussion with some important leaders, and some fun free time spent at the Kalahari Waterpark and the gaming zone that was set up by Captain Chris Williams from the NEOSA Division. Captain Williams introduced the idea of USA East Gaming which is a video game ministry that many Corps around the territory have become a part of. The space was set up with monitors, gaming systems and some comfy couches to enjoy conversations about this exciting ministry.
The Saturday morning session was titled THE TRUTH where a beautiful picture of Jesus and his love for us was depicted through the teachings of Erin Morgan. After dinner, a panel discussion was held where some important questions were submitted by the young adults and they were given a chance to hear from their leaders and different people throughout the ranks of the Army. The night culminated in a beautiful multicultural worship service in the next session titled, THE LIFE. It began with prayer in different languages, a teaching by Captain Gilberto Rivera about how to live an ALL IN life for Jesus and a powerful worship time led by UNBOUND where delegates were pleasantly surprised with a Spanish Corito Medley that had everyone including Commissioner Lorraine Bamford on stage, dancing and praising the Lord.
Sunday Morning started right off with a small group breakfast where delegates were able to share their last thoughts and pray together with their small groups before the main meeting. Sunday Morning Holiness Meeting, titled THE FATHER, was the perfect way to end a transformative weekend with a powerful word shared by Captain Jessica Kelly. We were challenged to trust Jesus enough to know that we are saved by his grace and mercy – there’s nothing we need to do to earn this.
Sunday, September 24th, 2023 was also the International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking, Senior Soldier Raissa DiCaterina from the GNY Division led us in a beautiful time of prayer in observance of this important issue. Delegates were asked to take a grain of rice in representation of someone in their community and pray over them as they went to the front to place stickers on the maps to see how many communities where represented in the room. Before the worship service ended Major Antonio Rosamilia and Major Rohan Gage led a time of response where delegates who felt the call to officership were asked to come to the stage and 21 young adults from around the Eastern Territory answered that call from the Lord.
It was a beautiful weekend that impacted many lives and we continue to pray for the transformation that is still happening in the lives of these young adults as they return to their communities and continue to see Christ as the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE.