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2013 Youth Retreat

You may remember a post from last April about the formation of a youth committee in the church (and then again, you may not, so here’s the link! Some of the youth from the church on their own initiative organized themselves into a group called N.O.V.A., which (when translated from the French) stands for a New Orientation Towards the Future. It has been an incredible blessing to observe them engaging the things that have been poured into them over the years and taking initiative in the church and community.

This year, they undertook the annual youth retreat held during the period of Carnaval (perhaps better known to some of you as Mardi Gras). They did an excellent job! How different it was for the administrative staff to play mere advising and supporting roles as these developing young leaders took charge of the planning and executing of the retreat. Here is a brief re-cap:

The theme of the retreat was about setting and pursuing objectives. For young people, this is quite a popular topic in Haiti. Wilson Cupidon, who started with Lemuel near the beginning as one of its young leaders, spoke to the youth from God’s Word about their objectives in life. I don’t have a picture of him speaking, but he is seated below holding the microphone while overseeing one of the round table sessions. These round table discussions allowed the youth to ask questions and to dialogue about the things they were learning.

In addition to the Bible study, the youth were privy to the experience and counsel of others on various topics. Cupidon’s wife, Gela, advised them about matters of etiquette when in certain public places and situations. Petion (who also served as a young leader in Lemuel alongside of Cupidon) gave a discourse about the rights and responsibilities of a citizen.

Besides being a setting for learning and growing spiritually and socially, retreat is FUN!! There was plenty of joyful singing.

(I edited, re-edited, re-edited and then tried, tried, and tried again all day (literally) to upload a video of this year’s theme song. I’m afraid I must report an epic FAIL. The internet just would not cooperate.)

There were also a variety of games which provided opportunities for friendly competition between teams. This one is a bit of a classic: A) take the bottom cut off a plastic bottle and fill it with water from a bucket,

B) run as fast (but as gingerly) as you can to the other end of the field…

…where your teammate is waiting with trepidation, holding a bottle on their head (apparently only the girls were brave enough),

C) pour the water carefully into the bottle. If you think its funny to get your teammate all wet, that wasted water may cost you the game, since the first team to fill the bottle wins!

I had fun teaching them how to play “Four on a Couch.” Unfortunately, we had a lot of people (all of whom had never played before) and not enough time, so we never did fill up our couch. However, Agape (pronounced ah-gah-pay…or just “the red team”) won with two.

And of course, there is always the highly anticipated soccer tournament.

Agape and Lumiere (or “the yellow team”) are gearing up for their turn.

Agape was also the winner of this particular match.

Closing night there was special program featuring entertainment by the young people themselves, as well as a quiz competition, which included questions from the retreat’s sessions.

Certainly, there were plenty of surprise games and laughter as well.

Beware of what you volunteer for, or you may end up on the floor…

Can you guess the scenario?

…or attached by a string to the mouth of another person! The point of this one was to gobble up the string as fast as you could to reach the candy in the middle (no hands, obviously). Much to the relief of many, Wiltha got there first, expertly avoiding any Lady-and-the-Tramp-spaghetti-scene moments.

Manis (representing Lemuel) and Samuel (representing the church committee) each offered a few words of encouragement to the youth.

You probably noticed all the kids wearing different colored pinnies. Every year, all the participants in retreat are divided into four teams. Points are awarded due to a variety of reasons, including for behavior and for winning competitions. The team with the most points wins a special honor and prizes. You may have been able to predict that this year it would be Agape.

We praise God for what we see Him doing among the youth. Please pray with us that this momentum would continue, that God would persist in moving in their hearts, stirring up in them a desire to know Him and follow hard after Him. Pray that the Spirit of God would use what was spoken from God’s Word during the retreat to produce fruit in their lives.

Pray especially for NOVA. One day, they will be the leaders in this church and community. Please help us in praying that God would not only grow them in maturity, competency, and leadership skills, but that He would also develop in them a true desire to serve and glorify Him, along with humility, love, wisdom and unity.

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