A Refreshing Retreat (Ashley Hong)
As one of the college ministry leaders, I felt a great burden to not only prepare a great retreat for my peers, but also to prepare myself. Sure, it would be great to make sure that everyone would thoroughly enjoy this retreat, but if I myself am not in a place to wholly worship God, how could I encourage others to? A college retreat should be fun to keep the brothers and sisters motivated and awake, but it should be more about being a spiritual event where everyone would at least feel God’s presence.
Throughout the preparation for this retreat, I truly felt Satan spiritually attack me. Events and situations that wouldn’t normally bother me gave me stress, and I found myself lacking the desire to go to the retreat after a while. I just wanted to go back to my hometown and relax with my family. The day before the retreat was especially trying for me, and I realized how stubborn I had been for not kneeling in prayer before the Lord. I had prayed to Him about the retreat for weeks, but that Monday night before the retreat, I felt God telling me that in order to get the most out of this retreat myself, I had to really put down everything else in my life and only look to Him. Yes, the physical preparation is important, but that’s not the most important part. I realized how stubborn I had been and I humbly asked God to really use this retreat to refresh my own relationship with Him. I had been thankful for the things that He had given me, but I still wasn’t relying on Him completely.
I was truly blessed at this retreat because I had a chance to talk with several brothers and sisters who I had only greeted in passing before. I was so inspired because God opened up these brothers’ and sisters’ hearts, and I felt that we were able to openly and vulnerably talk about our individual situations. I also was encouraged by our guest speaker, Pastor David, and our guest praise leader, Eddie. At every session, there would always be at least one point that Pastor David would say that I knew God wanted me to reflect on in my own life.
As I am typing this reflection article from home, I can say that this retreat was not in vain. I always worry about going home because I have no one at home who is my age and a true Christian, and every time I spend over a week at home, I know that the strength of my faith wavers as I go down from the spiritual high of church retreats. Because of this issue, I had very high spiritual expectations for this retreat, and I was not disappointed. I was thoroughly encouraged that this retreat was not just to refresh my relationship with God, but also to reload my faith and truly live out what God put in my heart through this retreat.