It was a gift to be able to go away on an Ignite Retreat. The weekend of February 11-13, about thirty five teens and a dozen leaders headed down to beautiful Harvey Cedars in LBI, NJ for our annual Ignite retreat. Due to Covid, this was the first Ignite retreat away in over two years. Needless to say, the group was excited and grateful to be away and experience a sense of normalcy. The theme of the retreat was "Equipped". The talks focused on the tools that we can equip ourselves as Christians to help us in our walk with Christ, such as - personal prayer, intercessory prayer, relationships with the saints and the sacraments. There was a chance on Saturday night for adoration, confession and prayer teams with the Ignite leaders. Many of the teens got a chance to go to confession or get prayed with. The Lord worked and moved powerfully during this time and throughout the retreat!
Ignite Teen Retreat Sharing:
The Ignite Retreat this year was everything I needed, filled with community and laughter and joy, but also just such deep discussions and teachings and true peace that can only come from the Holy Spirit. As a senior in high school, this year has been full to say the least which of course is such a blessing but it also means that it's very difficult to keep God first. At the retreat, we had the opportunity to have a silent hour for each of us individually to explore the beautiful Harvey Cedars property and be alone with Christ. In this hour I was compelled to look deeply and honestly at where my priorities lay, and I realistically found that my number one priority was myself and my obligations. I was able to go to confession after and just lay it all out in front of Christ through the priest. The priest told me the story of Jesus walking on water where Peter calls out, “If it is you, Lord, command me to come to you.” He said for Penance to meditate on this verse and really make it my own. Now, some people who know me may know that I am terrified of the ocean. I think the ocean is absolutely beautiful and majestic and powerful, and it's such a calming experience to watch its waves. However, I'm not a great swimmer and I've just had some experiences with water that scare me, and so the ocean is really something that I love to examine but not really experience. It's something that I both revere and fear. So I immediately thought of the ocean when the priest gave me this verse. I walked inside of the main room where our Music Ministry leader, Gabe, was practicing some worship songs. I sat in the back of the room and was writing in my journal when the song ended. The next song started and it was Oceans by Hillsong. Quite honestly, I normally don't love this song; there's just something about it that just as a musician isn't the best to play, but when Gabe started playing this song, it immediately caught my attention because it was absolutely beautiful. I was listening for a little while, taking it in, and then Gabe started singing the bridge of the song where it says, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my Savior.” It was then that I teared up. The Lord truly works in wondrous ways. Those words matched up exactly with the verse I was given and everything I was dealing with at the time. The Lord was calling me deeper to Him, despite the fear or distractions.
Looking back, I realized I often look at God the same way I look at the ocean. I find it so easy to find awe in His beauty and majesty and power. Yet it is so difficult for me to experience Him and allow Him to be Lord of my life. The whole retreat allowed me to realize this truth and break down those barriers I had so that I could finally answer the Lord’s call to walk deeper to Him.
- Elena, Senior Girl