Teen Retreat

Last weekend we had a one night retreat for teenagers at camp! We had a really great time playing UNO, volleyball,  and Skip Bo, eating tons of food (including “American” cupcakes make by yours truly), and enjoying 3 sessions of worship and teaching led by Osaís & Iolanda, the directors of CEF Portugal. The sessions focused in what God’s word says about what we might call “hot topics” for teens (alcohol, drugs, sexuality, etc). We had about 14 teens in attendance, 8 of which are regular attenders at our weekly clubs.
Admittedly, working with teenagers doesn't come easily to me. Give me a group of 5 or 6-year-olds and I’m in my element. Once they hit about 12 or 13, they start to get scary (in an “I’m not really sure what to say to you” kind of way.) Somehow though, these teens are endearing themselves to me in unexpected ways.  Don’t get me wrong. They can be very difficult. But the moments when I can see it on their faces that they’re starting to get it, that they’re learning what it means to experience God’s love, those are the moments when I remember why we do what we do. They seemed to really enjoy the retreat and didn't want to leave when the time came. They were begging to stay just one more night. (They even tried to convince Clara to leave them there with me while she went home to handle her other responsibilities. AHHHHH!!!) We had to say no this time, but their enthusiasm makes me really excited for the week long camps we have planned for the summer!

Iolanda and Osaís have been the directors of CEF Portugal for almost a year now, but this was their first time visiting the islands. Having them here allowed for some more exploration of this beautiful island that I’m quickly falling in love with. It seems that every time I turn around there’s another example of God’s beautiful creation to be amazed by. It does make me wonder, though, if there might be many similar examples that I overlooked at home in the states simply because I never took the time to look. Let me take this opportunity to encourage you, no matter where you are, to take the time to look and enjoy the beauty of God’s creation…it’s all around you. 

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