Life Changing Retreats - By Kids for Kids
In November over 100 lives changed as a result of one spiritual retreat put on by teens in a nearby community. "EJE", which stands for "Encuentro para Jovenes en el Espiritu", is designed to be a profound encounter with the Holy Spirit. This retreat is offered through the Catholic church all throughout the Spanish speaking world. About 20 teens from our area left that retreat on fire for the Lord and have done incredible things since.
As part of the concluding ceremony the teens receive a fish shaped medallion necklace which serves as a reminder of the commitments they make to live in the spirit. I thought the novelty of this "trinket" would pass as things of this sort usually do, but after six weeks the majority still wear them everyday.
Our Precious Sheep, previously known as our Lost Sheep, have reported feeling spiritually stronger when wearing their necklaces. They benefit from the reminder to pray when temptations arise and constantly think about their desires to live for God. It's amazing!
Many of the EJE alumni, including our daughters and several of their friends, have joined the staff and now lead EJE retreats for others.
On Friday night the teen leaders from several different communities meet at the designated location to pray, plan, practice and prepare.
Early Saturday morning the participants arrive and the fun begins. They dance, play games, and sing songs of praise to break the ice.
After everyone gets comfortable they break into small groups and begin sharing their stories, which all too often include abuse, addiction, neglect and the death of siblings, parents and close friends. For hours and hours the kids lovingly listen, encouraging one another to allow the love and light of Jesus Christ into their darkest places. They patiently wait when kids just need to weep and pray constantly that the Holy Spirit be present to guide them through the difficulties....which He always does!
There is also time for kids to share their testimonies with the group. From what I've been told, it is incredibly powerful for kids to hear other kids explaining how their lives changed after they surrendered completely to Jesus and allowed the Holy Spirit to take control.
In addition to EJE, which is for teens ages 14+, there is a similar retreat for kids ages 10-13 called Demoli.
Last weekend Katelyn, Anna and several others hosted this retreat in our area for the first time. It was extra special because both Jack and Michael were able to attend as participants. Can you find them in this picture?
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