Youth Retreat 2023

From the 21st – 23rd of April 2023 the FELSISA youth members gathered for the annual Youth Retreat at Little Forest in Bronkhorstspruit. Pastors Kurt Schnackenberg (Randburg) and Martin Paul (Pretoria) facilitated the weekend.

We discussed the theme of “God-Pleasing Habits” and how we can implement these habits in our daily lives to express our righteousness towards God. We do this not out of obligation, but because we want to.

The bible studies were divided thematically into the following habits: “Exploring God’s Word”, “Confession and Communion”, “Confessing Christ”, “Good Works”, and “Joyful Anticipation of Judgment Day”.

“Exploring God’s Word” can be done by reading the Bible, having daily devotions, singing, and attending church services. These are just a few examples of how we can engage with the Word and get to know God better.

We heard that “Confession and Communion” are inseparable and work together and allow us to receive forgiveness of our sins. Thankfully, we can come often, as Christ says!

Next, we discussed how we can “Confess Christ”. We talked about the manner in which we confess Christ outside of the church, whether we do it with great joy or sorrowfully. We were reminded that we can tell someone about Christ, but ultimately, they must encounter Him themselves. The best approach is to simply say, “Come!” and bring them to church.

We also explored the habit of “Good Works”. Pastor Martin Paul used the example of searching for Easter eggs. The Easter eggs symbolise good works. God hides the Easter eggs, and we can use the Ten Commandments as clues to find them. As Christians, we do good works as a result of all that Christ has done for us.

The last habit we reviewed was the “Joyful Anticipation of Judgement Day”. The world often tries to make us fearful of this day. As Christians, we can rejoice because, since our baptism, we have been clothed with Christ and, as invited guests, we are allowed to wear the proper attire for His grand feast. We are not cast out but are “good” sheep, who will live with Him for eternity.

As always, the weekend was filled with good company and delicious food. In our free time, we could engage in activities such as zip lining, swimming in the dam, rowing, playing volleyball, rugby, and Frisbee. In the evenings, we sat around the campfire or admired the clear, starry sky.

On Saturday, we went on a trip to the huge Buddhist temple, visible from the N4, in Bronkhorstspruit. It was an interesting experience to see and learn about the differences in our perspectives on life, faith, and good works.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who contributed to this weekend, especially Mark and Carla Meyer (synodical youth parents), the Pastors Martin Paul and Kurt Schnackenberg along with their wives, Anke and Lene, as well as Liska Paul (synodical youth secretary). We also want to thank the youth members who were present. Lastly, we want to thank our Heavenly Father for blessing us with such a lovely weekend.

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