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We, the NET retreat team for 2022-23, have had an amazing first month of ministry so far! After having done 4 retreats in the Ottawa area in the last week of September, we then undertook a four-day drive to Regina Saskatchewan. Although it was long, the drive did allow us to grow closer together as a team and encounter many spectacular sights throughout our drive! Some of us even got to stay at the homes of family members along the way. After a week of retreats in and around Regina, we moved on to Grande-Prairie Alberta, which is our current location as this letter is being written; we are staying in the area for 2 weeks.
So far, we have encountered over 700 youths at our retreats, telling them about God’s love for them and encouraging them to put Jesus at the center of their lives. Even though we have only just begun our ministry, we have already had many incredible experiences, and a large number of youth have shared with us how they’ve encountered God during our retreats. For example, a few retreatants whose families were already practicing Christians, or practiced in the past, told us after the retreat that they wanted to start practicing their faith themselves by praying daily, reading the Bible and attending youth group. There was also one youth in grade 11 who started a retreat by saying that she wasn’t sure whether she believed in God or not; however, by the end of the retreat, she not only believed in Him but also said she wanted to commit to a relationship with Him.
One of the most important parts of our retreats is prayer ministry, when we get to pray over each of the youth. We have been so blessed to witness the Holy Spirit moving at these times; indeed, many of our retreatants have had personal encounters with Jesus! Some have experienced His love for them, and were so overwhelmed that they could not hold back their tears; others have encountered profound peace in His presence; one retreatant even felt that the burden she was carrying at the time was lifted off her shoulders.
As a team, we have grown considerably in the first month of our ministry. Besides learning ministry skills together and working side by side every day, we have been able to share many great stories and jokes amongst ourselves and with our generous host homes. Getting the chance to pray together daily, drive together for countless hours and spend time together on our days off have made us grow close to each other; it’s crazy to think that we’ve only met 2 months ago!
As we head on through the Rocky Mountains to British Columbia in the coming weeks, we are very excited to grow closer as a team, experience new sights and travel to parts of the country we’ve yet to encounter. However, most of all, we are thrilled that we will be able to encounter even more teens and share with them our faith and our joy.
The Retreat team (Chris, Amy, Adam, Jean-François, Sabin, Aoife, Estelle)
-written by Jean-François