The last weekend of July, we had our second spiritual retreat for new believers. As with the mega-event of Love Extreme, this will be one of the things I think about when I need encouragement of our being here.
We had the first spiritual retreat the weekend after Love Extreme and the crazy week of consolidation. And God definitely moved and it was an exciting time.
But I feel completely different about this retreat. There were way less people, but from the beginning, we all knew that the seven of them are leaders, that they will be the ones to continue the movement.
So, first of all, with such few people and considering the cost, they didn't need as many guides as last time. They asked a couple of Peruvian 40/40s (who currently don't have partners) to go as guides. And during the pastors meeting they were talking about who could lead the section for women about sexuality. Well, interestingly enough, they picked Ester and I. My first reaction was, "Are you serious? What do I have to say to married or single women?" But then I was just really excited about it.
So there were four 40/40s there, as well as pastors and local church leaders to serve as guides (I was the only gringa! Love it!). And each guide was assigned a person to get to know, talk with, spend time with, and pray with. Ester and I are considered one person (we joke that we are married for 2 years!), so we were put with Elsa and her baby girl, Angelit.
During the retreat, there are different themes that the pastors touch on, such as repentance, a new life, sexuality, forgiveness, money, and family. And those in attendance are given the opportunity to turn various things over to God, and we the guides are there to pray and counsel them.
My favorite part was in-between themes, we did a couple of "games." During one, each person had to pretend they were at their own funeral giving a eulogy. And in the next, they had to say why they deserved to be saved in a lifeboat. It was just awesome to hear each person say how they lived their lives for God, preached the gospel, and pointed others to Christ. My highlight was after I said that they should let me in the lifeboat so that I could go be a missionary to the unreached places of the earth, I sat down and Juanita, the 16-year-old new believer sitting next to me said, "I'll go with you!" and we high-fived. These really are the future leaders of the church!