November 2, 2010

Mustard Seeds

We're back from our retreat with the confirmation kids. Of the 25 youths we have about to be confirmed, 18 attended. We also had 6 adults who will be confirmed along for the experience. In summary: lots of work, not much sleep, many surprises, and endless fruits. Two women backed out on us just a day before the retreat, so David ended up doing the bulk of the cooking and watching of Joshua. Anna had the unfortunate job of "policing" - both making sure we stayed on schedule and reprimanding the kids when they got a little too rowdy. We planned and carried out the retreat with the help of a great team of youth leaders - both lay and religious. It's always great to see the kids at the end of the weekend, filled with hope and energy. Here are some of the comments we overheard from the youth, describing their experiences:

"The last presentation really changed my way of thinking."
"I feel more secure in my faith."
"I feel like God has been accompanying me on this journey; I no longer feel alone."
"Before coming to church, I used to fight with my parents all of the time. Now, we talk about things and get along better."
"I feel a sense of peace in my life now that I have never felt before."
"Before coming on this retreat, I had a lot of questions and doubts about my faith. Things are a lot clearer in my head now."

These are just a few of the experiences. It's always amazing to witness how God manifests Himself in each person's life and to see their faith grows over a period of time. We're very thankful to be able to be a part of these kids' faith journey. Some photos:

When Anna was 13, she went on a retreat where they made rosaries out of cord. She taught the kids here how to make them and they liked it so much that they made about 3 each!

Small groups acting out Bible stories. In this one, Anna and a youth are portraying the whale that just swallowed Jonah.

The most important part of the retreat - alone time with God. This was a special prayer service on Saturday night.

Joshua had fun too!

A final group shot.

We ended on Halloween, so that night Joshua dressed up like Elmo and hit up a few friends' houses for some candy. Not related to the retreat, but too cute not to post!

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