Youth Retreat Testimonies

I hope God uses the retreat as a constant reminder of his love and his grace so that I can know him more, so that I can know my brothers and sisters in Christ more, and also for those that are so lost without Christ, I hope that I have the motivation and boldness to share God’s love with them so that they can feel joy in Christ as well.

Hello everyone, I’m Josh Lee, and here’s my testimony regarding my experience at this year’s youth retreat. To start, I’m very grateful to have been able to attend the retreat because I made more than a few lasting memories with my church family. Additionally, Uncle Winston’s sermons on what God’s love means for us, what the Church family means to us, and our role as being a part of the body of Christ were a blessing to hear and I hope to apply some of those truths in my own life.

Beginning with what I learned, I was reminded of the simple truth that God loves us better than any other human ever could. The sin that makes us human stains our relationships, our interactions, and everything about us. However, God’s love for us is infinite because we are his children and we are also His friends, not His enemies. I learned of the importance of loving others, doing good works, and staying in prayer in order to experience God’s true friendship. The bible also tells us that the most important people that will help all of us through life’s trials are fellow believers of the Word of God, so it’s important for me to choose wisely who I run my race with. Another truth that I was reminded of was how privileged I am to be able to know God and be a part of Lighthouse. I often take for granted the loving church community that I have and the gift of being able to just know who God is. Every one of us has a unique role in the body of the church to serve Christ because God created each of us perfectly, fearfully, and wonderfully. I also learned that as a Christian, I must be inclusive of other people, because I have a need for each and every one of you just like all of you need me. Uncle Winston explained that this means that I have to try my best to love and include people I don’t know, but also people I wish I didn’t know which was a pretty sobering truth. As we are all bound to each other in the Church, Uncle
Winston preached upon how if one member of the church starts to suffer, everyone of the church suffers together. And similarly, when someone is exalted and honored, everyone rejoices together as a family. When I sin, I risk leading others around me astray, meaning that I have responsibility as a part of this Church just like all of you do as well.

I would say that my favorite memory from the retreat is a bit of an odd one because I wasn’t actually doing anything fun. It was Saturday night after the scavenger hunt when everyone had about an hour and a half of free time before lights out. I had already planned on doing homework during that time so I sat at the back corner of the main room and borrowed Pastor David’s laptop to get some work done and I was later joined by a couple of friends who similarly had homework to do. Looking back, I realized the time at the retreat that I was the happiest was in that moment while I was sitting and doing homework. I specifically remember taking a break from my work to look at the full room, seeing middle schoolers playing cards together, the youth leaders chatting away, laughter coming from a group of high schoolers, Darren was playing piano and Katie was singing and I was just so happy. The joy that I felt wasn’t because I had done or achieved something, it was because I was just so happy to be in an environment with so many other believers. I feel that in the love and fellowship of that moment I felt what it was like to be truly joyful in Christ.

I hope God uses the retreat in my life to mainly remember what I felt while I was there and to remember God’s unconditional love for me in all that I do. I hope God uses the retreat a constant reminder of his love and his grace so that I can know him more, so that I can know my brothers and sisters in Christ more, and also for those that are so lost without Christ, I hope that I have the motivation and boldness to share God’s love with them so that they can feel joy in Christ as well.

Hey everyone! If you don’t know me, I’m Elliotte Kira, and I’m a sophomore in high school. So, this past weekend was the Youth Retreat, and I think everyone can say it was full of unforgettable memories and discoveries.

Some of my personal favorite moments were winning the games, eating the fantastic food, winning the games, going on the ropes course, winning the games, seeing literally all of the 8th-grade girls crying for no apparent reason, and, of course, winning the games. If there’s anything you should remember from my testimony, it’s that I, Elliotte Kira, won the 2024 Youth Retreat Games. I heard the middle schoolers had a message on humility this weekend, and clearly I did NOT listen to it.

In all seriousness, though, this retreat was life-changing, and I am so thankful I had the opportunity to go. Uncle Winston’s messages were so revealing, and I felt called out after every single one. His first message was about loneliness and our friendships with God. After hearing that my friendships and relationships can’t fill the loneliness left by having God as my enemy, I decided to work on a friendship that is both permanent and fulfilling. Uncle Winston’s second message was about how we see the church as a reach, match or safety. Even though I’ve heard sermons on the roles in the church before, I was so blessed to hear the simple words, “God didn’t mess up.” I wrote them in all caps in my notebook, and they really mean a lot to me, to know that our great God created me exactly the way he wanted. Many other people were touched by just hearing that fact said so resolutely.

I also learned how the church should interact and how we must suffer and rejoice together. Uncle Winston listed some common responses to when others are honored and most of them hit wayyyy too close to home. But honestly, hearing those truths throughout the weekend was exactly what I needed and the way I see things will be forever changed.

For everyone who didn’t get the chance to go to retreat this year, I strongly encourage you to go in the future. I made some amazing memories there, from my friend Sophia going missing for two hours to slapping Mason Shin in the face with a tortilla. These are experiences I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, and the things I heard are going to stick with me even after the retreat high has died.

This retreat was such a huge blessing for me and everyone else who went, and it wouldn’t be possible without the staff who worked so hard to pull it off. Big thanks to Uncle David, Keith, and Leighton for working out the logistics of the retreat, Uncle Winston and Uncle KK for being such exceptional speakers, the game team for making the games so fun and getting me and my team the W, and all the other staff who made the retreat so memorable and God’s grace so real.

Hello Everyone! My name is Sophia Stern and I am going to share about this past weekend’s youth retreat.

For those who went on the retreat, I am sure you are all missing the stress-free mountains because I know I am. Retreats have always had a special place in my heart because there is no other place where we would be able to spend a FULL weekend with our friends and learn about Christ at the same time. To me, retreats have always been the place to grow closer to the people that may have known for years or begin new friendships. Like last year, our phones were taken away and kept on lockdown by the youth staff. This might be a hot take, but I think it was one of the best parts of the weekend. Instead of looking at my phone for entertainment, I was always seeking out conversations and growing closer to the people around me. I learned things about people I never would have guessed and I grew closer to people that I might not have talked to if I had my phone. I know we talked about this at the last session on Sunday, so maybe I can encourage all of you guys to stay off your phones more and engage with each other. 

Speaking about engaging with one another, the title of this weekend’s retreat was “All Together Now.” There was a lot that was talked about, but the thing that stood out to me the most was our very last sermon on Sunday morning, conveniently titled “All Together Now.” The main passage was 1 Corinthians 12:26 which says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” In the first half of the verse, Winston explained the sins we believe are private actually affect ALL of the people around us. And because we hide our sins, we are dragging the people we care about down with us. I don’t know about you, but I am not the best at being vulnerable. Telling people what is really going on in my life is something that is uncomfortable and hard. Winston continued to explain that we have to be the type of people who confess our sins and struggles to others. When I heard this truth, it felt like a gut punch knowing that because of my unwillingness to share my sins with others, I am actively hurting them. I feel like this is something I have always known, but hearing it said so plainly out loud really made it clear how much I have been hiding from the people I care about. And although this message really hit home about my unwillingness to become vulnerable, it also served as an encouragement to start sharing the harder things. I hope that God will continue to help me speak more openly about my struggles and sins. There is definitely more that happened last weekend that I would love to talk about, but can I just encourage you guys to share your struggles with the people you trust? It could be with your small group or a close friend. And if someone does confide in you, can I encourage you to listen and be there for them?