This weekend we took the youth group away. It was an awesome retreat.
I've found in the past that these weekends are where our relationships tend to solidify. This weekend was the same.
First, some background information. My church is big. I don't know everyone. I don't even know of or about everyone. Our youth group is big too. Although I know "of" all the kids, I don't know all the kids. Our youth group isn't as close as other's I've been a part of in the past. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's different. Within our youth group we have small groups that provide a closer bond between each sponsor and the kids that are a part of their individual group. However, within the the youth group as a whole, there's kids who don't even know the names of kids in the other small groups.
The final night of the retreat something happened. Some of us watched a movie, some of us played board games, some others went to bed. Eventually it was just myself and 5 youth left in the main building. We were a collection of unique people who wouldn't normally end up together if left to our own devices or the format of the youth group. We were from different small groups and backgrounds. Some of us were churched, some of us not, and some in between. Some didn't know the other's names. It all started with one girl saying that from this point on we had to be our selves. No pretending. She said that at school she puts on a front but in youth group she was more her self. Now she wanted to be completely real, but only if the rest of us were real too.We started a board game and a conversation. The theme of this weekend was Making Your Faith Your Own. All weekend long the sponsors were sharing their testimonies. This night the remaining youth started sharing their stories with me. We ended up staying up all night long. It was heart breaking to hear some of the things that they are working through. It left me wanting to pray for those kids so much. There's some things I just can't fix. I have to let God take control. And that can be difficult for me to do sometimes.
I'm praying for our kids. I'm praying for the kids I spent the night talking to in particular. They're dealing with things that kids their age shouldn't have to deal with. I'm praying that the relationships that were formed this weekend remain strong throughout the year.
It's difficult for me to explain, but I came out of this weekend changed because of the experience I had that night. I hope it's a God thing. I pray that many good things will come out of this weekend.