2012 - Vol. 56.
from young people who attended a YES retreat in Ireland
invitation to young people
The YES Retreat brought together 50 young people from all over Europe.
This first gathering of 14-16 year-olds in the European region of Sword
of the Spirit was a milestone, as our young people responded in deeper
ways to following Christ – to saying “Yes.” Youth came from various cities
(London, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Leuven) to Rostrevor, Northern Ireland.
The purpose of the weekend was to encourage the young people to say a wholehearted
“Yes” to following Christ, not to simply lean on the faith of their parents,
or their friends, but to take on and deepen a personal faith. This was
done through small groups, games, a prayer meeting, talks, entertainment,
testimonies and meals.
Because this was the first YES Retreat, most of us really didn’t know
what to expect, including myself. It became very apparent that my expectations
of how God was going to use this weekend were greatly surpassed by God’s.
God delights in using anyone who says “Yes” to him. He has no age restriction.
The more and more I spend doing youth work, the more God teaches me that
he uses people of all ages to advance his kingdom. Just as God used Joshua,
David, Esther, Ruth, Gideon, and Samson …. he calls and equips those today
who are available, those who say “Yes”. This is what happened on the YES
Retreat. Many of the youth were freely responding to the call to follow
Serving at the YES Retreat was a privilege and a humbling experience,
to stand beside my younger brothers and sisters and say Yes to the Lord.
I will remember this weekend as one where God powerfully acted and took
deeper root in many of the young people’s lives (and my own!), and I am
already greatly anticipating the next YES Retreat!
||Phil Morrison is a Kairos
mission leader and youth leader for YouthLink
in London, UK. He is originally from Downpatrick, Northern Ireland.
Making Big Decisions
“I lay a choice
before you, before the youth of the Sword of the Spirit and the multitude
who will join you, and I ask you to say ‘YES.’ Say ‘Yes.’”
Despite preparing and recording every relevant prophetic word as part of
prep for serving on the first ever YES retreat in October of this year,
I wasn't really expecting much to happen. A fun weekend in another country,
see some old friends, try my hand at youth work, etc. Not only could I
not have been more wrong, I was deeply filled with hope by the weekend
and the generation I see emerging from it.
prophetic word given at a
Sword of the Spirit Youth
Conference in 2008
These kids are making big decisions for God, stuff I hadn't dreamt of
doing at their age. They are full of the Holy Spirit and power and maturity
and wisdom beyond their years. Watching words you halfheartedly typed into
your computer a week previously become true before your eyes is an exciting
and humbling experience. I often have a spiritual high after these events.
It's a cyclic thing in my spiritual life: you go to a big Sword of the
Spirit event and feel great, go home and gradually get back into your old
way of doing things, and just as you are despairing another conference
a skit from the Saturday evening
This was different – it hit me at a much deeper level and really gave
me a core of faith and wonder at God and what he's doing now in plain sight
Being on the giving rather than receiving end of youth work is strange
and wonderful. You are suddenly a role model, a leader, an adult (I had
only been 18 for a month before the YES retreat). These really stretching
experiences are vital for me and people my age to have, so please don't
just send your youth to these things, send your university-aged people
so they can learn how to lead. I just had a blast, leading a small group,
prayer ministry, being a ”mentor,” and no one complained or was damaged
by anything I did, which is always a plus.
Most importantly, the weekend showed me how wrong my expectations are
about anything God does. He's always on another level, working behind the
scenes, and occasionally I see a tiny, tiny part of the whole picture and
just stand with my mouth open, even if the rest of the time I have to trust
that something is going on. Good thing for us that we have such a loving
God, and that he is so active today. I am filled with hope.
||Stephen Bick is a Kairos
team worker and member of Koinonia,
a university student outreach in London, UK.
friends for life
15, Antioch Community, London, UK)
I heard about the YES retreat I didn't really expect much. My parents had
told me there was going to be a youth conference in Ireland, and some of
my friends were going so I thought why not?! However I didn't really know
anyone else apart from my friends at Antioch. One of my other friends had
been to the Dublin football tournament and running up to the yes retreat
she couldn't wait to see all of her friends again. However I hadn’t been
to the Dublin football tournament and I pretty much didn't know anyone.
I would sit with my friend and try to learn the names of these people I
had never met.
we got there I kind of stood awkwardly in the corner and headed up to my
dorm room to put my bags away. When I saw the names on my dorm door my
heart dropped. Two of the Dublin girls whom I had never met before were
in my dorm, and they had already claimed their beds, which left me with
a little camp bed by itself in the corner. I assumed that they would leave
me alone and just talk to each other without including me. How wrong was
I! When I headed back down to the main room, people would just come up
and introduce themselves, and quickly I had this overwhelming feeling of
acceptance. We got into our new sharing groups, and soon after everyone
was treating each other like brothers and sisters which in a way we were.
next day was crazy! In the morning we were split into girls and boys and
each group received a talk. The girls’ talk was about courage, and it was
amazing to hear about the situations that some of the leaders had experienced.
Then we were put in teams for the wide game. Now by this time it had started
raining. Heavily. And it was freezing cold. I assumed being a Christian
retreat and all they would let us stay inside the warm cozy center and
they would postpone the game until the weather was better. I was mistaken.
My team bonded by huddling under a tree for warmth.
on in the day we had a Lord’s Day celebration. Now, being a “community
kid” and someone who’s grown up in community hearing these words repeatedly
again and again, you get to learn them off by heart. At the Lord’s Day
celebration it was so amazing to look around the room and see that no-one
really needed the pamphlet and that we all knew the words off by heart.
Again when we worshipped everyone knew the songs because we’ve grown up
hearing them and listening to our parents singing them. Being at the YES
retreat gave me a real feeling of community and what the Sword of the Spirit
is all about. I went there not knowing anyone and I went home knowing I’ve
made friends for life, and I can’t wait to see them again!
God surprised me
16, Antioch Community, London, UK)
on the YES retreat in Ireland during the October half term, and in the
run-up to it, I had really been coasting in my faith. I had convinced myself
that I was in a good place with God, and that it was alright to stay there.
But God really had some surprises in store for me. The first evening was
a bit of a blur because the London contingent arrived quite late on the
Friday evening. So after a quick worship time, we met our sharing groups
and were then bundled off to bed.
first clear memory of the weekend was being woken up on the Saturday morning
by the leaders, one of whom had a very loud bell. But the rest of the day
proved to be very good. During the day we split up into guys and girls
and were given separate talks. The men’s talk was on courage and making
war on the devil, which was very enlightening because it dispelled the
illusion that as Christians we have to always be meek and mild, but we
can be strong men too. The talks were accompanied by some very powerful
evening, Dave Quintana gave a talk on saying “Yes” to the Lord and to taking
a step forward in your faith. This was followed by a time of worship and
prayer ministry, in which I reluctantly got some prayer, and I’m glad I
did. God really spoke to me and many others that evening in new and powerful
whole weekend was a fantastic experience for me. Seeing God at work through
prayer and prophecy, as well as seeing the other young people there were
both hugely encouraging for me and really gave me hope for this generation.