I wasn't expecting it, but this was one of my favorite memories of 2016. With the growth in our team, it has been more and more challenging to get to know and be able to spend quality time with each of the team members. I really felt like we all got to do that in this camp.
The entire team gathered at a camp in Hato Mayor for our overnight team retreat. The leadership team spent a month preparing, and they did a wonderful job! We had set some specific goals for our time together and felt like we achieved them all and had a great time doing it!
The youth got to spend time getting to know one another - especially those from some of the newer communities. We had time to evaluate our work in 2016 and set some goals for 2017. We heard from two team members who had encouraging and inspiring messages for us. We played some team-building games. I gave a short lesson from a teacher's perspective in hopes to help them with their lesson planning, and in the evening we had a worship service/ceremony.
The leaders went with the theme "United in Gratitude to God". We thanked Him together for this ministry, His provision and all He has allowed us to do throughout the years. We also recognized each of the youth with a certificate for the time and energy they have poured into the ministry for the glory of God and the benefit of children, youth and families. It was a really special time.
The leaders thought it would be fun to do the ceremony like a "gala", so we decorated with Christmas lights and a red carpet. They got all dressed up and were called in two-by-two. It sort of reminded me of a high school prom! They had a lot of fun with it, and so did we! Then, we jumped right into worship, Bible reading, a powerpoint highlighting the history of the ministry and an inspiring message from Venisa.
I completely enjoyed the time I get to spend with the youth at this retreat. It has been such a gift to watch them grow over the years. I've known some of them now for over 8 years, and it's just as fun to get to know the new team members. It's a delight to see the youth open up, discover and use the gifts God has given them to influence others for Christ. I sure am thankful that I get to do this!
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