Four of our youth spent their final days of 2016 in Minneapolis at Treasured Foundation, a youth retreat for Grades 9-12 hosted by our EMMC conference from December 28th to January 1st. Our youth leaders, Jeff and Martha Rempel, also joined Kaylee Reimer, MacKenzie Enns and Danae and Natalie Driedger. We were delighted to hear their stories this past Sunday as they shared some of what God taught them while they were away.
Martha remarked that she "saw God's fingerprints in everything that happened". In something as simple as walking into the bathroom and meeting a crying teenager there was a divine appointment. She also really enjoyed the opportunity to deepen relationships with the four girls who went.
For Natalie her highlights were the main sessions. Each time he spoke, the main speaker, Herb Franz, came out wearing a different t-shirt with a special message for the youth such as "Never settle for believing our way is better than God's way", "Don't be a chicken when you can be an eagle" (be a saint, not a sinner), and "Never settle for selfishness when you can love". In the final sessions he spoke of stones as reminders of our commitments like Joshua in the wilderness. He challenged the youth to set up stones, or reminders, in their own lives to remind them of the commitments they made to God that weekend.
Kaylee learned many new things, met amazing people, and loved the service opportunities such as the prayer walk and packaging goods for a shelter. She shared a funny story with us all of just how crazy it can get when you are tired at 1 am, lip-syncing in the bus to Toby Mac :)
Danae's highlight was the mini sessions she attended on the will of God in your life, social media and making sure to connect with people in real life, loving others when you disagree, as well as an overview of the Old Testament. In this last session she was struck anew how God is the same through it all. He is the same in His grace, even in each breath we take. As a result, we should be glorifying Him with each one of those breaths!
Jeff felt privileged to meet so many people from the conference with the connections to Treasured Foundation. "We are a part of something bigger reaching people all over North America." He was asked to speak for one of the mini sessions and likened himself to Moses as he emphatically said no with his big list of excuses why he couldn't. God had His way in the end, and pushed Jeff further out of his comfort zone when he was asked at the last minute to speak earlier than he had planned. Jeff had to step out of the boat and rely on God as he spoke to the youth on salvation. The stretching didn't even end there! He shared another story of how God poked at his heart and urged him to be obedient and not miss opportunities that God sends his way.
It was an encouragement and a challenge to catch a glimpse of what God was doing in the hearts and lives of some of our youth over the Christmas break. Treasured Foundation was definitely a worthwhile experience in many ways!