Photo by Steven Fernandez
For some reason, it seems so long ago that I spoke at a high school youth retreat, but in actuality, it has only been a few years. There is something about youth retreats that still has a special place in my heart. First of all, my first tenure in ministry was at a youth group. I have fond memories of how God did some transformative work in the lives of our youth. I served alongside an incredible staff, which made ministry fun and fulfilling. Those were some good times.
Secondly, many of these students will go to college campuses once they graduate from high school. I have seen many students who go off to college and go towards two different paths. Some students will choose to run away from God, while others will choose to run towards God during their college years. I am discovering that the students who are trained and prepared during their high school years are usually the ones that stick it through with their faith throughout their collegiate years.
When I was asked to speak at Sekolah Pelita Harapan (SPH) for their 10th grade retreat, I felt a burden to invest in this next generation. Many of them will eventually study overseas, whether in the United States, Australia or England. At our various HMCC campuses, we have seen many international students come and join our church. The exciting part is that many of them will go back to their countries to make a difference. They are the next generation of doctors, business people, government officials, designers, and etc.
So in many ways, this retreat had a greater purpose.
But most of all, I still remember my wandering years of high school. My four years in high school had a lot of ups and downs. It was a difficult stage to go through as a teenager. Many students have to deal with peer pressure, various temptations and struggles. If anything, it is my prayer that when they see me, they can have some hope. As I have said many times before, “if God can change a person like me, He can change anybody.”
It has been a joy sharing my life with them so far… and it is just the first day.