by Joven Llabore
Holding the retreat for the second time, the Evangel Family Church (EFC) Luzon had it this year inside the metro with around 107 delegates coming from four sections: Mindoro, La Union, Batangas, and Palawan plus EFC Quezon City as the host.
Spending the holidays with the family or mountain climbing and skydiving with friends would be the best thing to start off the summer season; however, these gregarious campers consist of young and “once young” (as others would call it) gave up those ideas and humbly gave in to this amazing “stay-cation” with God.
So off they went from down south and uptown provinces and cities to the base church of Luzon at Fairview, Quezon City. Little did they know that this was one exhilarating three-day summer adventure that began on April 1.
“Equipping and Releasing the Next Generation” was the theme of the of year’s retreat, and the speakers mainly focused on re-infilling of the Holy Spirit, keeping the spiritual life attuned, and challenging the youth to take a step to answer the call.
Eager to experience the moving power of the Holy Spirit, the delegates listened attentively to the messages delivered by the speakers and savored the sweet presence of God during praise and worship. Altar call followed after each session.
Loud cries echoed out as lifted hands and voices were raised. Tears continuously fell as the young people were touched and filled by the Holy Spirit. Some received the gifts of the Spirit, others answered the call. God truly moved in and fully released His power and presence to equip them all.
The tasks performed by the leaders and the delegates were a bit physically and mentally demanding, nevertheless enjoyable. For some, being in Manila was like a dream come true. The campers toured around and strolled the two famous historical sites in the country: the Intramuros and the Luneta Park.
The young walked around the streets and went to a souvenir shop and busied themselves taking pictures with the calesa, the insignia, the building, and other “social media worthy” photos. Given an hour to relish the Luneta Park, each did not waste a second to enjoy and have fun with their friends.
They also enjoyed swimming at the pool on the last night of the retreat. Others preferred to talk with their new-found friends and elated themselves with stories they could laugh about.
Waving goodbye to each other the next morning was hard, but the friendship and the lessons they had built and learned would always be there until the next retreat. One thing was certain, they were now fully equipped and ready to be released for the expansion of God’s work as they confidently geared themselves with great IDEAS (Innovation, Dedication, Excellence, Anticipation, Speed)they learned in this youth convention.
Testimonies of the young people are powerful in this three-day retreat. They give the listener the hope that God is alive and truly working in the lives of His people.
Among the many who experienced personal revival, two sisters share their own stories below:
I’m Katherine Joy Manzanero Apuyan of Evangel Family Church Quezon City. I had three marvellous days of experiencing God’s great power. There’s a restoration of stolen joy, replenishment of empty faith, revival of my weary heart and renewal of my soul.
It was indeed a fulfilling experience to be blessed and renewed! At first, you can feel the need of the Holy Spirit covering the place. And I know everyone was waiting for the touch of the Holy Spirit. The piercing sermons of different pastors rebuked and gave me hope.
The burdens of my heart that kept me from moving forward disappeared. The discouragement, doubt and hatred were replaced by the love and peace coming from my Heavenly Father. And as I looked upon the other believer, I have seen every spirit humbling themselves before God.
My name is Fe Ellana, 24 years old, a young professional from Evangel Family Church-La Union. Three days of encounter with God and I answered the “Yes” to His call. Short time, right? Well, the truth is, it has been my heart’s desire since I was sixteen.
This retreat has made me give up everything I have right now. I’m spiritually filled.
I prayed and asked God to forgive me for making Him wait for too long. The burden in my heart was lifted up. And now is the time to move forward and take a bold step of faith.
I was so grateful to God for this retreat. I’ve been blessed by the preaching of His Word and meeting fellow Christians encouraged me more.