Upon arriving at the retreat on Sunday, I felt God’s fire moving through myself and the other young adult leaders as we excitedly began to prepare for the teens’ arrival. Many of the teens were not very enthusiastic about the retreat yet, especially with an air horn that woke everyone up at 6:30 a.m. every day (if you can’t tell, I’m not a morning person), but as the Holy Spirit began to move through the teens, about halfway through the week everyone was full of energy and on fire for the Lord. I especially felt God’s presence as I was ministering and praying over the teens, but also in my personal prayer time. One of the most important things God revealed to me in personal prayer was I have many wounds and issues that I need to face head on with God by my side, instead of pretending my life is perfect and fine. One main lesson I learned from praying over the teens was that almost all of them had some kind of wound, hurt, or addiction they needed healing from and many were also seeking answers from God. Hearing their struggles and stories made me realize that we all have our problems and our wounds that we are dealing with, but we are all ultimately sinners simply seeking healing from God. The last amazing aspect of the Flint Mission is all the people we meet at work sites and during the retreat. The people we met at the worksites were awesome because they dedicated their days to improving the neighborhood they lived in, and therefore the city of Flint. The gratitude they had for all the work we did in their neighborhood was indescribable, and it was sad to leave them at the end of the week.
As much as we didn’t want the week to end, we all had to part ways and go back to our hometowns and parishes on Friday. I knew coming back home from the retreat was going to be difficult to keep God’s fire inside of me, but I could already see the fruits of the retreat working in my life. God again prompted me in prayer to repair some of the broken relationships I had around home, and fixing these relationships has already made the rest of summer go a lot smoother. I find myself continuing to have the desire to go to mass more during the week or simply go into the church during the day for personal prayer. It has also been incredible to see the changes in the teens. One teen messaged me very excited about spending the last few weeks evangelizing, praying over people, and becoming more involved in their parish. Seeing the changes God has made in my life and the teens has me thankful for the experiences from the week and blessed for the ways God is working in my life.
God Bless- Ashley