What a weekend!
Last weekend I was at the AICEMEA youth conference in Burg Stahleck at Bacharrach. Our church is part of AICEMEA (Association of international churches in Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and this year the APC hosted the yearly conference. The topic was ARMOR, see Eph. 6, 14-17 ("Therefore take up the whole armor of God...").
It was great hanging out with so many people from different countries and churches (Bonn, Frankfurt, Berlin, London, Oslo, Stockholm, Kopenhagen, Madrid, Antwerp and Brussels). We were around 120 people. The weekend (from thursday on) was lots of fun: games (sticking lifesavers on somebody's face, putting haribo up your nose [yuk!], spelling words with your feed), a trip along the Rhine watching out for castles, visiting the Middle Ages Christmas Market in Siegburg, Siedler of Catan, Carcasson, hanging out with coffee and talking, talking, talking ... Cheryl (who had worked in Surrey with Dave and Sarah) came from Florida to lead us in worship. We had a spontaneously put together worship band - and they did an awesome job! The speaker during the five sessions was Jason Santos, the former youth director of our church. He's now attending seminar in Princeton. But he came back for the retreat together with his wife Shannon and his little and extremely cute son Judah. It was wonderful meeting them; I love making new friends!
Jason's teaching included talking about our enemy (the evil one), choosing sides (you can either be on God's side or the enemy's, but not just stand on the fence), the armor of God, preparing for battle (praying, reading the bible, fellowship) and the battle and the return of the King (Jesus' second coming). It was some of the best teaching I've had and it really touched us and the students. He used scenes from the movie "Lord of the Rings" to illustrate some parts - that was cool. I really have to see part 3 now!
The most precious moment for me was on saturday night when Jason, after he taught about the battle and the return of the King, challenged the students to take decisions about following Jesus, taking sides or preparing for battle. Cheryl led us in singing "Jesus you are everything I'm not, everything that I want to be", each one was praying and some students got up to pray with their leaders. It was so intense, you could really feel God's presence, it almost made me cry cause it was so wonderful!