This Changes Everything
During the month of January, The Oaks hosted a winter teen retreat of over 350 junior and senior high students. They came from diverse ethnic backgrounds, skin colors, and languages. It was a three-day weekend bursting with excitement from early morning until the late night hours. The fire-pit Jeff built is always a popular place to stay warm during the evening activities. It also provides a place where campers can sit and talk freely with their leaders and pastors.
The theme for the winter retreat was, “This Changes Everything” with the theme verse being from Matthew 10:39. During the retreat we were witness to the Lord’s powerful Word transform even the hardest hearts. Below are some highlights from the weekend that stood out for our campers:
- The worship Leader Brian spoke about how he was raised "in the Hood” with no dad. He told the inner-city teens that he practices singing opera. The students were somewhat rolling their eyes and snickering to one another...and then he began to sing. When he finished the entire audience gave him a roaring ovation! It was so beautiful, some were even in tears. His gift reached down and touched hearts in a way that only our Heavenly Father can orchestrate.
- “I’ve been an addict, but now the old me is dead. I am a new creation in Christ, my old lifestyle is gone and I finally found joy in my life. I am committed to living with purpose that I had been searching for but never found it until this weekend.”
- “God is restoring what is broken in my life. All of the TV shows had a dad...I hated that! I've never met my dad because he never wanted me. This weekend I asked Jesus Christ to take the place of the dad I never had.”
- “My life could be a commercial for Jesus Christ. Before, I was a mess but now after camp I am different...now I want to tell others what I have found.”
- “Be careful...because when you leave The Oaks you will be challenged. Tomorrow when you are back at school, challenges will be waiting for you.”
- “You may eat lunch alone because of the new person you have become; so surround yourself with other Christian friends who will lift you up.”
- “This generation was born with a ‘fake-o-meter,’ but we now have the ‘truth-o-meter.’ Things that run away when the lights go on are like cockroaches. When you turn the light on, people may scatter as cockroaches do. Only your true friends will stay. We are different now. We are not the same as we used to be, but we will stand firm, because Jesus Changes Everything!”
We are grateful for the Word of the Lord that reaches down into our hearts and changes everything. We look forward to having camps and retreats at The Oaks again soon.