This weekend is going to be huge for the movement here in Valencia. Tomorrow we will have the first ever "fall" retreat. We say fall because, well, it's fall in the U.S. and they just don't really have seasons here. But it's the first one. Ever. This is exciting for many reasons.
1. Because students get to get away together and connect with the Lord and each other.
2. This is setting the norm to have this retreat for years to come.
3. Retreats are always great for building momentum and getting students excited about going back to campus and doing ministry.
4. We get to see first hand what God is doing in students lives and connect on a much deeper level.
5. Our entire staff team is working together to raise support as a team to allow this retreat to happen.
6. We've already seen God do awesome things (like provide a location when all hope was lost, seeing funds come in to pay for the retreat, students are really excited).
It has certainly been a lot of work to plan this retreat with no previous tracks to run on, but our team is being awesome and faithfully working together to make it happen.
Would you please pray for retreat this weekend? Would you pray that students would come, that they would bring their friends (that we'd have a bus big enough to take everyone)? Would you pray for Bart as he's giving 4 talks this weekend (with translation, they will probably last 50 minutes)? Would you pray for our family to be able to enjoy the time there (we'll be 3 hours away)? Leah threw up twice yesterday and we're not sure why. She seemed fine all day even after she threw up, once in the morning and then right before bed. Would you pray that Bart (and Noah and I) wouldn't get whatever she might have?
We'll need energy and patience. The keyword here in Venezuela is flexibility. When we say the students are leaving at 1:00 tomorrow it will probably be 2:00 or 2:30. When we have a schedule for retreat, we just go with the flow and try to stick to it. No one has ever been to the retreat place so we don't know much about it. But we're praying that it is a time of experiencing the Lord and just being ok with chaos. :) If nothing else, there's a pool and horses that we can pay extra for. Maybe the kids and I can swim and ride horses all weekend?
All in all, we're looking forward to seeing what God does this weekend. It will end up being almost 3 days with travel time, and we're praying God allows us to have significant conversations with students and staff. Would you join us in praying for these things?
We'll try to update again next week with pictures! But for now.......