To be honest, I never really expected much from this retreat. We thought we would go on to follow the same “retreat formula”: Visit a remote resort in Bogor or Puncak, listen to a few sermons, and spend the rest of the time hanging around with friends. The idea of being with friends was more exciting than the idea of experiencing a spiritual awakening. And as our retreat began, it really seemed as if this retreat was sticking to formula. We arrived at a remote resort in Bogor, sat down and listened to a few sermons, and spent the rest of the time playing games with friends. Nothing was new. Nothing was different.
However, at the second night of the retreat, as all of us gathered to listen to another evening sermon, the preacher started sharing of the importance of faith as a Christian. I started pondering on my own faith as a believer. I had always been confused and far away from God with the busy routine of school tasks, assessments, and projects. I realized how lost I really was as a Christian, and that I needed help.
As the last day of retreat approached, I was still confused, and seeking what I should do with my spiritual life. Before we went back, one program was added that stood out from the normal “retreat formula”: a visitation to Bakti Luhur Orphanage. As we stepped in to the halls of the building, immediately we were welcomed by the happy faces of the kids. These kids lived their lives without parents, and many of them had physical disabilities of sight or hearing that most of us would never imagine of having. Yet all of them were excited to see us come.
When the service started, the kids immediately ran up to the stage, joyfully jumping, dancing, and singing the Christian songs being played. When I witnessed this positive enthusiasm within these children, I felt touched and amazed. Most of us would barely jump or feel excitement during praise and worship sessions in chapel, yet these children were wholeheartedly praising God with all of their might, despite their problems and limitations. If these people could love God so fervently, how much more could I give to be closer to God?
When I got the chance to personally serve or play with these children, I experienced the true love of God and the joy that comes with it. I spent a significant amount of time with this one girl who was born deaf. She couldn’t listen to my voice, nor could she listen to the music being played. Yet as I briefly communicated, danced, and played with her, her face of joy and happiness brightened up my day. She didn’t care about what I was saying or about what was going on around her. All she cared about was that I took some time to care for her. I saw light in her eyes that I had never seen in any other individual. That light transformed my retreat. We were directly exposed to the application of God’s love, and our hearts were opened to love God more. During this retreat, the hope to grow as believers was planted in us, by us planting hope in the eyes of another.
A Reflection of Y10 Retreat by Nathanael M. W.