God’s grace abounds! That was the theme this year at New Generation’s Annual Youth Retreat. Not only were the talks and devotionals on this subject fantastic, but God’s grace did abound with His presence and praise echoing throughout Campamento Divina Promesa (Camp Divine Promise).  We had more than 50 participants at this year’s camp, from a wide variety of towns in and around the Antigua area. Areas such as Sumpango, Chimaltenango, Ciudad Vieja, Jocotenango,  Santa Lucia Milpas Altas and Alotenango were well represented. The purpose of our annual retreat is to provide teens that we’ve interacted with within the schools in which we work, as well as our discipleship groups, an opportunity to grow spiritually while meeting students from other areas, and of course have fun while doing it! 

The annual trip is a highlight of the year for both staff and students. The three-day retreat included a praise band, 2 morning devotionals, 5 teaching sessions, a rally (team contest with a variety of challenges), and a campfire. The teaching and devotional time was led primarily by our annual team from Oral Roberts University. At the conclusion of each teaching either Luis Carlos or Chad would augment by sharing as well; adding the salsa to the tacos as we call it. Students learned that God’s grace does abound in trials, temptations, moments of great joy, and moments of great despair. We love and serve a Father who cares for His children in every moment of their lives, even when they are far off. During the retreat we had 8 students make a profession of faith, a handful of believing students return to their Father, 3 baptisms, and everyone walk away spiritually refreshed.

On the last night we had a huge bonfire where students had the opportunity to share in front of others how they were impacted over the weekend long retreat. It was an enormous blessing to hear students open up about past struggles, such as drug addiction, broken homes, battling depression, and have them share how they’ve seen how God has brought them through the other side by His great grace, love, and mercy. The most emotional moment for me was when Levi from Alotenango recounted his testimony how he once was serving faithfully in children’s ministry, only to move into great depression and despair when he lost his younger brother. This loss caused Levi to both use and sell drugs in his town. However, being at the retreat reminded him of God’s presence and promises for His children. Levi in turn repented of his ways, re-dedicated his life to the Lord, and wants to begin faithfully serving again. It is moments such as these that remind us that God is at work, the fields are white to harvest, and we are laborers of a faithful Father and His grace does indeed abound. 

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Meeting1Meeting5This past Tuesday with the help of the Mission Impact main office, the different ministry sites working with fuel efficient stoves (Healthy Communities, Vida & Esperanza School, Hechos 2:8 [Acts 2:8], Construyendo Corazones [Building Hearts] and,  Appropriate Technology) got together at the A.T.  workshop in Santa Maria de Jesus to share their chanllenges, standardize criteria on models of stoves, discuss new objectives for 2016 and spend time with the Lord as they make new plans.

Knowing that each leader, from each ministry site, works very hard and has little time to spare in their day, it was rewarding to see them to come participate in the event.

After all the hard work, they had a small celebration to keep in mind that it is only God who makes this possible and allows our works to bear fruit.

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Pastor Matt Stokes from Coastal Christian, NJ shares why he thinks coming to Guatemala and seeing things first hand can give you a new perspective on how the body of Christ functions inside and outside the US.