Thursday, April 28, 2011

BMA's Catch It Retreat Starts

“Catch It” is an amazing concept that God gave some of BMA’s Christian students a few years ago.  They were at a conference in Budapest and it seemed that the Holy Spirit was prompting them to take some new action to bring Jesus to their unbelieving friends.  The first “Catch It” happened in 2009 and several kids traced their conversions to this exciting time.  It was so encouraging that the third edition will take place this weekend (Thursday - Saturday April 28th - April 30th).
I’m writing this note as the students are gathering at the conference center up the mountain from us.  It’s called KAM Malenovice.  In a few hours I’ll be heading up there to lead a night game in the woods.  I made up a complicated three-team strategy adventure.  To help me prepare, the kids gave the list of the Catch It participants.  It’s a thrill to read the names.  There are 36 kids.  15 are first year students.  Less than half are believers.  All the kids signed up for a weekend in which they knew there would be games and fun but they’d also get serious teaching and a direct spiritual challenge.
I’ve been to lots of teenager retreats in our seven years here.  A lot of them involved   trekking through cold, wet wilderness to get to chilly cabins in the middle of nowhere.  Almost all of them involved early mornings without quite enough coffee, long afternoons with crazy activities, late nights with tea and profound conversation.  But none of them have borne the kind of fruit that this Catch It enterprise has.  Maybe it’s because this one is not top down (conceived by the youth leaders or teachers) but bottom up (we adults are the guests.)  

A couple of years ago, I was invited to lead a drama seminar.  I’m attaching some of the pictures from that!  The kids invited me to do that again this year, too, but I urged them to get a fourth year student involved instead.  He just landed a spot in a very prestigious university drama program.  So they signed me up to create a night game.  I will have three teams running around in the dark.  Two teams will attempt to smuggle gold through the woods and up the foothills of our mountain, and one team, the police, armed with flashlights, will try to intercept them.
The invitation that really honors me is to give a testimony on Saturday morning, near the end of the program.  They asked me to take half an hour, and to somehow coordinate with Dave, the lead teacher.  Dave will focus his three sessions on questions like, “Who are we?” “Who is God?” “What is our biggest problem in life?” and “How does Jesus solve that problem?”  I am planning to talk about my teenage journey -- how I grew sick of myself, began to recognize the problem of sin, and heard about Jesus from an amazing Sunday School teacher who took me to hear Billy Graham.  
But I’m not sure.  I really have to pray.  I’m definitely willing to get a completely new inspiration from the Holy Spirit.