A Deeper Walk Retreat for Western & Central Visayas
By Sarah Lynn Bahinting, Visayas Media Coordinator
It was a rainy weekend but it did not stop the young people coming from the Western and Central Visayas churches of GCI to get together last September 13-15 for a 3-day retreat at the CICM Mission Center Maryshore in Talisay, Negros Occidental. A total of 28 youth leaders participated, 12 of whom represented Cebu, 9 from Bacolod, 4 from Kalibo, 2 from San Carlos City and 1 from the national office.
The event was hosted by Grace Communion Bacolod and was facilitated by a team from Odyssey In Christ. The local facilitators were Terrence Santibanez with his wife Leny, Pons Lizares, and Cora Co; while the visiting team was composed Gracie Johnson and Tom Fallon from the US. It was the first time for Tom to visit the Philippines while Gracie had been visiting the country to facilitate retreats for OIC since 2015.
The retreat's theme was "Who Am I?" aimed at helping participants find and discover their true identity in light of how the Father in Jesus sees them. Different spiritual practices were taught and practiced throughout the retreat - silence and solitude, lectio divina and a few meditative prayer forms. The participants were then allowed to share their experiences and revelations from God with a partner or with a small group. Mrs. Leny Santibanez also discussed the importance of being in a community of believers and emphasized that in fellowship we find strength, hope and growth in our spiritual journey.
The praise and worship times were also very inspiring not only to the young people who were there but to the facilitators as well. The song “Safe” by Victory Worship that was sung on the second night moved many deeply. It reminded everyone that Jesus is their fortress, anchor, and resting where they find safety and security.
One participant from Cebu shared that the retreat gave him a deeper understanding of his true identity in Christ. Another person also said that it helped her to believe and trust in God more. For most who attended, a common feeling and sense of being refreshed and blessed as they found themselves in a deeper walk with Jesus, was experienced.
Praise God for a wonderful event and for meeting the participants and facilitators in personal ways during the retreat.