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Well, I’m running a full week behind in getting my newsletter written. Sometimes life just gets in the way. 😊
Last week was our annual ‘retreat’ week at RFIS. The Middle School students stayed in town and slept in their own homes but spent the days in less traditional educational activities ranging from a special speaker throughout the week to visiting a local recording studio. I traveled with our high school students to a hotel-type location about 3 hours away from our campus. Our guest speaker was GREAT (and it was also really fun that he was the dad of three of our students). I spent most of the ‘free time’ rotating through life guard duties at the pool and got WAY too much sun, but thoroughly enjoyed the cold water between times ‘on duty.’
Retreat is a really unique experience for our students, and it is always exciting to see how God moves in their hearts over the course of the week! This year was tremendous, and, quite honestly, I don’t think I can even articulate what it was like. Never before has God so clearly told me to ‘sit back and watch . . . keep your mouth shut . . . let ME do this.’ And he did. As students knelt and wept before our makeshift cross (made of a walking stick and some Christmas lights), something happened. Something happened not only in those who had come forward, but perhaps equally in their peers who surrounded them, wept with them, held them, and prayed with and for them.
At the time, I didn’t have the words to describe why I was struck so differently by this moment than similar situations in the past. It wasn’t until church this Sunday morning as we sang a song that included the lyrics “I see a generation, rising up to take their place” (Hillsong’s “Hosanna”) that it became clear to me. The transformation that so touched my heart was the manner in which our kids rose to the occasion and stepped forward to serve one another. What tremendous expectation and excitement we can have for the future with the reassurance that these are the people God is preparing to ‘rise up and take their place!’ I can’t wait to see what God will continue to do in the coming weeks and years in and through these kids!
Please continue to pray for the political situation in Cameroon. Tensions remain high, especially in the NW and SW regions. Though RFIS is a safe distance from the unrest, many of our students have family members in the midst of it, and the extra stress and pressure is wearing on many of them.
Thousands are displaced and/or living in fear. If God so leads, please consider giving to NAB’s Cameroon Crisis Relief Fund that has been established through the CBC (Cameroonian Baptist Convention). You can read more about this at https://nabconference.org/give/cameroon-crisis-relief/
Blessings to you all! Kristi TenClay