Article: The Impact of Retreat/Conferences
Day one of the West (and East) African conference was memorable. The venue of the retreat is truly a place to retire to from the everyday noise of life. Everybody is very impressed to see how clean and serene the place is. Driving in through the gates makes all the efforts put in to getting there forgettable. We clearly have discovered another venue for future conferences and retreats.
I am reminded of the experience I had exactly ten years ago. I had traveled by road for a day, took a flight and traveled for another full day to get to Winniba, Ghana for the very first edition of the West African singles conference. The Church in Ghana must have hosted more of such conferences than any other.
It was at that conference that I met and connected with the one who is now my wife. She had also traveled by road for over 24 hours with a group of singles to make it to Winniba. The Theme of that conference was “The Treasure Within” and beyond getting renewed on the inside, I also found a treasure in her.
Conferences and retreats have played a key role in my life from my early days as a disciple till date. I was a young three months old Christian when I took part in the first retreat organized for disciples for the two churches that existed then in Germany. The opening message of the retreat was based on Hebrew 11, based on great men and women of faith in the past; and its impact lingers on in my heart, even till date.
I would go on to attend two European conferences of disciples organized by the Paris church for two successive years, 1993 and 1994. In the latter edition, we had all the world sector leaders back then attend and speak. Randy Mckean’s message on faith has remained engraved in my heart since then.
On the African continent, I have attended and also spoken at many conferences which have been turning points in my personal walk with God. Beyond the great messages, I have built lifetime friendships during many of these conferences. Two of those defining conference held in south Africa for two successive years, in 2000 and 2001. I met some of my best friends till date at that conference from the four families of churches in Africa. The recent trip to speak at the East African Singles conference was one of those deeply impacting experiences for my wife and I. We now have a deep connection with disciples from the East Coast of Africa thanks to that retreat organized by the disciples in Kenya. I could go on and on.
What has been your experience with retreats and conferences? Do you consider them a worthy spiritual investment of your time, energy and money?
What are you going to do about next year’s conferences and retreats? This is the time to start planning.
*Psalm 122:1-2; Luke 2:41; Acts 8:27*