On December 4, Olivet Teen Mission International held an online retreat together with over 40 participants from the United States, Europe, South America, Africa, US, Southeast Asia, and Asia Pacific. The ministry continues to hold its monthly retreats for the past 3 months. God is allowing more and more teens to be connected through this from the churches and OTM chapters. Teens are so joyful in seeing one another and many of their leaders share that they don’t feel so lonely when they see others joining globally. The regular programs give great hope in witnessing more and more teens devoting their lives to God’s Kingdom.
The theme of the December retreat was Creation & Sin where participants looked at Genesis 1-4 through 4 Bible studies. The retreat was also a time of praise, activity, and sharing. The messages highlighted included Genesis 1 about the Image of God. It was described how man is created in the image of God which is love and how we ought to bear the fruit of love.
“There is something that God wants us to do – respond to His love, choose Him, choose to love Him,” was shared in the Bible study. “That is something He can never do. Only I can do that because I have free will. God desires for us to return this love. This is when love can be complete – when we can become true fruit. Also with Free Will, it’s risky – there’s a chance that we can not choose Him. It is vulnerable, you open yourself completely, knowing that there is the possibility, there is a chance, that person does not choose to love you, possibility to be disappointed. Almighty God becomes also powerless God, He becomes weak, because of love.”
Another pastor lectured on Genesis 2 and Genesis 3. The second Bible study highlighted the importance of using one’s time well for what is spiritual, especially during the teenage years. Genesis 3 explained about the Original Sin and the importance of why God gave the commandment to Adam and Eve.
Genesis 4 explained, “God accepted ‘Abel and his gift,’ while he did not accept ‘Cain and his gift.’ It was not only that God looked at their offerings, but He looked first at them, at their hearts. This shows that Cain’s life was not pleasing to God. We should know why that was so and also how Abel’s life was pleasing to God. Because of the world, we have a lot of sinful thoughts and habits. God wants to change those. We must allow Him to change that. We should seek to be changed. The sin in us brings great trouble, that is why there are fights, why there is suffering. We do not love one another. We follow the way of the world. The way to restore it is to return to our correct position which is to seek God.”
One teen from Southeast Asia shared, “I hope to Bear fruit for God by action through evangelism, and by daily Bible study. I appreciate the words of God that reminded me to know God at a young age. I realized that I should be alert to keep my body holy because it is the temple of God. I pray for my faith to remember to live a life to serve God.“
One OTM potential member from Zambia shared, “I could realize the reason God gave us the commandment because he loves us and by keeping them we can be protected with the Holy Spirit.”
A missionary from Romania shared, “Thank you for the retreat for teens. Nicoleta received so much grace, she was touched to tears. Bea also said she really liked it and she wants to join every time.”
A newcomer from Texas, evangelized through an Instagram Ad, joined for the first time. She reflected, “I loved it actually. The bible study was great. Ilearned so much just by the first 4 chapters of Genesis and how God loves us so much and how sin was never caused by him. It really taught me a lot and how arrogance can blind us. Thank you! I really enjoyed it.”
May God continue to use OTM monthly retreats to gather and unite the hearts of teens globally. The aim is that each region will one day hold their own retreats weekly so that the Word of God can be spread abundantly in the lives of teens around the world!