We all know the song, and is it ever relatable at the moment! Baby, it’s cold outside!
But just like the old adage, “cold hands, warm heart,” just as things get really chilly outside, CBOQ Youth heats up.
This January and February, youth groups from across Ontario and Quebec will be packing their bags and heading to Muskoka Woods for CBOQ’s annual youth retreats. During the weekend getaway, they’ll have time for unplugged fun in the great outdoors and our staff and volunteers will have them climbing the walls, getting swept off their feet in broom ball, and falling over themselves on the toboggan slopes. Aside from enjoying God’s beautiful creation and getting some exercise, there is a greater opportunity for joy at Avalanche and Blizzard. It’s a chance for kids to meet their bigger faith family and connect with God in a meaningful way.
The youth will have times of worship, teaching, prayer and conversation with each other and with God. They’ll have a chance to think about what they believe and learn more about the God who loves them.
“Youth events like Avalanche and Blizzard are mountaintop experiences where students and leaders meet God in different ways for inspiration and encouragement as they grow in their everyday walk in the valley of life. These become markers in their faith journey, anchor points to reflect and acknowledge those memorable moments with Jesus,” says Alvin Lau, Youth Ministries Associate at CBOQ. These mountaintop moments are important to have as kids head back to the sometimes difficult realities of their everyday lives.
“These retreats create an atmosphere where [youth] can encounter God. [Avalanche and Blizzard] are geared toward helping kids experience God. I’ve experienced God’s love in those places. It’s hard for kids to connect to God just on Sunday mornings; it helps kids know that there is a God out there,” says Jeremy Ranasinghearachchigedon, current Blizzard/Avalanche staff and former participant.
So this Sunday, look over at the section of the sanctuary where the youth sit. Maybe you have an amazing group of attentive, tidy, Spirit-filled smiling teenagers in your community. But there’s a good chance that what you see won’t quite fit that description. Instead, they might not be paying attention. They might be glued to the smart phones in their hands. They might be obviously sleeping. They might be talking to each other just loudly enough to be truly disruptive. It’s hard to see what lies on the inside sometimes. But try to see what God sees. He sees someone at one of the hardest points of their lives, trying to figure out who they are, trying to figure out what they believe and he loves them. Attitude and all. Avalanche and Blizzard are for them – a chance to let them know that God understands them (even when their parents don’t).
Please remember to pray for the youth in your church family – all the time. But especially as you see young people heading off to Avalanche and Blizzard. Please pray:
- That they experience God in meaningful ways
- For the peace of Christ to be with the leaders
- For safety for everyone travelling and attending