Thursday, September 8, 2011
We have been rolling along at a pretty good rate these days in Panama. One of the things that we had been working on was planning a retreat that took place this past weekend. For some time, we had wanted to initiate a Senior Retreat to start the graduating class on the right steps for their final year at CCA. There were a number of goals for the weekend, which we felt a lot of them were accomplished. All 15 seniors participated. We had team building games, time of worship, silly games, goal setting, prayer, and challenges. Clare and I put a lot of time planning and making the weekend go. It was such a success due to so many people praying for these seniors by name on multiple occasions. We Had 8 leaders give up their weekend and love on these kids. Their goal was for the students to not see them in a teacher role, but as an adult that cares and loves them. There was times of students asking teachers questions and leaders sharing what they were going through and what they were like as seniors. We were not sure as what to expect from the seniors as they have not been a unified group, but we were blown away by their response. They spent the whole weekend together, with no pairing off or having to coax them into talking or discussing. They were completely content being with each other including an hour of going around telling each other what they loved about them. We had so many things prepared in case there was not a lot of talking that we did not have to use. The real highlight was a new senior, Nick, coming to know the Lord. Awesome! His wish is that this would not be a phase for him. Please pray for him that he continues to seek the Lord and for him to understand that though he will have his struggles, that does not mean he is not a child of God. We pray that this weekend is just the beginning and a door opening to pour more into and be able to speak into the lives of these students. Clare and I hope that this will allow us to have more of them in our home to play games and dialogue about the decisions they are facing. It is very rewarding to kick something off that goes so well, and hope it becomes a tradition that the students look forward to. There are so many things to share, but I don't think I could cover it all so I will end it with an email from a parent: "I would like to express my deepest and heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved with the organization, planning and execution of the Senior Retreat. As a parent desiring to see the awakening of the hearts of our children to the love of Christ, I was thrilled to have my child participate. However, I was even more moved to hear her feedback of the time together. I would like to express a very special "bless you" to Nathan and Clare Richardson for the idea and bringing it to fruition. To Ann Marklund, you have marked (no pun intended) the heart of my daughter with your prophetic prayer over her. To the Cottons for the use of the mission base and the awesome muffins for breakfast (which I must have the recipe for). And to those who chaperoned as well as shared their own lives with these young people. I trust that the seeds planted and nurtured in each heart those twenty-four hours will take deep roots and blossom into much fruit. Please make this an annual tradition for Crossroads Christian Academy." God is doing great things here in Panama and we are privileged to see some of it first hand. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!