Washington Youth Groups “Exchange” Their Gifts

| |

Many youth group leaders plan weekend retreats for their youth groups. The “Exchange” retreat was planned and executed by the students themselves.

Eighty young people with their leaders from Sonlight Christian Reformed Church in Lynden, Third CRC, also in Lynden, and Word of Truth International Ministries in Seattle, gathered in mid-April to worship together, share stories about their faith, play games, ride three-wheelers, and build friendships.

Mike Slofstra, youth pastor from Sonlight CRC, said, “There was nothing on the weekend that the students did not take a primarily leadership in. We had youth representation from all the churches.” Students planned everything from worship to mixer games to meals.

Young people from Word of Truth Ministries live in a Seattle neighborhood where many families live below the poverty line, whereas many of the Lynden youth live in mostly white rural communities.

Clarence Presley, pastor of Word of Truth Ministries, said, “It allowed us the opportunity to interact with people, not just ethnicity. We are creating real relationships with people . . . they have names.”

Austin Burke of Sonlight CRC said, “The unity and enthusiasm amongst the leadership team was great! I love being a part of an event that makes friendships which will last a lifetime!”

The young people participated in a follow-up retreat at Word of Truth International Ministries in Seattle on April 28. They worshiped together as part of the Sunday morning service and visited an indoor trampoline park.

This is the third Exchange retreat; youth leaders plan to continue the event every other year.

About the Author

Amy Toornstra is a freelance news correspondent for The Banner. She lives in Salem, Oregon.

X