The Leap of Faith

As I pulled up the Chi Alpha website to register for retreat, my mind was going a million miles a second. Should I do this? But I don’t know anyone… do I even deserve to go to retreat? I was filled with so many doubts, fears, and worries. I had never been on a religious retreat, I have never even been part of a youth ministry before! Where could I possibly find the courage, let alone the time, to escape to the middle of nowhere Virginia with people who I didn’t even know? But as these doubts flew through my mind, I felt this strange and unfamiliar inward pull. Do it, Bethan. Don’t be afraid. It was just enough of a whisper that I took the leap. I registered for Fall Retreat. Little did I know how much would change after I pressed “Purchase”.

Chi Alpha RetreatFall Retreat was a life changing experience. From day one, I had already met and connected with so many new people. Everyone was open and kind, and radiated this excitement for Christ and the weekend ahead of us. As we went from activity to activity, my fears began to melt away. Although I did not realize it, God was using this weekend to bring me back to the path He planned for me. At the Saturday service, I felt something I had never felt before. My heart was opening up to God. Through the community around me, the sermons, and the worship, the walls that had surrounded my soul for so long were melting away. My doubt to take the leap and give up my life to Christ was fading. I felt this energy, unlike anything I had ever experienced, that made me more certain that God was present in my life. I wanted to tell the world how I felt, and Fall Retreat gave me that opportunity. Despite my initial doubts, being baptized at retreat was the best decision I could have made. As I came out of the water, surrounded by a community who truly cared about me and my walk with Christ, I saw the love of God before my eyes, gathered on the beach clapping and cheering. Encompassed by grace and love, I truly found my faith at retreat. As I smiled and held back tears (happy ones of course), I knew in my heart that retreat had pulled the veil away from my eyes. I was no longer blindly lost and wandering—I had finally found God.

Bethan Saunders (new window), SFS ’17