“Let us test and examine our ways and return to the Lord”
This verse from Lamentations 3:40 was the theme for U-Turn, a 3 day retreat held from 23rd to 25th October, 2015 at Trinity Central School, Perampalli, Udupi for working singles as an introduction to the Christian Life Seminar (CLS) program of CFCI Singles.
Udupi being a new area for us, we had a team consisting of Singles from Bangalore and Mangalore serving at the retreat. The team, at the beginning was a little unsure about the number of people who would attend this program. Fasting, chain Rosaries and intercession were all undertaken and the team stormed heaven with prayers for the participants. God works in wonderful ways and we had 26 people turn up for the program on the 1st day- a number that certainly exceeded expectations.
The first evening was all about the participants getting to know each other in a spirit of fellowship. The Music and Dance ministries led them in action songs, singing and dancing to praise the Lord. The participants responded with fantastic enthusiasm and it was truly a joy to behold them singing at the top of their voices and dancing along with the music. What then followed was a time of games and icebreakers, helping the participants to get to know each other. The 1st day ended on a good note, with all the participants looking forward to what the next 2 days had in store.
Day 2 began with worship in which everyone participated wholeheartedly. Then began the schedule of teachings for the participants, helping them to know more about the unconditional love of the Father through the first talk- Gods Love. The talk spoke to them about the great love that God the Father has for each one of us and His wonderful Plan for our lives. The talk ended with a letter from God the Father to each of the participants. Talk 2 then followed- the Power of the Cross spoke about the role of Jesus Christ and the salvation that he brought to each and every one of us through His suffering and death on the cross. The participants were very engrossed and participated well in the talks.
Talk 3 in the afternoon touched on the topic of Sin. This was a very lively and interesting talk with an explanation on the many ways we sin by breaking Gods commandments. The participants learned about how our sins hurt not only us, but the very heart of God. They were then invited to spend time reflecting on their sins. As the music ministry led them into a time of reflection, the participants spent time writing down their sins which were then symbolically nailed to the cross. As they nailed the sins, the participants left their old self on the cross and took on a new self in Christ. The sins were then taken out and burned in a symbolic renunciation of all their sins. The topic had certainly piqued the participants interest, and the rest of the evening was devoted to a Q&A session where the questions of the participants on the various sins and aspects of sin were addressed.
The third day began with worship and then led into the final teaching of the retreat on the topic of repentance. The participants were led into understanding the need for repentance and returning to the Lord. They then spent some time preparing for Confessions led by the music ministry and the Sacrament of Reconciliation followed. The participants certainly treated the Sacrament with reverence and the time of worship that followed saw them participate wholeheartedly in singing and praising God. The afternoon saw the celebration of the Eucharist and the feedback session that followed had the participants sharing their lives and the transformation that they have experienced. They joyously shared how much they enjoyed the experience of Christ at the retreat and were very enthusiastic about continuing the CLS. The evening ended with the Praise fest in which the participants were led to sing and shout praises to God by the music ministry.
All in all, U-Turn was a truly life changing experience for the participants and helped them know Christ more deeply and intimately. Here’s hoping the fire lit in their hearts keeps on burning and they set Udupi aflame for Christ.