Back to News
Large Number of Youth Gather for Prayer Summit at Glacier View Ranch »
“This is what it was like when I was a kid,” said a parent as he dropped off his teenager at Glacier View Ranch and saw the large number of other teenagers gathered for the Teen Prayer Summit. “This is like the good, old days.”
One hundred and forty-five youth flocked to Glacier View Ranch January 19-21 to hear Jonathan Leonardo speak for the summit, an increase of 55 over the previous year.
Leonardo, who currently works for the Hawaii Conference presenting the Love Reality tour on identity, purpose, and worth to youth all over Hawaii, shared his message with the youth of Rocky Mountain Conference as a soft-launch for the tour coming to Greeley (April 6-14) and Grand Junction (April 18-21).
His message communicates the reality of our identity in Christ. Repentance, he says, is the recognition of God’s love and an act of turning from the destructive power of sin to the life God wants us to live. Jesus defeated sin for us by dying on the cross. Sin no longer has power over us.
At the conclusion of Friday night’s message, kids were invited to write their responses to the theme on large posters on the platform saying “I AM.” Messages left included, “I am God’s.” “I am a child of God and He is my Father.” “I am His.”
“Jonathan’s message is at the center of my excitement about the weekend,” shared Kiefer Dooley, assistant youth director for the Rocky Mountain Conference. “That and the fact that 145 kids in our conference who want to work on their spiritual life attended.”
Dooley said he’d never seen the auditorium so full nor the people so engaged as that first Friday night together. Both kids and sponsors were divided randomly for icebreaker activities, giving them the opportunity to connect and invest in kids and sponsors from all over the conference. “The investment really showed [the rest of the weekend]” Dooley said.
During the morning Connection time, Hawaii Conference Youth Director, Erik VanDenburgh held a training session for the sponsors entitled, “From Sponsor to Mentor.” In the afternoon, the kids engaged in prayer-related activities, along with making S’Mores by an outdoor fire.
At 7:30 in the morning, as many as 80 kids showed up for prayer.
With the threat of a 24” snowstorm, some groups left early, posting messages on Facebook as they drove down the hill. “Leaving early to avoid snowstorm,” said one. “It was an amazing experience for all of us.”
According to Dooley, three things stood out for him during the weekend -- the obvious spiritual blessing during the weekend with fully engaged kids; the amount of fun everyone had with swimming, dodge ball, and other activities which actually took a second seat to the spiritual activities; and the safety experienced all weekend, with everyone going home better off than before they came.
Parent feedback was especially encouraging. “My kid got in the car and couldn’t stop talking about the weekend,” shared one parent. “My kid stood in the kitchen for three hours telling me what he experienced,” said another. “Thank you for what you’ve done for these kids. It’s made a difference.”
Sponsors exclaimed, “We’re clearing out our schedule. We want the Love Reality tour to come to our church.”
Be sure to register early for next year as the lodge fills up quickly.
-- Carol Bolden; photos by Kiefer Dooley