There is something so special and exciting when young leaders gather to encourage, empower, and embrace one another in the power of the Holy Spirit! There is hope, there is expectancy, and there is an atmosphere of victory.
International and Intentional
Every conference has its own flavor but With the Wind has its own pulse. With the Wind is more of a retreat: a time for learning, rest, and community.
This year felt like a leadership summit. At the Community of the Cross, we had 9 participants and about 9 leaders hailing from Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, California, Texas, Connecticut, Czechslovakia, and the UK.
There were many hugs and times of catching up among friends from all different corners of the world, as well as a beautiful folding in of new friends. The Koinonia that the Lord wove during this time was super special.
Shared responsibility and a blending of roles created a feeling of oneness during the retreat time. The young leaders who attended didn’t feel separated into those with official roles and mere participants; rather, we were a true community.
Teaching and Worship
Jordan Wilson danced with Holy Spirit and led some amazingly sweet times in worship. Amanda Whelden did some Holy Spirit-inspired painting during worship.
Jay Knobloch, Susan Finck, and Benjamin McEntire did some awesome teaching and facilitating.
There were even some times when the Word came to life right before our very eyes! The group acted out John 1: 35-39 when John the Baptist called his disciples to, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” We even got a visit from Philip, who told us all about his life and his divine appointment on the road to Gaza with an Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26-40).
Discernment and Creativity
There were table talks at lunch this year, which was a new addition.
We sat facing each other around a huge square while Josh and Rebecca Modrzynski guided conversations about specific concerns like balance in ministry and making decisions ranging from school to work to spouses to ministry callings.
Matthew 6: 25-34 was shared at the table talk that addressed the difficulties of decision-making, and it spoke peace to us all. Do not be anxious. Do not worry. Seek first the Kingdom of God. He is faithful. He is true. He is unwavering.
Diane McFerrin gave us all a great opportunity to explore creating with our hands at the direction of our Beloved’s voice.
We made journals and worked on other fun projects that stretched some of us who don’t always feel so gifted with creating art. There’s beauty in creating something that was directed not by yourself, but by the Lord.
The Desires of Our Hearts
One of the night sessions was guided by two questions that the Lord gave to the leadership team during their meeting: “What has the Lord done for you?” and “What do you want Him to do?” While the Koinonia was sweet and strong, the Lord led us to have individual time with Him in a corporate setting.
There was a time of praise and a time of allowing the Lord to search our hearts as well. It was a night of “passing the baton” as Mary Ellen, Adam, and I were on point for the evening.
It was a sweet and gentle night of dancing with our Papa. We named and let go of some baggage that we were trying to lug behind us and received instead from Him what He desires to give each of us.
Our focus was solely on the Lord. He affirmed our identities in Him, reminded us who He is, and gave us a night full of worship and praise to His name and for His glory!
With the Wind was a wonderful time of mentoring and stretching for all of us.
Our focus this year was on Listening Evangelism.
Sometimes we as young adults can feel so alone when the landscape of our generation is so dry.
We don’t see many others in our age group seeking after the Lord or listening to His voice, but He used everyone present to encourage and refresh one another.
We learned some renewed ways of loving those in our circles. We each have unique circles that we impact specially and we were reminded of our role.
We are to listen to and obey the Lord. There was healing over the word Evangelism for some in the group, which led to a beautiful realization of how the Lord loves to partner with us to bring about healing in His creation.
From Preaching to Practice
On the last full day of the retreat, participants went into town to participate in some listening evangelism. Once in cars, the three groups asked the Lord for direction.
One group spoke blessing over places where they were led, another went all the way to a Cold Stone in Asheville where the Lord had a very special meeting set for the manager of the ice cream shop, and the last group traipsed all over town looking for a pink water bottle (which was their leading) and finally found her! Such faith and joy was built in the sharing of their stories.
Dancing for Joy
As always, the Barn Dance was a hit among the participants–whether they chose to dance or not!
The Barn Dance is a free summer event that occurs every Friday night in Montreat and it has become a tradition for With the Wind peeps to attend.
It is jam packed with a mix of locals and visitors and not too well ventilated but this doesn’t deter the lively crowd on the dance floor. It is a night of pure JOY!
Continuing to Step Out
We hope that you in the larger PRMI community will join with us in prayer for next summer’s With the Wind.
Please ask the Holy Spirit to put on your heart any young people (ages 18-30) you may know who would benefit from this event.
Most of all, please thank God with us for the time of refreshing and empowering that was With the Wind 2016!