I left my apartment around 9:50am this morning, I walked to Viată Nouă (New Life) church and I arrived there at 10:00am. We were supposed to leave at 10:00am but we didn’t end up leaving until at least 10:30 or 10:45am. I went in a car with Alin, his daughter and an older woman. We drove to the retreat centre in a bunch of different cars but it was quite nice to drive there together. It was kind of like follow the leader or even like a train at times during the travel there!
It was around a two hour drive to the River Sound Retreat Centre for the church’s annual
retreat (my first one with the church). The retreat centre is located two hours south-east of Oradea. We passed a town named Beius and the retreat centre is right in the heart of the Apuseni Mountains. As we drove closer to the retreat centre it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere because we were on these bad roads and surrounded by trees but then when we arrived there it was just beautiful!
I was really surprised by how beautiful the retreat centre was and also the surrounding area with the mountains all around it. I stayed in a room with four beds in it with three other ladies (two of them around my age and one woman in her 50s). When we arrived we got our rooms and then ate a delicious lunch. We had free time in the afternoon which was nice to enjoy some relaxing time and the weather was just beautiful outside to enjoy being outdoors!
There were around 35 people that came the first day and by the end of the weekend we had around 53 people including the children. All three Pastors of the church came with their wives and children. There were a lot of young married couples that came and also a lot of young families as well. There were a couple of older people that came to the retreat but mostly young people. There were three foreigners/ missionaries that came which included Chris and Sue from England and also myself. There was a good mixture of people, not too many but not too few either.
I am not a person who usually takes initiative to start a conversation or introduce myself to people but I really believe God gave me the courage to do it today and the rest of the weekend as He helped me step out of my comfort zone. Before the weekend I really prayed and asked God to help me be able to connect with people, meet new people and build relationships with them at the retreat.
It has really been on my heart to get connected to this body of believers and build
relationships with them to be able to feel more at home at this church. I haven’t really felt like I have fit into a church and where I could call it a home since I have moved to Oradea and it has been like a void in my life. I do believe God wanted to fill that “lack or void” in my life otherwise He wouldn’t have brought me to this church retreat this weekend.
In the evening we had our first session all together. We met in this shelter outside. Our first session was like an introduction for the weekend. We got booklets for the teachings and our schedule for the rest of the weekend too. In our booklets we received for the weekend we all got a number and a colour. For each number it also had a corresponding letter to it. We had to find our partners, spend some time getting to know them and then present them to everyone else in one of the sessions. The colours were for a group. I was in the prayer group and then there were other groups for other activities too.
After the first session we ate dinner. Then we had another session for a time of worship and prayer. We had a visiting Pastor from Bucharest and his wife. They visited our church retreat before they went to the airport on Saturday for a trip they went on. They brought this great DVD teaching by TD Jakes called “Can You Hear Me Now?” The sermon was about hearing God’s voice. It was a really great message and I learned so much from it!
It was a wonderful first day at the retreat! I was such a blessing to meet so many new people and also speak in the Romanian language as well. I’m sure the rest of weekend will be great too!