On February 3-5, over 100 students gathered at Camp Tecumseh for Saint Paul’s Outreach’s annual Fan into Flame Retreat. For some students this was their fourth Fan into Flame; for others it was their first. Some students arrived at the retreat anxiously awaiting what would come, others came back to this retreat with confidence in the power of the Lord’s work. All students were there because the Lord had called them to be there.
Though this retreat happens in New Jersey each year, this retreat was unique in a few ways. Fan into Flame 2017 had the largest attendance in New Jersey to date – over 100 students participated. Also, for the first time, there was an additional track of talks called “Two Kingdoms” – for students who have already had multiple experiences with Fan into Flame. On the "Two Kingdoms" track, participants learned that there are two kingdoms constantly at war – good and evil – and how to rely on the Lord’s strength to remain steadfast in faith and in the Lord’s kingdom. Also, for the first time, a majority of the Fan into Flame talks and testimonies were given by students and not Mission Leaders. Students eagerly stepped up to be leaders on this retreat - sharing their stories, planning activities, creating a welcoming enviroment and leading small groups.
The climax of the Fan into Flame retreat is a prayer meeting Saturday night that includes Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and a time for Small Groups to pray over each other and ask for a deeper outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
Joe McGlone, a Freshman at Seton Hall, shares his experience of the Prayer Meeting during Fan into Flame:
Liz Newman, a Sophomore at Seton Hall, experienced the healing peace of the Lord in a powerful way during the Prayer Meeting:
Before the retreat officially ends on Sunday, students are invited to share with the group their experience of the weekend and how the Lord worked. The response from students overwhelmingly revolved around community and thankfulness. Students were thankful for their small groups, for the prayers of their brothers and sisters, and for each other. Each Fan into Flame, the Lord builds up a community that does not end with the retreat; it just begins.
“Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10