New Jersey Hosts its Biggest Fan into Flame Yet

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:

God was present. This much is obvious to me. Seeing the Spirit work through other people moved me to call on the Lord and ask Him to come into my life in a way I would never have thought of before. After I prayed with my small group, I took one brother aside and asked him to pray over me. Unhesitatingly, he took another man, we stood arm in arm, and they prayed for me, asking the Holy Spirit to come down and to fill me up. Personally, having a group of strong people to keep me honest and keep me focused on finding the Lord every day has been a truly life-changing experience.

Liz Newman, a Sophomore at Seton Hall, experienced the healing peace of the Lord in a powerful way during the Prayer Meeting:

About a month before the retreat I experienced the loss of my brother. Before the retreat, I was convinced that I was ok and that I still trusted God. Once I got to the retreat and listened to the first few talks, I began to realize that I was angry. God had answered the prayers of so many of the people on the retreat, but it seemed that he was doing nothing for me. When the time for adoration came I sat there angry at God and myself. I realized that I hadn’t fully trusted God for a while, and I was upset that I was only just realizing this now. God didn’t stop working in me though. He placed a friend of mine in the right place at the right time, and I ended up talking to her about everything that was bothering me. Now, I was eager for the prayer meeting. I had a good feeling that God was going to help me. While my small group was praying over me, I felt a deep sense of peace and trust and I rested in the Holy Spirit. I felt that God was telling me to trust Him. My brother is safe with Him now and my prayer had been answered.

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