The poster for the 2020 Online Summer Retreat
With luscious waves and a white-sanded beach in the background, the 2020 Online Summer Retreat for the east coast started. Although there was not a lot of time to invite people because of the recent IYF World Camp and IYF Kid's Bible Camp, many new people came and around 2000 participants were registered for the retreat.
The Summer Retreat was filled with nostalgic and peaceful memories of old times. The retreat became a program that many brothers and sisters who were exhausted in their spirits because of the coronavirus pandemic could find rest and new strength.
Featuring our MC couples!
Every session was Emceed by a pastor and his wife
With the appearance of the unexpected MCs, the brothers and sisters' eyes became wide and smile filled their faces. Young pastoral couples were tasked with the MCing instead of the usually designated emcee. They make mistakes and nervousness are plain on their faces however, they opened the hearts of all the brothers and sisters.
Dance time with American Dream
"If I can do it, you can do it"
For the dance time, a pastor that weights more than 230 pounds, a brother who has a ripped Achilles tendon, and a sister who doesn't have any coordination led the dance session with the motto "If I can do it, you can do it!"
"I underwent a surgery when I ripped my Achilles tendon. I could not understand why that happened to me at the time. After the surgery, I got a call from my pastor. He told me, “Hey Nam yoon. Do you know why you got the surgery? It so you can play basketball again. The doctor had told me that I should never do any rough sports ever again because if my Achilles tendon gets ripped again, I would live the rest of my life limping. However, as according to the words of the servant of God, I have recovered and am playing basketball again. When I heard that I was going to be on the dance team, I felt burdened and thought, “would I be able to do this?” However, I received the heart of the servant of God that if we could do it, the many brothers and sisters would be so joyful and happy. Although we have shortcomings and are horrible at dancing, we were able to record 8 dances when we connected our hearts to the servant of God. When I connect my heart to the heart of the servant of God, I am the world’s greatest dancer."
– Nam Yoon Kim, Good News New York Church
“I thought it was obvious that I had some things that I was good at and some things that I was bad at. But during the Bible study, we heard the words the words that “we can do all things through Him that strengthens us.” I have no coordination, rhythm, or pitch at all but I joined American dream when I relied on the word of God. It was burdensome and I thought it would not work out but through the faith in the church, I was able to receive so much happiness and joy through this."
– Yoon Ji Shim, Good News New York Church
All the participants join the dance with their bodies
All the brothers and sisters viewing the dances got up from their seats and started to dance in front of their cameras. Laughter was apparent from their faces as they followed along the easy and fun dances with American dream. We could see them get brighter and brighter as they danced.
Singing Hymns in One Accord
All gathering with one accord to sing “Hymns of My Spirit”
As if walking on the shores of a peaceful beach and sitting by a cool river in the forest, the backgrounds brought back memories of before. For many, it has been a long time since they could sing hymns from the “Songs of my Spirit” hymnbook. They would sometimes divide parts between sisters and brothers. Although they could not hear each other sing, all of the brothers and sisters singing with one accord could be seen on the many screens.
Performances with American Dream and the Gracias Choir
The hymn time was followed by the bright dances of American dream and the awe-inspiring performances of the Gracias Choir. The open hearts of the brothers and sisters were lifted onto the music by the Gracias Choir and the peace in their hearts were apparent on their faces.
Gospel classes in 6 Different Languages
Gospel classes were held in Korean, English, Spanish, Mandarin, Karen, and Burmese. The guest speaker, Pastor Sung Hwa Jo spoke about the topic “how should one believe in God?” and connected creation to our own lives. The message shouted to the entire world was the one in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever that believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” The gospel is that man cannot overcome sin but God sent his only son to save us.
Group fellowships were carried out in over 39 different video chat rooms
The brothers and sisters gathered in over 39 different video chat rooms and shared the word that they heard from the sermons. They also got to speak about the worries and difficulties they faced in spiritual life. As they shared their hearts, hope and faith flooded their heart replaced sufferings because of the circumstances.
“Connecting our heart with Jesus is believing in Jesus”
Through the dubbing of Pastor Ock Soo Park’s sermon series, many different people of different languages were able to get closer to the word of God.
“I have many thoughts inside of me. We can divide those two thoughts into two different categories. Do not listen to the voice of Satan. Follow the word of God. In the Bible, it is written that Jesus has washed away all of our sins."
Testimonies from the Retreat
When God saw Abraham, He did not look at any other condition but the fact that Jesus Christ will be coming through his bloodline. That is why God is protecting him. Likewise, God looks at only one thing; He looks at Jesus Christ in our hearts. This made me bold in inviting new people to the summer retreat. I started to message my friends on Facebook that I had never met before. Also, I started conversations with my fellow coworkers at my job. Usually, it is hard to talk to them about religion. However, as we started talking, they started to get connected to the retreat. Many of them registered and they started to listen to the words in the retreat. I have much hope that many of them will hear the gospel and receive salvation.
– Won Bon Lee, Washington
I thought I knew the story of John but I now realize that there is a world of the heart that I did not know about. I could see my own spiritual life through the story of John of how he could not share all of his heart with his mother and how he was led by the evil spirit to commit suicide. If he did share all of his heart with his mother, he could have realized his mother would have become his eyes, arms, and legs for the rest of his life. I realized that for the 15 years I was living spiritual life, I was using the word of God to believe in my thoughts. I did not empty my heart in front of the servant of God to receive guidance. The words of his mother “why didn’t you tell me, John” seemed like the same words that God was telling me. I was able to see the intentions of the Lord who is always knocking on the door of my heart and go out and meet him just as I am.
– Yang Hee Kim, Atlanta
“I thought I was always a sinner. I always told myself, “you have to try harder!” Also, whenever I would make a mistake, I told God, “I am sorry I did wrong. I did something that you hated.” More than thanking God, I was asking him for forgiveness more. I was always ashamed. However, the gospel classes kept on tell me that I was holy, clean, and righteous. The word of God was telling me clearly that “although you have done wrong, you have been made perfect and clean.” When I think about this word, I am able to say that I am holy and righteous.”
- Bell Alfaro, Tennessee
“After attending the retreat, I could not understand what the Bible was saying. The biggest truth I discovered was that although I am a sinner, in the eyes of God, I am righteous. The law was just for us to realize we are sinners and the blood of goats and lambs cannot set us free. Through Romans 3 verse 23 and 24, I realized that although I have committed sin, I have been made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ. I can say with confidence that I am righteous. God only accepts faith and without faith, it is impossible to please God.
– Verona Ingram, Jamaica
Although we may all be in different places physically, God is moving us to a new world of his heart which is full of mercy and grace. We have great hope that God will give us a new heart and will work amazingly through our lives through the Summer Retreat.