All glory to God! More than 100 young people gathered together on March 19 at the Hilltop Bible Chapel, which was chosen to be the venue for the FIBA sponsored youth retreat with Nate Bramsen as the speaker for the day. The young people started arriving early and checked in as they came in from places far and near. It was a delight to see the place filling up with young men and women from not only Canada but places in the US, such as Virginia, New York, Chicago and Detroit. They came with an earnest desire to learn more about our Savior – not just know “about” Him but to know Him more.
All were blessed by the awe inspiring messages from the word of God, sharpened and solidified by the personal experiences of our Bro. Nate Bramsen working for the Lord in many hostile circumstances. The topic of “Living in Exile” based on Ph. 3:20 was chosen as the theme for the one day retreat.
After the melodious singing by the young people from the local assemblies, Nate spoke for an hour on the theme before they split into 4 groups to have a time of group discussion and sharing in a more intimate setting. Believers should be conscious of the fact that their citizenship is in heaven and they live the life looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. The challenge to the young and old alike was “are we living as if in exile, with an earnest desire to be “Home Soon”? The world provides a lot of tools for “amusement” and the word “muse” means think and “amuse” is the opposite of “muse”. Lord wants us to think well before we act and like Nehemiah, pray before we “speak” to know the Lord’s will for us.
In this materialistic and fast paced world full of competition to excel in every walk of life, do we understand what “blessings” truly are? Even believers have a wrong definition for blessings, usually confined to better education, better jobs and more wealth. Believers were challenged to redefine the term “blessing” and enjoy the true blessings that are provided through suffering for Him. It was thrilling to hear some real life illustrations where Nate and his friends were delivered miraculously by God from being burned alive in a car by hostile men. Also, it was nothing less than a miracle when God stopped rain so that gospel can be preached to a group of young men in one of the Caribbean islands who were mostly drug addicts and peddlers. He displayed a partly burned Bible page which he picked up from a place where murderous crowd burned Bibles in anger in his own place of residence Niger in West Africa. The verse that was on the unburned portion of Bible was Is. 43: 2, “When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burnt”.
God does not reveal each step of the plan to His people but wants His people to trust Him and take Him at His word. He wants us to take that first step forward in the service of our Master and not be worried about what lies ahead, then He will reveal His path forward and it might be full of suffering to draw us closer to Him. In the end our life should conform to the image of His son who came to “do the will” of His father. The young people felt blessed and challenged and were thankful to our Lord for enabling Br. Nate to be with them and counsel so many of the young people through the 3 days.
In the background there was a team of men and women who worked hard to arrange breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner and the fruit of their hard labor was enjoyed by one and all. FIBA wants to thank all who put their shoulders to the yoke to bear the burden of conducting the event in a blessed manner, the registration team, music team, the catering team- all deserve a word of appreciation
The evening meeting was well attended by many families from nearby churches and the FIBA representatives took the opportunity to welcome everyone to attend the FIBA conference at Hamilton during August 10-14, 2016. Some young men volunteered to develop a new and improved website for FIBA (www.fibana.com) and it was launched during the evening meeting.