The second annual Hispanic Youth Retreat was hosted by several Hispanic Churches on May 4, 2019 in Orlando. The retreat was held at Casa Portadores de Gloria (CPG), pastored by Esdras Toirac. The Hispanic Churches united in their mission to shape, sharpen and challenge their young people to be more like Christ and less like the culture around them.
Pastor Jeffery Singletary, Central Regional Catalyst of the Florida Baptist Convention, spoke at the retreat and shared, “[Attendees] I challenge you to be all in with Jesus! No more surface living, and [be] giving in your relationship with the Lord.” One young man had a shirt on that said it all; “Team Jesus, I am not Religious, I am a Christian, imperfect and unworthy, Seeking the Savior.”
Isaac: “I work with the youth at CPG. Of today’s lessons, the thing I got the most is how we need to focus on not doing things as our duties, but doing them because we do want to serve God; because we want to be with God. I’ve seen this throughout my whole life in the church. We have many people who are ‘comers to church’ because they are used to it, and it is their routine. But whenever pressures or tribulations come into their life, they crack under the pressure, because they don’t have a strong foundation in their spiritual path. I want to encourage you to build that foundation, build that strong relationship with God. We are going to feel the pressure, but the important thing is that when the pressure comes, if we have God at our side, we keep him next to us and we hold tight to him, we’re not going to crack.”
Alandra: “I go to CPG. Something that I really loved about today, and the message we were given, is the energy that Pastor Singletary had, and how he was able to make it so understandable to the youth that were attending. When he was explaining that not a lot of people grow up in the church, and even for the people who do grow up in church, it’s really difficult for them to find their way and find their path, and how they can get close to God and have Him work through their lives. This was really relatable for me, because sometimes it’s really hard for me to understand the path that He has for me, that the life he wants for me to live is through Him. He made it easy to understand that I just need to let Him do what He has to do and not fight that.”
Tino: “From today’s message, I do appreciate the part where he called us to be all in. I really related to this part, because he had talked about kids who were raised in the church, kids who have gone to Sunday school, read their bibles, etc. I got to a point where I stopped. I didn’t like the church environment and the people there. However, I never lost my faith and knew God was always there. Recently, I had my first year of college in Aerospace Engineering, and I started doing things I shouldn’t have. I changed my major to philosophy; I love apologetics, trying to explain what it means to be God, what he does, what his powers are, what he can do, why his message is true, and why he exists, without necessarily appealing to the bible, because a lot of atheists and agnostics don’t necessarily believe in that. I like doing things from a different perspective. I want to thank the pastor for having that call – to go all in, I want to go all in.”
Melanie: “I go to CPG. I loved today, because it was kind of like more of a reminder. Some people grow up in the church, some people don’t. For me, I never saw God in my house or in the neighborhood that I lived in. The transition was hard, not the part of believing in God, but obeying God. Today’s message really did prove what we’re missing isn’t the belief in God, it’s more the reminder of obeying God and wanting to serve him, ultimately. It’s always a reminder of how God is so faithful. We leave, we walk away, but he’s right behind us, and that’s what I truly love about today.”
Yasmine: “I go to Casa de Bendicion, and my pastor is my dad, David Pérez. Today’s message is really relatable, because some people are raised in the church, some people aren’t. It’s always good to restore your faith and feel like you are a part of something… just because I’m the pastor’s daughter, doesn’t mean I’m automatically a Christian. I have to follow my own way and path, not my dad’s [for my personal relationship with God].”
In closing, Pastor Singletary stated, “What an awesome group of young people, they are for Christ. When the call and challenge came to publicly commit [their] life to be all in with Christ, the young people flooded the altar. Next level leaders for generation Z are all in! I was blessed and impressed as I ministered to them. They were ministering to me! What a phenomenal group of young people they are, with great, godly leaders shepherding them.”