What I Experienced at the Christmas Institute
After 8 years, the United Methodist youth of Pampanga Philippines Annual Conference came together for a Conference-wide Christmas Institute (CI). Previously, this was done only at the district level. We prayed for the Institute for months leading up to the event. We expected around 400 delegates and experienced a huge surprise when 505 young people registered on December 26, 2015, the first day of the CI. Thank God, we had enough materials and accommodations for the additional attendees.
During the CI, we listened to lectures, participated in buzz groups to discuss what we were learning, shared devotions, and enjoyed big night worship experiences. Although these were usual parts of the CI program, God truly revealed Himself in the most unexpected ways through these opportunities.
During our “Hunger Night,” the youth delegates poured out their hunger for revival and change in our local churches. There was a prayer of forgiveness and humility. That night ignited the call for each young person to be a part of the generation helping to revive the church and the country.
The following night was all about “Passionate Worship.” The speaker asked us: “What did you feel and what is your experience when you accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?” Being a Christian for many years now and an active youth of the church, I am one of those Christians that have moments of being so busy doing ministry for God that I forget to nurture my relationship with God. Going back to the moment I accepted Jesus in my heart was a reaffirmation that He is still with me and He gives me a fresh anointing every day of my life.
The last night of the CI was our Consecration and Vision Night. The speaker issued a different kind of altar call. The experience was not just about becoming a Pastor or a Deaconess, but used 7 domains where we can follow God’s call: Science and Technology, Government, Business, Education, Arts and Media, Family, and Religion. Each individual has a calling from the Lord. That night gave a chance for every delegate to really listen to what God is calling them to; and to see the vision God has for their life. Each domain was called individually, and an anointing and prayer was given over those who responded for each area.
This institute taught us to beat the stop lights hindering our spiritual and personal growth and go toward God’s calling in our lives.
Irene Gabrielle M. Mungcal
West Pampanga District UMYF, Finance