Oh I don't even know where to start. The weekend has been a good one. A great one, actually. I just love how when people ask me, "How was your weekend?", I can really mean it when I reply, "Great!" I definitely learned a lot from the two-day annual national youth retreat that I've been to just a few days ago. The sad part though, is that it is the last one I will get to join since it is my last year as a student. Why am I so old already? Last time I checked I was just 12.
One of the best parts was that I had the opportunity to be a part of one of the youth bands that led one of the worship sessions. The bus ride from my church (Fellowship) in Dubai to Mercure Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain took two hours which meant that we reached the retreat venue at just the right time for soundcheck. Our youth band never got the chance to do a full practice at the place, because we were the first band leading and everything still had to be set up. It's funny how we just kinda went on and did our thing. It wasn't perfect, but with God by our side, everything turned out pretty well. I'm sure it had something to do with the mini huddle time and prayer our small team had before we started!
I had the privilege of meeting so many awesome people who are just about the same age as I. Throughout the worship sessions, games and of course the meaningful talks we had, there was never a dull moment. Just the thought of hundreds of young people from different churches all around the UAE getting together for one reason, makes my heart feel sooo full and happy. I'll always be grateful for being able to spend my time doing things that are worthwhile and being alongside so many great people who inspire me to become better. The past few days taught me that I didn't need to be like anybody else. That no matter what past I had or whatever it was that I did, God loves me just the way I am. He values each and everyone of us that Jesus even died for us! That truth alone, is enough to overwhelm me and fill me with so much joy and gratitude.
I got to try new things too! By that, I especially mean dancing. I've always loved dancing, but I rarely perform in public. I enjoy watching dance videos and I aspire to be like one of them someday. I usually sing or play the guitar in our youth band, but this time, I got the chance to try dancing, my other passion. The one and a half hour practice was super enjoyable and I didn't even want it to end! That evening when we were set to perform, I had about 7,433 mistakes. But who cares? No one even noticed cause I had this giant smile on my face and tried playing it cool whenever I messed up with my footwork. Keyword: tried. Still, the whole thing was amazing.
By the end of the first day, everyone was exhausted but I felt so happy and sad at the same time (happy because it was such a fulfilling day, sad because it will all end the next day). Bed time was 12 a.m. but of course, me being the night owl that I am, got some shut eye at 1 a.m. I was the last one to sleep among us four girls who shared a hotel room, and I was also the first one to get up. What is sleep?
The second day went by faster than I expected it to be, and before I knew it, the retreat was over. A quick picnic and another two-hour bus drive later, and we were back in Dubai. I've had a whole bunch of *exciting mini adventures* during the retreat, but that ones are for me to know, and for y'all to wonder about. Haha! I love events like this, and I'm totally looking forward to more in the future! x
P.S. I apologize for making you stare at a screen for this long, but for those of you who made it 'til the end of this entry, you guys deserve a.... *drumroll*
...pat on the back.
So give yourself one right now. If someone else is there and they look at you weirdly, say you just deserve a pat on the back for being the awesome person that you are!
Also, because I am unbelievably very smart, I wasn't able to take any photos during the whole event, but you can see some of the official photos and videos here and here.