|4 Steps Retreat Peralanda - an experience|
It was a refreshing weekend that I spent with GOD by participating in the 4 Step Retreat at St.Joseph's Church in Peralanda on 6th & 7th August.
Though this wasn't the 1st time I participated in a 4 Step Retreat, it was certainly a new experience for me as it has always been with the LORD. This retreat was quite special to me as I belonged to this parish before we shifted to Ragama. We stayed in a rented house in Peralanda for nearly 1 year and GOD made our lives busy with that parish activities though it was only a short period we lived there.
So getting back to the experience during the last week retreat, there're few reasons why I say that I'm refreshed in the LORD! Though I originally desired to participate in this retreat FOR ME, later that desire changed FOR OTHERS. Because again I got that self-centered feeling that I'm the holy blessed son ofGOD and that I should take my friends and family to the retreat for them to be changed.However GOD gave me the 1st signal that it's ME who have to change 1st, when Lalith thaththa said, "participate in this retreat for YOU, not for OTHERS" in his very 1st few words he spoke out.
I absolutely felt free to sing loudly, praise loudly and raise my hands to the LORD though it looked a bit strange to my fellow teachers. Because they've learnt that they're supposed to be quite in the church. Step by step, session by session went on. Suddenly I noticed that these two friends of mine were also gaining the SPIRIT because they started to sing and praise with their hands up in the air. I know it's not a nice thing to notice that how others sing & praise to the LORD but I had this strong desire to make them feel about the living presence of JESUS CHRIST! So I happened to be little inquisitive. They followed the scriptures when Lalith thaththa explained them, they took down notes and continuously laughed at Lalith thaththa's jokes.I helped them to follow the scriptures, forced them to write down the notes and partnered with them to laugh at jokes because I somehow wanted them to experience the living presence of our LORD, JESUS CHRIST! I've learned that I cannot decide when and where I can bring down the presence of the HOLY SPIRIT but I believed that JESUS won't send my fellow teachers back home empty hearted.With that strong faith, I stood by them.
They never knew that I'm on a journey until they saw me drenched in JESUS' LOVE through HOLY SPIRIT during this retreat.I never wanted to tell them that I follow CRL meetings and also never invited them to participate in these meetings ever since I met them from February because JESUS has given me a great assurance that whatever I desire in my heart to glorify HIS HOLY NAME, would happen SURELY & AUTOMATICALLY!! Yes it happened yesterday and the day before yesterday as HE has promised me! Because by the end of the retreat, the 2 teachers told me that they like to go for the Mabola prayer meeting, WITHOUT my invitation!! They asked me the day of the week it happens even BEFORE I told them.They wanted to buy a praise & worship CD WITHOUT been asked by me!! Wasn't that FIRE? It WAS!! After we went home last night, I called one teacher and asked her that how she felt the presence of the LORD during these 2 days. the 1st thing she told me was, "Shamalka, today I thought, what do we know about JESUS?, I've taught about JESUS to many people in my life, but I never knew that JESUS IS SO MUCH PRESENT until I participated in this retreat. Today I realized that JESUS is tangible and that HE loves me so much." She also told me that she was in tears during most of the sessions and especially during the confession time. Personally even I felt a mighty peace inside my heart after the confession. I think the priest I did the confession to, was the oldest out of the lot and he never looked at our eyes. However I pictured JESUS' eyes through his eyes. I'm sure that there was JESUS! So I was able to leave my heavy heart at HIS FEET and return with immense peace.