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Christian Union: The Magazine
April 23, 2021

CU New York Hosts Retreat for Young Professionals

By Tom Campisi, Managing Editor

A group of ten young professionals recently attended a Christian Union Fire retreat in New York City. Based on their feedback and ensuing testimonies, the event fueled a greater depth of seeking God and a passion for seeking revival.

CU fire photo 1Attendees of the recent Christian Union Fire retreat

“It was a weekend of stepping into God’s presence, remembering His kindness and heart for restoration, and being absolutely humbled by how He speaks to me so personally,” said Elizabeth Broussard.

Christian Union Fire is a two-and-a-half-day small group retreat designed for the rejuvenation and inspiration of Christians. Although the March retreat was hosted for young Christian professionals, Christian Union New York offers them for all ages and areas of leadership in the city. 

“Christian Union has found that short, focused times of drawing near to God have an incredibly positive impact providing Christian strengthening and renewed vision,” said Karen Hetzler, assistant ministry director of Christian Union New York.

Hetzler noted that she continues to receive reports of how the retreat has impacted the devotional lives of attendees and created a greater desire to be part of a Holy Spirit movement in their workplaces and communities.  

“Even now,  a couple of weeks out from the most recent March CU Fire, we continue to hear stories of lasting fruit, dramatic interventions and healing by the Holy Spirit, and new patterns and commitments taking hold,” she said. “We continue to receive letters of gratitude and testimony.”

Seeking His Kingdom

Maria Wang said, “Through this event, the Lord has stirred up in my heart a strong desire to repent of my sins, obey His commands, and to seek His Kingdom even more!” 

“I’m very grateful I got to spend this weekend seeking God with this incredible group of brothers and sisters,” said Joan Sanchez.

In addition to seeking the Lord together, the group also bonded by eating one meal each day during the retreat, which was hosted by Christian Union CEO Matt Bennett at his Manhattan apartment. The rest of the time was spent fasting. During CU Fire, attendees engaged in several sessions of prayer, extended periods of Bible reading and discussion, worship, teaching sessions from Bennett, and listening for God’s voice.

The CU Fire retreat also included a video message on repentance from African pastor John Mulinde and another on revival from Jeanine Brabon, the catalyst for the 1970 campus revival at Asbury College and Seminary. A prophetic minister attended in person and was able to impart encouragement.

“The session on prayer and repentance by John Mulinde had the deepest effect on me. I was deeply convicted of my sin and the need to live wholeheartedly for God,” said Reid Wilson. “The prophetic word I received was really impactful.”

Sanchez said the teachings were very helpful and inspirational.

“It was good to understand in a very practical and also logical way, that in order to live victorious spiritual lives, we need to spend quality time and schedule it with God! It was also very interesting to see and learn how God has manifested His power in other countries,” Sanchez said.

One attendee said they learned about the power of fasting and the importance of having more prayer times each day. Another said, “The event energized me to seek the Lord more fervently in my devotions and to remain open to how the Spirit will lead me.” 

"The Lord meets us!"

Prior to the retreat, Christian Union staff, friends of the ministry, and volunteers from Christian Union Day and Night committed to a total of fifty hours of prayer and fasting. They prayed for each attendee by name. 

“This is why these Fire retreats are so powerful!” Hetzler said. “The Lord meets us!”

“We know the prayer is the engine producing the power at these events. The Lord is faithful and He comes and dwells among us in remarkable ways! Our job then just becomes one of getting out of the way as much as possible to let the Spirit of the Living God come in and change lives.”

For one attendee, a dramatically changed life was certainly evident. She noted that before the retreat, she had been struggling with severe anxiety and depression, was seeing a counselor, and felt there was no way out for her without medication and a lot of time. However, during the two-hour reading of the second half of Ezekiel on Sunday morning, the Spirit of God came over her powerfully, she said.

She began trembling, as the Word and the Spirit were “rewiring” things inside of her. She knew the Lord had instantly healed her as He replaced lies that were plaguing her with the truth of His Word: “You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). 

Upon going back to her counselor, they both marveled at the change and she testified to the complete peace, freedom, and joy she now feels having been healed in the presence of God Himself.

As subsequent retreats are held in the future, Christian Union New York looks forward to more changed lives and testimonies like this one. And more fire.

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