The START experience
The reason why we are all here is because someone wanted us to be here. Someone who loves us so dearly, it pains Him every time we hurt one another. And for all the non-believers out there, or the ones who are doubting His existence, let me start with the following. If God is love, and God created us, why does it make us so happy when we receive love? For those who are scientifically inclined: if every process in the physical world needs an original stimulus to begin, who originally stimulated the Big Bang? To answer both questions: God.
Every activity on START was so awesome in bringing out the best in all retreatants. From the heartfelt talks by retreat leaders, to the reflection periods, to the genuine involvement of the retreat leaders, to the voluminous amounts of food, it was all effective in making me respect all those who had the courage to lead the retreat, especially Stephanie McCaffery for overseeing the entire process. Further, I can write with confidence that this was the best retreat that I have ever been on, primarily because of the intense spirituality and love inherent throughout the retreat. Never before on a Christian retreat have I ever cried so heavily, felt so deeply and shared such a meaningful experience with my fellow peers.
I would like to draw attention to all the hard work and dedication the START leaders put into making this retreat happen. Considering that all were full-time students, most likely with jobs and various other obligations on and off campus, their ability to coordinate all the activities beforehand was insanely impressive. Great job all of you, for the love and sacrifice you put into the entire retreat. God loves all his children, and it is clear that He was working through you all.
My experience on the START retreat was so phenomenal, mere words will not do it justice. What I will write further is going to attempt to persuade all those who don’t believe in the effectiveness of retreats that with enough love, as was present on START, it will change you. When I returned from the retreat, my friends and acquaintances asked me: “Hey Andrew, how was START?” My response went something like: “oh my gosh, I LOVED it,” and upon further explanation, I added “After this retreat, I will never doubt God’s existence. Ever.” So, if anyone is entertaining doubts of His existence, let me personally write that after attending START, it is going to be impossible to doubt Him.
Andrew Palacios, a sophomore, studies engineering. He is a staff writer for Le Provocateur.