Scottish Highlands District Church Retreat "Follow Me"

Scottish Highlands District Church Retreat "Follow Me"

Abernethy Outdoor CentreSM Communications

With the stunning Scottish Highlands as a backdrop, members of the Inverness and Elgin Seventh-day Adventist churches, along with their friends and families, gathered for a spiritually enriching retreat at the Abernethy Centre in Nethy Bridge last weekend. Themed “Follow Me”, the retreat focused on the call to discipleship, fostering a deeper connection with Jesus Christ, and building community among all attendees.

The retreat commenced on Friday evening with an atmosphere of anticipation, and included singing, prayer, and a short impactful talk by Pastor Wil Masih. Pastor Masih's message centred on the essence of discipleship and the invitation from Jesus to follow Him. He encouraged everyone to reflect on what it means to be a disciple in today's world and how Jesus' call can transform lives. This introduction set a reflective tone for the weekend, inviting participants to open their hearts to the spiritual journey ahead.

Saturday was a day filled with inspiration and personal connections. The morning was dedicated to singing songs and sharing testimonies. Many attendees bravely stepped forward to recount their personal experiences of God's guidance and transformation in their lives. These testimonies were not only moving but also fostered a deep sense of community and mutual encouragement. Each story served to evidence the power of faith and the impact of answering Jesus' call to follow Him.

In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to relax and soak in the beautiful surroundings of the Abernethy Centre. The stunning natural setting provided a perfect backdrop for leisurely walks, reflective moments, and engaging conversations. This time of relaxation was invaluable for forming new friendships and strengthening existing ones. It was a reminder that fellowship and shared experiences are integral to spiritual growth and building a community.

As evening fell, Pr Wil Masih brought the day to a close with a reflection from John 20:21 when Jesus says to His disciples “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you”. Now it was time to strengthen the life-long walk of discipleship with Jesus and be a blessing to other people’s lives. The challenge that Pr Masih put to everyone was to form discipleship teams of 3-4 individuals who would encourage each other with regular connections and pray for and with each other. Everyone gathered around a campfire, adding a new dimension to the day's activities. The campfire provided warmth and a focal point for communal reflection and song. The glow of the firelight and the backdrop of a setting sun made the gathering even more poignant. There was a strong sense of the Holy Spirit's presence as the campfire illuminated faces and hearts alike, marking a beautiful end to the day's activities.

Sunday morning began with a refreshing start, offering everyone the opportunity to engage in light exercise. This was followed by other activities including a scenic drive to Loch Morlich, offering breathtaking views. The serene beauty of Loch Morlich provided a fitting finale to the retreat, allowing everyone to reflect on the weekend's experiences and the teachings they had absorbed.

The "Follow Me" retreat was more than just a weekend getaway; it was a transformative experience that left a lasting impact on all who attended. The combination of spiritual teachings, personal sharing, and communal activities created a holistic environment for spiritual growth. All those who attended left with a renewed faith and a deeper understanding of what it means to follow Jesus in their daily lives.

Pastor Wil Masih reflected on the retreat's success, stating, "This weekend has been a demonstration of the power of community and the importance of answering Jesus' call to experiential discipleship. The stories shared, the friendships formed, and the spiritual insights gained have all contributed to a truly memorable experience of spiritual growth."

A non-Adventist who was invited to come to the retreat was delighted to have met "so many wonderful people". One of the young people, Brian Kuyanda said the retreat had been inspiring and resonated deeply with many. "The testimonies shared were incredibly powerful and inspiring. Hearing personal stories of faith and transformation strengthened our community bond and reminded us of God’s work in our lives.

The retreat's theme, "Follow Me", emphasised the personal and communal aspects of discipleship, encouraging everyone to take concrete steps in their spiritual lives. Whether through daily acts of kindness, deeper engagement with Scripture, or more active participation in church activities, everyone left with a renewed commitment to living out their faith.