by Denis Vincent, ITE/Private Diploma Community
I first came to the Office for Young People at 15 during my confirmation retreat, as it was held on the premises. I think that was the stepping stone that led me to learn and know more about the office and what it does. I always look back on that time fondly and I am ever so grateful to have had my confirmation retreat there. It is a place that is so homey and comfortable and has a whole different atmosphere.
I then attended the SHINE retreat in 2019 which was my first OYP retreat. That then led to me joining the ITE and private diploma community. At the time, I was doing my Higher Nitec course at ITE which was followed by another year doing my private diploma. The three years in community taught me a lot of patience and understanding. More importantly, I learned to be open.
Being part of this OYP community also led me to develop closer and deeper relationships with my brothers-in-Christ. For the better part of last year I was struggling with my personal life, school, and family. This affected my image of Jesus. It started to become more difficult to find Him in my life or in the things that I did. I lost faith in myself and in my spiritual life and I felt lost. But my brothers never failed to pull me back and encourage me to continue seeking Jesus. They kept encouraging me to continue attending community sessions and to hold out hope that I could eventually identify Jesus’ presence in my life. I tried and struggled and failed, but continued to try again and again. I then attended Nox Gaudii earlier this year and I remember entering the OYP gates with a lot of fear and anxiety as I was afraid to see people whom I hadn’t interacted with for a long time. But the sense of community made me feel welcome and comfortable, like I had not missed out on anything.
Throughout the night I felt so much love, peace and joy and so so much warmth in Jesus’ presence. He was drawing me to Him the entire time. Jesus really reminded me that no matter what, He would always welcome me and that even if I were to drift away again, He will come in search for me. He will always love me for who I am and not what I have done. He has never let me down. I started to build again and grow from that moment, I have continued reaching out to Him even in times when I’m feeling down. I continue to remember that I am loved in His eyes. Without this community and brotherhood, that I have experienced through the office, I don’t think I would ever be where I am in my life right now.
I will be forever grateful to OYP for continuously supporting and encouraging me to grow deeper in my personal and especially, my spiritual life. Thank you for always bringing Jesus into everything that I do, see and hear. I pray that this OYP community will continue to grow and inspire more people to draw closer to and be touched by Jesus, just like how He touched me, to raise up a generation for Christ!
As we celebrate OYP’s 9th anniversary, it is only fitting that we do so in a spirit of deep gratitude and thanksgiving to the Lord. He is the one that continues to write the stories of our dear young people and brings healing to their lives. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing nine such stories as we celebrate the past nine years. We thank you Lord for your faithfulness! #OYPTurns9
See more of our 9th Anniversary thanksgivings:
OYP Turns 9: Fullness of Life
OYP Turns 9: His Vessel of Love
OYP Turns 9: The Saving Grace of Community
OYP Turns 9: He Moved Me Into A New Way