Retreat encouraged student to lean on God amid struggles


By Amrika Stumpf

On Dec. 4 I attended the high school retreat organized by the Newman Catholic Student Center students in Iowa City.

The theme was “On That Holy Mountain.” They talked about the struggles people have or obstacles that come in the way of staying on top of your “holy mountain.” Everyone faces these mountains in their life. We even fear them and struggle to climb them. Some come unexpectedly and some we can see from a far distance. The point is that with our faith and God close by we can all get to the top of the mountain.

We broke into groups and talked about the different struggles that we have as high school students. Everyone shared some of the different kinds of struggles within their lives from school, peer pressure, getting ready for college, parents, death of a family member, and even the death of a close friend. It helped us relate, and showed us that everyone struggles to find God in certain situations. We also learned different methods in working through these situations.


We then read two different passages from the Bible. These readings showed us how God, Abraham, Jesus and his disciples struggled to reach their “Holy Mountain.”

The first passage we read was from Genesis Chapter 22. In this reading, Abraham was able to climb a mountain because of his trust in God. We trust in God every day by doing certain tasks. Some of these tasks are as simple as going to school and trusting in God that we don’t get isolated for the way we look or how we act.

The second passage we read was from Luke Chapter 6. In this reading, Jesus departed to the mountain to spend the night in prayer with God.  Later, Jesus chose his 12 disciples with the guidance of God. From this passage we learned that everyone needs guidance. Life gives us choices … we just have to trust in God to show us the best ones. Sometimes it’s hard to put all of your trust upon God. Leaning on God is a process that starts with small steps but, eventually you start to walk, and if you have total faith you will learn to run.

Thank you Newman Center for this awesome retreat!

(Amrika Stumpf, 17, is a student at Iowa City West High School and a member of St. Patrick Parish in Iowa City and the Diocesan Youth Ministry Committee.)

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