Guest Blog by Peter Frey: A flood of memories filled my thoughts as I drove up the driveway to Joy El Camps & Retreats last weekend. I remembered that one special fall retreat in November 2000 as a junior higher—it was at that retreat that I was gripped by truth of the gospel and placed my faith in Jesus Christ. Here I was thirteen years later as the speaker for one of Joy El’s Momentum Retreats, and I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the monumental role that Joy El Ministries has played in my life… not only bringing me to faith in Christ but also raising me up as a leader for His church.
I am currently finishing my Masters of Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, just north of Boston, MA. My passion for ministry is to boldly proclaim the Word of God in and out of the church so that men and women and boys and girls are inspired to deeper faith in Jesus. Over the last three years, God has opened the door for me to preach at churches and retreats throughout the country, passionately proclaiming the Word of God and raising up disciples committed to the gospel. Upon graduation this spring, I anticipate using my gifts of preaching, leadership, and discipleship to serve a pastor in the church. As I look forward with excitement to wherever God will lead me to use these gifts, I look back with gratitude for the incredible role Joy El played in developing these gifts in me.
It was during my high school years in the Leadership Training program at Joy El that God began to cultivate in me a love and passion for God’s Word. It was saturated in Joy El’s programs, but it was also modeled by Joy El’s leadership. I am indebted to the many mentors at Joy El who took me under their wing, affirmed God’s work in my life, and challenged me to grow and develop as a leader and disciple.
I remember a pivotal moment during one of the Leadership Training weekends offered throughout the year. I was asked to lead an extended devotional for my peers in the Leadership Program. It was one of the first times in my life that I stood in front of a group of people and shared with excitement what God had been teaching me through His Word. I still remember the passage, Matthew 14:22-33, and I still remember encouraging my peers to step out in faith rather than fear. I will never forget how God used my mentors and friends in the Leadership Program to affirm God’s gifting in my life, and it was that weekend that I first sensed God calling me to full-time ministry.
I was recently reflecting on the journey that God has used to bring me to where I am today. So much of that journey has involved Joy El and the Leadership Program. It laid a foundation in my life, gave me a love for God’s Word, and gave me to opportunity to discover and develop the gifts God has given me. It was at Joy El that I began to develop my philosophy of leadership and had the opportunity to put it into practice. I’m so thankful for this unique and rich experience, for the training and discipline I received, and how God used this program to give me a love and passion for proclaiming the gospel.