I can’t find words that are good enough to describe the NAVs retreat I went on last weekend.

Earlier in the week, I’d had a hard time. Even though I hung out with friends and had fun, I still felt a void inside of me that there was no way I could get rid of. At first I ignored the feeling, but then it grew bigger and bigger, and eventually broke me down.

I asked God why this happened to me, for I had been a good lamb, going to church every weekend, worshiping Him. I desperately wanted to fill up the void by asking Him to help. And He sent me a friend of mine to invite me to NAVs meeting. There I signed up for the retreat, at the very last minute.

I was so nervous when I just got there, because there were hundreds of students from different universities and I barely knew anyone. I was on the edge of feeling lonely, then the speakers and worship blew the feeling away completely.

The atmosphere still remained inside my mind. I can still recall how loud the music was, how hard I sang in harmony with others, and how warm my heart was when all of us hugged each other. And uniquely, I did not feel like I was in a different culture singing in a different language, but immerged in one united community of God’s children.

There was no men or women, no Creighton or Iowa State, no English or Vietnamese. There was only the people who loved God and loved by God.

I felt so much better after the retreat. I appreciated others and myself more. I learned to be open, vulnerable, compassionate, perseverant, helpful and strong. Most importantly, I nurtured a desire to spend time for Jesus every day, even just a little bit, because He had stayed with me in every ups and downs.