LEADS staff members took time off work In April 2017 to spend in quiet reflection on their spiritiual and professional lives and also to bond together as one big family.
The first sight that greeted the group as they neared the retreat destination was the Kandalama Lake shimmering in the noon sun. A picturesque shoe bridge led to the beginning of the first of three days of spiritual and professional guidance. The retreat was also a chance to grow together as a team.
The LEADS staff retreat that generally takes place every three years was now happening after seven years! It was organized over three days of spiritual uplifting reflection and team building. Close upon a hundred staff members were in the group participating this year. The theme “Beholding, Holding and Up-holding”, based on the book of Nehemiah was well suited to promote collaborative working among staff.
LEADS staff who arrived from all directions participated in the first evening session which included an icebreaker getting everyone involved and acquainted with each other.
Each day participants spent quiet time reflecting on their relationship with God and through a series of guided questions on Scripture and how it related to work at LEADS. Following this time of reflection lead by Roshan Mendis, Pastor Joshua Stephens carried out the foundational sessions. The foundational sessions revolved around the Biblical story of Nehemiah who built the walls of Jerusalem that were destroyed by the enemies. We reflected on his prayer life, God’s work in surprising ways and the example Nehemiah, sets before us as a true leader.
The motivational sessions on calling, vision and team led by Prashan De Visser truly made an impact on the listeners while the Relational and Professional sessions led by Prashan and Roshan were carried out as team activities and games help understand the importance of teamwork and the power of unity and oneness. Prashan who is the founder of Sri Lanka Unites spoke of the building and repairing that Sri Lanka currently needs and challenged us to remember our calling.
The retreat was interactive in design and delivery and included lively games sessions in the evenings. And the after dinner events brought much laughter and lighthearted fun that also bore witness to the amazing range of talents of our staff members. The highlight of the entertainment event was the “talent show” which unlike team abilities displayed the creative elements of each district. The laughter that rippled throughout the events showed that everyone enjoyed themselves tremendously.
In the true spirit of unity LEADS staff members spoke in all three languages; Sinhala, Tamil and English. Through the translations everyone was able to understand each other speak and express their opinions. Also embedded in these explanations were multi-cultural and linguistic beliefs which we learnt to respect. A wonderful sense of togetherness filled us and the auditorium as the melody of different languages continued. As much as the programming these waves of sound were binding us together teaching us to appreciate the differences and work on the common factors.
LEADS staff grouped in 8 teams was able to discover hidden strengths that they never knew they possessed in taking up various challenges posed to them. The teams were shouting their cheerful ‘hakas’ and exclaiming on points gained in rounds of games.
’These games are helping us develop trust and understanding within our groups’ claimed one staff member. ‘Overcoming hurdles and hardships as a team helps us grow stronger as one. This was actually put to test when staff fell ill during the retreat. But as one team we united together in helping each other and cared for one another’ added another.
The wonderful venue selected for the retreat helped the participants relax and enjoy themselves. Returning back after three days of sharing the participants felt they had grown spiritually and professionally as well as bonded as one team or a family. These spiritual binding and blessings will hold LEADS staff together sharing one corporate vision for many years to come.
More pictures at: LEADS on Facebook