For me these last 4 days – the Youth Camp – have really been a “kingdom glimpse”. We had 37 kids between the ages of 8 & 18 attend, with Matt Drabenstott & Lauren Ghent helping out with the lessons, and “aunty Leona” spoiling them with quality cooking and special treats in the kitchen.
We had a jam-packed week planned for them – 3 classes every day; with Matt & Michael leading the oldest group in a variety of studies, Lauren exploring the prophet Elijah with the middle group & myself exploring ways to “preach without using words” with the youngest kids. To set the tone for each day every morning started with a short devotional message before breakfast.
In the afternoons we had some friendly competition & lots of laughter completing an obstacle course, competing in a volleyball tournament, finding all sorts of objects in our biblical treasure hunt, and on those days that the weather permitted, enjoying some time in the pool.
Darkness falling didn’t slow the pace – we spent the first evening playing all sorts of games (nothing beats fun & laughter for breaking the ice!), and the second evening was dedicated to praising God through singing and reading passages of praise from the Bible. Our last evening included a talent show, a quiz relating to the lessons of the last few days, and ended with a slide show of pictures taken during the camp.
For me what really stood out about this camp was the children’s’ attitude towards each other. I have never experienced such harmony between such a variety of kids (regarding age, culture, income level, & race) before. Everybody made friends with everybody else, not a single child was excluded. There was many a tear shed during the good-byes, as even though these kids live within 20 minutes drive from one another they do not have the means to visit.
Another wonderful surprise was the co-operation with regards to the few rules we had – not even keeping curfew caused any complaints. It was really a blessing to be able to work together with such a great group of responsible young adults.
The positive experience we enjoyed at this camp has encouraged us to try & organize more opportunities for these kids to get together, whether it is through praise evenings or shorter weekend bible study breakaways.
This camp really gave us all a little taste of what it will be like when “all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD.”