Youth Bible Camp 04
About 34 people attended Youth Bible Camp 2004 at Ruapehu Christian Camp, Kakahi. This is what they had to say:
"Camp has really helped me with my walk! Sabbath was really nice!"
"This was a really good spiritual feed. It helped me heaps."
"Have been very much helped with a lot to think about and practice"
"The activities were real FUN! & I learned heaps too! I enyoyed them all."
"Food was delicious!"
"I really liked it how they [leaders/staff] always participated and were there to talk to us all."
"It was really nice encouraging those old folk"
"Yes there should Definitly be another camp!!!!"
"Next year? Too Right!! Long as I got time off work, I'll come! Anywhere!"
Christian Berdahl and Sean Murphy from California, USA shared important messages of our personal relationship to Jesus during the camp and the activities focused on practical life skills.
Christian and Sean gave each camper a copy of the book "The Passion of Love" which is the last chapters of the Desire of ages. The morning and evening worships were focused on this book. We looked at the lives of Peter and Judas and the longsuffering of Jesus. Then the excitement of the resurrection of Jesus and His power over the grave and the fear of the priests.
The Bible classes each day were inspiring and comforting even though the hard bench seats weren't. First Christian and Sean shared their testimonies which are quite different and yet similar. Christian came from a non-christian home and a difficult childhood, while Sean was bought up a Christian from the age of 10. Yet both had to learn to find Jesus for themselves. They went on to share about the balance we must have as Christians and the Narrow Way we must follow but Jesus has gone before. Then looking at other practical aspects of the Christian walk such as forgiveness and following Jesus' example they shed hope and encouragement to each one to 'Search and Try' their own ways and turn again to the Lord.
On the Sabbath we went to the Church in Taumarunui and exploded the numbers there. When the youth got up front to do their items they left most of the pews empty. Still the morning was one to be remembered. Sean shared a message first then Christian also challenged us all in our walk with the Lord.
After church, we went to Cherry Grove where the Ongarue and Wanganui Rivers meet. We had our haystack, picnic lunch there and enjoyed the sun.
We then went to two old-folks rest-homes to share a selection of songs we had been practicing during the camp. Some campers formed special groups to do items as well as every one singing together. The folks certainaly did enjoy the time we took to be with them. And when we shook their hands afterwards, they were beaming from ear to ear!
That evening Christian presented his concert "A Vision of Heaven" as a public presentation in town. It was really appreciated by the locals as well as the youth. After the camp, Christian gave each attendant a copy of the concert on CD and personally signed them.
The activities were good fun and had practical application too. On the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we worked on making a large, rustic style swing seat and had a chance to use various tools including a wood turning lathe, arc welder, dropsaw, sewing machine, and various other power and hand tools. We also had a sheet of 29 different practical standards to complete. These were signed off as we completed the criteria for each one. It was lots of fun as every one was busy around the camp ground all doing various things like setting a formal table place, arranging flowers, making asparagus rolls, sewing buttons on, ironing shirts, memorising, following instructions, spelling correctly, cutting kindling wood, changing a car wheel, wrapping parcels, welding, sewing, lathing, sawing, hammering, screwing. Many young folk got to have a go using equipment they might never otherwise had the chance to use.
On the Sunday morning there was a mental challenge. Groups were given 12 straws, a sheet of paper, some tape and an egg. They had to come up with a design which would allow the egg to drop from a two story window to the ground without breaking! The teams set about conversing on physics for a while, then discussing varied theories on cradling, spring landing, buffers, air resistance, etc.
After hearing each team explain why their design would protect the fragile cargo, the down-to-earth evidence proved that most designs needed some remodeling and a few needed a total rethink. One made it to the concrete with only a slight crack, the rest were partially or totally written off.
Later on Sunday there was a hunt where three teams went in search of various hidden Bible texts which had cryptic clues to the next location. Apart from a few frustrations and 'extra well hidden clues' (thanks to the team ahead!) the day was lots of fun and there were many challenges met by each team. There were also a few suprises along the way.
It started at the camp ground and finally finished at Owhango, about 7kms away, fortunately the use of vehicles sped the process up a lot.
Each day we had plenty of excersize with morning and evening walks and games, as well as time on the large, squeeky swing, confidence course and trampoline. These times afforded excellent opportunities for talking to each other and the leaders or speakers about personal life challenges.
After evening worship each night we enjoyed a drink and short social time together before heading off to bed at 9:30 with lights out (and theoretically mouths shut) at 10:00.
The completed swingseat was a real favorite, many people enjoyed sitting in it during meals and breaks. Then there was the typical pile-on test which it stood up to well. It made the youth feel rewarded to announce to new commers that they had — together as a team — built the seat from basic materials. The proceeds from the sale of the seat will go towards a project decided by the campers. It seems the general consensus is to put the funds toward youth camps.
Wednesday and Thursday nights, we broke into teams and after lighting a fire we cooked our own evening meal in the light of our fires and a few torches. Food tastes so much better when you have put effort into it yourself — even if the spud in the stew isn't quite cooked or the patties in the burgers are burnt on the outside and raw in the middle! Making popcorn in an old tin, over an open fire when it's dark was lots of fun. Even though one third burnt and one third jumped out, the other third tasted pretty good.
On Friday evening we all went down to a disused tramway cutting which was illuminated with thousands of pretty glow-worms. This was a pleasant surprise for the campers and all enjoyed watching the beauty of nature as well as taking the time to stop and join the lone cricket and tiny worms in their praise of God.
Through-out the camp, campers had the benefit of mixing with other Christian young people. They gained new friendships and learnt from each other's experiences. Prayerfully these friendships will go on into eternity and the lessons learnt will benefit their lives here and in the future!
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