An update from one of our School of Innovative Youth Ministry (SOIYM) students who recently went on our annual youth camp called 5 Day Escape.
I stood outside a double-decker bus with 48 eager and excited teenagers (crew) as we prepared for our 12 hour road trip up to Queensland. We were all ready for this adventure – staff and crew alike. We’d been promoting, inviting and fundraising all over the city in the weeks leading up to this point and the day had finally arrived. After quick goodbyes and packing the bus, we were off; ready for the adventure to begin!
In the 3 full days we had in Queensland, we managed to cram in 3 different theme parks, a day of shopping and fun at Surfers Paradise, as well as several crazy team games. Our nights were filled with even more activities; from a guest rapper’s performance, to a diverse and hilarious talent night, to one of our staff, Mark, sharing his own life story of what God has done. We saw an amazing response to his message and many of the crew were
challenged to think about how they live their lives.
My favourite part of the whole camp was seeing noticeable changes in many of the crew’s lives. One crew in particular that I connected with did a complete heart turn-around. At the beginning of 5DE I sensed that she did not want to be there – she was unhappy, closed off and hard to get along with.
However, I continued including, hanging out with and just trying to be there for her. I began to see a change. She warmed up to me and some of the other crew and staff; we were having fun! On the last night we were sitting together listening to Mark speak. The room was incredibly still when Mark spoke, he had the complete attention of everyone in the room. At the end of Mark sharing we had time for a response asking if any crew wanted us to pray with them. I saw this girl’s hand shoot right up in the air.
It was amazing seeing the change come over her;
she was so much happier, peaceful and a lot more open.
This is just one story of the many lives that were changed on 5DE. It is encouraging that God would use us to show his love to the youth of Newcastle! Thank you for your prayers.