It’s been two weeks since summer camp, and while we can’t speak for anyone else who was there, it’s been hard coming down the mountain and trying to sustain faith outside of the oasis of camp.
The four days at summer camp were definitely the highlight of our school holidays and 2018 so far. It was our fifth year there so you could say we’re pro’s. We had the opportunity to be the MC’s for this year and boy did we learn so many new things!
We’ve always loved Summer Camp because it really does start our year off with a bang! The awesome outdoor activities are packed with laughs and adventures. The incredible speakers give us real food for thought, and then there is the actual food. The real good food. But really, that is nothing compared to the people, and the way Summer Camp really becomes a safe, positive and energetic place.
Admittedly, it was exciting to get out of camp and head back to real life. On the last day, we were told that the experience didn't stop on the bus ride home. God didn't just rock up at Summer Camp, at youth groups, conferences and even school. He rocks up in our day to day life. And so we felt encouraged, and ready to take these awesome experiences back home.
And then we got home. And it wasn't as easy as we'd thought.
Fr Richard – this awesome Priest who joined us up at Summer Camp – said something on the last day that really stuck out. He said, ‘discipleship is not complete if we just sit around and do nothing, we must invite!’. How incredible, right? God doesn’t want us to be sitting around twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the next big signal or flashing sign. Nah, he sends us back down the mountain – as tough as it sometimes feels – to share the truth we heard.
That we are more than our clothes, the people we hang with, the marks we get. The awesome truth is that we are God’s children and we're invited into a relationship with him! The truth that God will always be with us and has a plan for each and every one of us.
Whether you were with us at Summer Camp, maybe you came to Conference or followed the action through the live streams. Maybe you’ve been going to a youth group and you’re impatiently waiting for it to start back up again. Or maybe you’ve not had that experience yet.
We want to encourage you to hold onto that truth, cause it matters. No matter what grade you are in or where you are God has placed, you are there for a purpose. So if you were with as at Summer Camp, or you’re just taking a 5 minute break and having a read – let us encourage you to bring faith and action together in your day to day life. We are, even when its tough.
Here are a couple things that we’re going to commit to.
Be the face of kindness.
Simple things sometimes matter the most, and imagine what would happen if we all chose to be kind? In the way you talk to your friends and family - the way you forgive them and love them when it seems tough to do so. Smiling at the people you see, talking to people who no one else talks to or choosing to love and accept someone instead of judge.
We're gonna get to know God better.
If you want to get to know someone, it tends to mean you're prepared to listen to what they have to say. God is just the same. In one of the talks, a leader said the more we know about God the more we learn about ourselves in whom he is calling us to be. We’re going to try reading the Bible every day and see where God takes us, and what he might want to teach us!
Surround ourselves with like-minded people.
We’re lucky to have a youth group that we love where we can check in with friends, and our youth leaders. We’re committing to connecting with those good and positive people in my life, so if I go astray they can lead me back.
Be grateful for all the cool stuff God is doing.
Each day we’re committing to finding time to sit with God and be grateful, for family, friendships, school, jobs. Taking 5 minutes to think about different parts of the day, good and bad and check in. We’re going to build up a mind-set of gratitude!
These are just a few things. These last few weeks have certainly been slower compared to the rush of the 4 days of Camp, but we aren’t going to stop. So why not join us? Commit, follow through and remember that we’re doing it with you!
Yeah, every summer has a story – but the story is really only just beginning!