Fly & Build Elim Heights – Stage Two

The time was set again to come back and finish the project started   at Fly and Build Stage One. Although we didn’t have as many volunteers on the ground as during stage one, one faithful group of people came together and straight away started working.

Monday

There were a few missing posts that needed concreting and some sleepers cut into right length and installed. Madalin and Gabi started welding all the brackets that now hold the seating and as soon as the first row was done the timber seating was installed. We were all amazed how good it looked. Three rows of seating were installed and we ran out of daylight.

Tuesday

The work of welding and installing more seating continued all day. Domenic came early in the morning to help. He adjusted all the sleepers to the right height so there is no gap between the top of the sleepers and the bottom of the seats.

Jared Chapman arrived also to give us an extra hand and as soon as he got out of the car he started levelling the soil behind each retaining wall. He has also taken photos of the progress each day. More seats were installed and as each row was finished we could not stop admiring how nature and man made structure blend so well in this beautiful spot.

Wednesday

Early in the morning Br Robin went in to pick up a little dingo to help us quickly backfill all the retaining walls and fill each row with crusher dust. Paul Cuningham came also and he helped us with welding and bringing soil and crushed rock in between each row.  Br Craig helped compacting  soil and cutting materials and many other things that a job like this involves.

In the afternoon the weather was not so good to us in a way but perfect in another way. A storm came in with wind and lots of rain and even hail. We were drenched within 3 minutes trying to collect tools and put them under shelter. So we hopped onto the back of a trailer to hitch a ride back to the kitchen while trying to dodge huge hail stones, which gave us an unwanted, uncomfortable back massage. But thank the Lord he protected us all and we got to shelter safely.

While this weather stopped us finishing the work it also gave us time to go down to Windsor and get some more materials for this stage. While we were out shopping the freshly backfilled soil got well compacted by the rain and hail.

Thursday

Again the work started early and we managed to install all the seats. It was now time to create the foundation for the stage. Br Robin brought huge bucket loads of rocks which fom the foundation for the stage. When that was finished the stage was measured out and the process of building began. Within an hour the bearers and joists that hold the decking that forms the stage were built. Half of the decking was screwed donw as well.

Some of us had to leave in the evening so we didn’t get to see the finished stage. We left behind  three faithful volunteers to finish the job: Br Robin, Gabi and Madalin. They worked till late in the evening.

Friday

The next morning they finished   backfilling the rows with crusher dust and compacted it. They have even drilled some holes for one of the recreational facilities so that work can be done some time before the end of the year.

There were volunteers that worked from behind the scene who cooked and sent or brought very tatsy food for us. These are Sr Lidia, Sr Lizy, Sr Nadine and Sr Amy. Without them this project would have not been successful.

There are others who will finish varnishing the seats and the stage.  Also others who supported the project financially and by other means.

We would like to give a special thanks to Sr Waymark who encourages and supports these projects. Br Robin also deserves a special mention as he is always there and quitely transforming the entire campgrounds.

May the good Lord bless all who in any way helped or are still helping not only with this project but the work for our youth in general.

The Youth Challenger Team

Fly & Build Elim Heights – Stage One

Some volunteers arrived on Friday the 4th, while others arrived on Sunday morning to start a week of intensive, hard and challenging labour. Some volunteers started their journey from interstate after they finished their work for the day and drove half of the night to get to Elim Heights and start working on one of the projects “the amphitheatre”.

Monday

The first day of work started at 6:30am with morning worship and breakfast. After breakfast we had a look a the site and thought this should not take too long to clear, mark and start the drilling of the holes for the posts to be concreted in for the retaining walls which form the terraces for the amphitheatre.

But unfortunately we were wrong. As soon as we set up the laser level the site proved to hide a lot more work than we first anticipated. While the professional volunteers – Madalin Duna and Gabriel Mandic – got in to mark up the levels and the shape of the amphitheatre designed by Jesse Ilic, Peter Szabo drove his car to pick up a 1.8t excavator hired and payed for by Amy and Benny Gules for the project. By the time the boys marked up the site the excavator was on site and Gabriel enthusiastically got in to start the work of excavation straight away.

After a few scoops of dirt we realised that we need to excavate much more than we initially thought. To make the work more challenging we hit some huge rocks that the little 1.8t excavator struggled to even scratch let alone dig out. The search for mobile signals started frantically to make some phone calls in search of a much bigger and stronger excavator. Meanwhile Diana Szabo cooked up a delicious meal to help us regain strength for the work that proved to be more challenging than we anticipated.

After the first lunch we learned that Benny organised a 5t excavator and Darko and Braidon Voncina have graciously volunteered to bring it up on their truck after work. The second excavator arrived on site at around 10:00pm and Gabriel jumped straight in, to start digging out the huge rocks the little excavator could not move while Madalin kept digging and cutting with the small one. Jordan Chapman was in charge of making sure that the excavations followed the right levels. His training in uni gave him an upper hand to make sure the site levels were consistent all around. Finally the first day of work finished at around 11:30pm.

Tuesday

After a well deserved short sleep work started at the same time as the first day with the same procedure. Three more volunteers arrived from Queensland – Monica, Daniela and Elizabeth Balarezo – and with more man power on the ground the work could start again in full power. The cold of the day was only felt until we got to the site and started working. Soon the extra layers of clothing started peeling back. As soon as the excavation of the first two rows of terraces were completed Madalin started drilling the holes. Soon we realised that even that job is not as easy we initially imagined. After much time and combined effort – man and excavator power – the first hole was drilled.

This tedious work continued on the whole day. We only stopped for the much appreciated and anticipated delicious meals and kept on going till 12:00pm midnight. Huge rocks were dug out and a lot of dirt that was taken out of the terraces was collected at the bottom of the hill to form the stage. The rocks were used to create natural retaining walls where it was needed. A rock was found with the shape of the map of Australia and is now on the stage becoming part of one of the natural retaining walls. Darko and Braidon Voncina came up once again to take the 5t excavator away. The site finally took shape and most of the 90 or so holes were drilled.

Wednesday

The third day the small excavator was due back to the hire place so the day had to start again at 6:30 am as usual with the same procedure. There was a lot of excavation that needed to be finished before the Excavator was returned so Gabriel worked really hard to clear all that work. Br Robin was constantly carrying dirt away with the new backhoe tractor that was just purchased recently as part of the Fly & Build project. Some of the holes were in places where huge rocks were and had to be drilled by jackhammer. About 9 or so holes were drilled this way.

All of the volunteers took their turn in jackhammering, but most of the holes were drilled by Dominic and Peter Szabo while the others worked hard mixing concrete and pushing wheel barrows full of concrete to the holes where all the steel posts were concreted in one by one. These posts needed to be at the right height and level and distance from each other so this job was not an easy task either.

Because of the rocks under the surface some of the holes drilled by the excavator shifted out of place during the drilling so afterwards these needed to be rectified by shovel and hand. Girls and boys on their knees hurried to clean the holes of dirt and rocks before the concrete was poured into the holes. The volunteers all took turn mixing the concrete and pushing wheelbarrows. Different people were in charge of the two concrete mixers mainly the youngest volunteers Roni & Rico Szabo and Nathan Boje. They worked really hard to make sure the concrete arrived to the holes in time and always mixed to the right ratio of ingredients.  We nearly ran out of cement and Benny and Amy Gules came and brought us 40 bags of cement in their truck arriving on site around 8:30pm. The work could go on and by the end of the day almost all the holes were filled with one post and a wheel barrow of concrete. The work continued all the way into the night again till 11:00pm.

Madalin and Gabriel were supposed to be travelling home that night as they had another job on hold and other tradies were waiting on their return. They had left their family and children behind – some of them were fighting a cold in their absence but they could not leave while the work was not complete.

Thursday

On Thursday morning Br Matthias Thiel also came to help. This was the big day when all the concrete sleepers were carried to the site. Pairs of workers carried them one by one and placed them in front of the steel posts. Madalin and Gabriel worked out the levels once again and spacers were cut to the right height and the concrete sleepers were placed in position. Br Merv Southwell helped out also carrying the 50 kg concrete sleepers. We politely asked him not to consider himself young just this one time, and he reluctantly gave up that work but he never stopped helping with other things.

In the end different individuals, wanting to show that the weeks hard work given them extra muscle power, picked up and carried the 50kg concrete sleepers on their own. Jordan Chapman and David Dumaguit, who don’t work every day on construction sites, were extra pleased by this achievement. By the evening the work was completed and finally we could stop working for once at a decent time – 7:00pm. Gathering around the fire in the dining hall, nicely showered and ready for bed, signs of a long long week of hard labour started to show. People looked worn and exhausted but thankful to God for how much was achieved and pleased with their individual achievements. After evening worship everyone was really eager to go to bed.

Friday

On Friday morning Br Peter Szabo and myself finished installing the last few sleepers and straight away started discussing the plans for the second stage of the project. Originally we hoped to finish the project in one go but unfortunately the difficulty of the job and the availability of our main volunteers forced us to split the project in two stages. Br Robin, Br Peter and myself started looking   for timber for the seating. Not long after we found a place where we found some good quality hardwood timber and we ordered it straight away. They will finish cutting the timber within three weeks and it will dry by the time the second stage will commence somewhere in September.

We would like to Praise the Lord for the strength He blessed us all with and with the great experience of safe work. We cannot thank Him enough that He looked after us with great weather; no rain or snow and no strong winds. We would also like to thank all our volunteers that helped us out in any way. There were many more volunteers than the number of people onsite and many who helped us financially. The cost of the amphitheatre in total will be somewhere around $15.000,00 but no money can buy the beauty of the place where it is situated and we trust and hope that many blessed meetings will be enjoyed in this great location.

If you feel inspired to help out in stage two of the project please check this page as we will post the dates here. Ultimately you can become a YC Member and we will e-mail you the info as it will become available. If you cannot help physically in stage two your financial support is much appreciated. You can donate online at any time or through your local treasury indicating Fly & Build on the tithe slip. Thank you for your help and may God richly bless you.

The Youth Challenger Team

See photos here

Boreen Point – QLD Youth Camp

 

Our first great experience happened just before getting to camp, and from there it just got better. We had been driving down winding, forested roads for all of ten minutes when a 4-wheel drive with a large trailer came onto the road in front of our little blue car. I’m certain God knew we needed the extra headlights so we kept driving behind this car right to the entrance of the campground. Coincidence? I highly doubt it.

On arriving, we joined the eager group of campers that had gathered for evening worship. With Bibles, miners lights and torches in hand, we were all prepared to hear the first worship, led by Jylan Wynne, which touched on a very important connection that we have with God – Prayer. ‘From end to end’, we need to keep our connection open, praying without ceasing, depending on God every step of the way. After greetings and final preparations were made, we were finally ready to go to sleep.

Friday began with an early, but not too early, morning worship, led out by Daniela Balarezo – ‘The Connection’. The previous night, I’d hardly been able to see the lake we were camping just alongside but during worship at the water’s edge it was a truly breathtaking view, and a blessing to talk about the permanent connection that Jesus wants us to maintain with him, an ‘abiding’ connection. Thus as camp continued, building line upon line, we came to realize that Christ really wants to be our best friend.

After worship, breakfast was next and it was quite normal to leisurely stroll by each tent and survey what was on each table, or box, or makeshift toolbox, bench, or trailer for the morning meal. Needless to say we enjoyed all our meals. Soon enough, a quick walk to another part of the beach led us to a nice shady spot for one of our two workshops entitled, ‘Interference’. We spoke about how Christ may be abiding in our hearts, but unless we practice our understanding and pray ‘without ceasing’ we become easy targets and vulnerable to temptation. During the workshop, four young people were chosen to “Stop at nothing and build a pyramid with four walls”. The instructions were puzzling at first, but the “stop at nothing” part became clearer when they saw that they were getting a lot of distraction from people around them. The finished project was a sand pyramid with four walls surrounding it, a gate, channel, and even decorated with sticks and leaves, although the sticks and leaves started disappearing when the objection was made that the decorations were not part of the instructions. Sometimes, it is the people who are closest to us who can unwittingly lead us away from Christ; because they are the ones we trust the most but remember; trust in God, not man. (Just a note for those who attended, please remember to pray for your assigned person J.)

After a break, Jonathan led us through the next workshop, entitled “From Disconnection to Reconnection”, or in simple terms ‘on and off’. What is your connection like? Is it a constant free flowing connection, or are you turning on and off?

Once lunch ended, the afternoon was free until Sabbath opened. As dusk fell across the tranquil lake, singing floated about the camp in praise to God for his goodness. Jordan Chapman led the evening meeting entitled ‘Duel Connection’ which drew our attention to our conversation with God; it has to be two ways. Looking at our Christian walk, it is Christ who guides us through it, but we have to decide to keep that connection flowing. Later on in the evening Br. Csongor Matyas, took our QLD Youth For Christ night and talked to the youth about ‘Incentive’ or ‘Motivation’. Many Christians follow this way of life, sadly, simply because there is a reward at the end, like ‘do good because you have to or you won’t go to heaven’. Those who love Christ are guided by an inner drive or ‘motivation’ as is the case with anything we are truly passionate about. Here is my question, however, if there were no heaven, would you still be a Christian?

Sabbath morning began with worship on the beach taken by Benjamin Fuenzalida and entitled “Transmitting”. Is our connection up and working? Are we transmitting to others? After a delicious breakfast we prepared for Sabbath School under the large tent area where at least 20 camping chairs were congregated for Sabbath School to begin. Our Sabbath School Lesson was about “Eli and his Sons” and we were arranged into groups according to the day of the week we were going to discuss and at the end to regroup and share. It worked really well and it was great to see everyone participating.

Csongor took our next study, “Are you Connected?” It was very nice to experience the sermon out of doors in nature and by then the weather was perfect. Small groups slowly formed after lunch and music floated from all sides, which was a good indication that we had some exciting items for our Young People’s Meeting later on. Sure enough, there were many wonderful items of praise and thanksgiving some of which included a very impressionable object lesson about making sure we don’t gloss over things that may have “only a little bit of bad” in it. The object lesson showed that if one part is not good for us, or if it’s half ok to do, then that should be an indication that the whole thing is not good. We also had some amazing testimonies and stories of faith and God’s leading which were kindly relayed to us by Lauren and Braden Vernon. It was amazing to know that even though we don’t see or realize it, God is always leading us to him, pulling us with his love. There were beautiful songs performed by the children, which always reminds how precious is the faith and simplicity of a little child. Some of the youth presented stories, like Lachlan Reyes, who gave us a very interesting recap of the lives of Bible heroes and we looked into the characteristics that made them brave or heroic. A lovely rendition of “Amazing Grace” was given by a large group of the youth and soon after the meeting, we all took a long walk on the beach, both enjoying the lovely scenery and each other’s company. Sabbath came to a close all to quickly and Jaime Squires directed our attention to the “Eternal Connection”. A combined barbecue followed soon after and before long we were all eagerly crowding around a fantastic spread of vegetarian sausages, gluten steaks, salads, sauces and more. After more socializing and fun we all went to bed in anticipation of a 4:30am wake up call.

 Sunday

Those of us brave souls who volunteered tiptoed out of camp, dark and early, to make the half-hour drive to Tinbeerwah Lookout where we would stay to watch the sunrise. The short hike to the lookout was intermingled with anticipation of what we would see at the top. Despite the cold and mosquitoes we all agreed that it was worth the trouble to see the golden streaks of light that slowly emerged from the horizon. Our very own camera crew was all set up at the edge of the cliff at the ready and we enjoyed sitting around chatting and singing until the sky was streaked with pink in the distance, and the shadows turned into warm sunshine. Once the sun was shining brightly, it was time for group photos, which we took right on the edge of the cliff (there were suggestions that the back row could make more room by taking a step back) and from the lookout. We returned to camp in time for morning worship taken by Jeremy Gordon entitled “Face to Face”. He told a very moving story of a blind man who had an operation to his eyes and resolved to remove his bandages on his wedding day so that his bride would be the first his eyes beheld. Happily he said that his bride “was more beautiful than he could ever imagine.” Such will be our happiness when we finally have our own earth binding bandages removed so that our Saviour is the first we see, standing right in front of us, “Face to Face”. After a hearty breakfast with pancakes all around it was time to pack up camp before the scheduled activities. As the day progressed, some of the youth experienced a physical transformation as they appeared from their swim in the lake covered in thick mud, which was used on unsuspecting swimmers of our group, all in good humor of course. The kayaking was also very enjoyable thus ending our camp on a high note. We were all very thankful that the rain predicted for the weekend never came, and we were blessed with beautiful balmy weather the entire time. I truly believe that this camp was a blessing to all as there were many lessons learnt from the meetings and nature that surrounded us. It was also really encouraging to see the young people lead out in each meeting and to watch them getting involved in the activities of the camp. I’m greatly looking forward to the next one!

By: Elisabeth and Daniela Balarezo

Coral Bay – WA Youth Camp

Time set aside enjoying God’s creation

In this day and age with people living such busy lives, we are thankful to God for giving us such wonderful counsels in the Spirit of Prophecy which we can all benefit from, in our practical lives. “Let families unite together and leave their occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion out of the cities and villages a few miles into the country, by the side of a fine lake, or in a nice grove, where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain, hygienic food, and spread their table under the shade of a tree, or under the canopy of heaven provided with the very best of fruits and grains. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery, will quicken the appetite, and they can come around a repast which kings might envy.” Review and Herald, October 8, 1867 par. 31

“Parents and children on such occasions should feel as free as air from care, labors or perplexities. Parents should become children with their children, making it as happy as possible for them. Let the whole day be given to recreation. Exercise of the muscles in the open air, for those whose employment has been within doors and sedentary, will be beneficial to health. All who can, should feel it a duty resting upon them to pursue this course. Nothing will be lost, but much gained. They can return to their occupations with new life, and new courage to engage in their labor with new zeal. And such have gained much, for they are better prepared to resist disease.” Review and Herald, October 8, 1867 par. 32

On the 14th of April, a number of families here in the West decided to take time out for some recreation and be refreshed, so we set out on our trip to Coral Bay. For those who are unsure, Coral Bay is 1200km north of Perth. It would have been about 9-9:30 Sunday morning by the time we prayed and set off on our journey; although a few families had departed earlier that morning, we all caught up at some point. The trip was great and we thank God for His protection. We saw many goats, sheep and cows by the roadside, wandering all over the outback of prickly shrubs and small sand tornados. Although the western countryside is very dry with sharp characteristics, God made it with its own beauty. Psalms 8:7-9 “All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

By lunchtime we were all pulling into Carnarvon, the half-way point between home and North Hampton, where we planned to stay the night. We stopped to stretch our legs and eat some much anticipated food before embarking on the second half of our journey for the day.

Finally we arrived at the half-way point to Coral Bay in North Hampton and settled down for the night. It was a quaint Farm Stay, but very well kept and provided us all with much needed rest. The next day we continued our journey at 6:00am bound for Coral Bay, and for some strange reason this half of the journey seemed to pass by much faster. Along our route we crossed over the Tropic of Capricorn and saw many massive termite mounds dotted all over the countryside. It was amazing! Mound-building termites are found not just here in Australia, but also in Africa and South America. Some mounds can have a diameter of 30 metres. It brings to mind what Solomon wrote in Proverbs 6:6 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise”.

‘Coral Bay’, the sign finally appeared; by the grace of God we had all made it. We were staying in a caravan park just opposite the ocean, so of course once we arrived we had to set up our tents; but we all got in, helped each other and completed the job in record time. One of the tents, however, had been set up in the wrong place, so to save the bother of pulling the whole thing down and resetting it, we just removed the pegs and picked up the tent to move it, a rather interesting experience.

That evening we all went down to the ocean for a swim as it was very warm up there. The water was very refreshing, but it was a bit murky. We figured it was due to the tide and concluded it would be much nicer the next morning. After worship, that evening, as you would suppose, we all went to bed quite early, but the rest was much needed.

The next morning each family had their own worship and then we all had a nice big breakfast and headed down to the ocean where we took a ride in a glass-bottom boat. Sure enough when we saw the water that morning, it was gorgeous! The ocean was a clear aqua colour and shimmered against the morning sun.

The glass-bottom boat was definitely an experience. We could see all kinds of coral, and some shimmered blue in the light. There were beautifully coloured fish of all shapes and sizes swimming everywhere, and we even saw a turtle! “And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:21.

The rest of that day was spent on the beach in the sun.We all did lots of snorkelling, an amazing experience, as the fish were not scared of you; they allowed us to dive down and swim with them, and they completely accepted us. We can only imagine how wonderful it will be in the ‘earth made new’ when all the animals will not be afraid of us. We snorkelled out to “Aires Rock” a number of times, an absolutely massive yellow coral 250 metres off shore. We first saw it while on the glass-bottom boat that morning. This coral was amazing; it became flat on top and had lots of smaller coral growing on the head of it. There were also lots of schools of fish that loved to swim all around this large coral.

By the time evening came we were all very tired and hungry, so we cleaned up and had a big meal. The rest of the evening was spent socialising before we all had our individual family worships and retired for the night.

The following day, we all stopped off at the bakery for breakfast. The weather was perfect. As you can imagine, we decided to spend the whole day out in nature as we would be heading back down to Perth the next day. The weather was perfect. The whole time we were there the sun was shining, and we never had a dull day. Again a number of us young people decided to go snorkelling and headed out for “Aires Rock”. Once again it was amazing; there were fish everywhere that swam around us as we passed by them. Although we didn’t manage to see a turtle, we were blessed to see an ever abundant supply of fish, as well as a couple of stingrays.

Late afternoon, a few of us young people headed up to a high point to watch the sunset, a beautiful way to end the day in the midst of God’s wonderful creation. That night, we were all very tired again, and looked forward to an early night. But alas that was not to be. As we all headed back to the campsite where Jacques Payet had been busy cooking food that day, everyone followed their noses to the tent where we all huddled and had dinner.

We all rose early the next day to get a good head start for the long trip home. After packing the tents and clearing the area, a long trail of cars finally but reluctantly left the quiet little town of Coral Bay. After sitting in the small confined spaces of the cars, we all stopped for a much-needed stretch at Carnarvon, where we filled the cars up with fruit, and our stomachs with food. After our break, we all headed back to the cars to continue the long journey home again. We had decided that we were going to travel through the night this time instead of stopping at North Hampton. So those who weren’t driving at the time decided it was best if they caught up on some sleep before it was their turn to drive.

We all thank God for our safe trip through the night as there were no accidents and no one fell asleep at the wheel, although there were constant stops along the side of the road as people were swapping drivers to give others the chance to sleep. The promise found in Psalms 34:7 “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them,” was truly appreciated by all as we continued on our journey home.

I can say on behalf of everyone, that at 2:30am the following morning we were all quite happy to be pulling into our driveways and crawling into our beds after a full day of being on the road.

We would all like to thank God for the wonderful experience of being able to participate in the trip up to Coral Bay. Just being able to spend time with family and friends enjoying God’s creation was a great blessing, and we hope to be able to have another trip like it in the near future. Revelation 4:11 “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

By Amariah and Charmaine Payet

Bristol Point – Jervis Bay NSW Youth Camp

Bristol Point is one of the campgrounds by a beautiful coastal cove situated in Jervis Bay NSW, approximately three hours’ drive south of Sydney.  Catering especially for groups, Bristol Point is a very clean and well-kept camp, offering hot showers, BBQ areas and even an outdoor amphitheater which could be used for meetings.

For weeks many were preparing and looking forward to this event.  As we were driving on the motorway Friday afternoon, the rain was bucketing down to the point where we could hardly see the road.  Since a number of people were concerned about the weekend being a very wet one, I must admit that on the way down, I also started to worry a little; so I quietly I sent a prayer to God asking if He could help us, at least to hold back the rain until we put up our tents and tarps.  But God must have been smiling as my prayers went up because He had already worked everything out.  As we were getting closer to camp, the weather was clearing up more and more until we could even see some blue sky.  How grateful we were to God for His goodness and for answering our prayers.

As we were looking around for a place to setup camp, we were greeted by friendly, beautifully coloured parakeets and other birds, which put a smile on everyone’s face.  The boys had a number of them landing on their arms, heads and shoulders.

One by one the cars started pulling up, and tents were being erected, soon looking like a tent city!!!  A couple of large tarps were put up in the middle of camp to be used for meals etc. and they were the best investment the Youth Department made.  After setting up camp, some of us took a walk down by the seaside, and it was just gorgeous.  Such white sand, lovely aqua-green and blue water, sun glittering between the clouds, brown and cream rocks and later the evening glow with stripes of soft purple, pink, orange and blue made us feel immediately relaxed.  I couldn’t help think what a Master Designer our God is.  The boys were also very excited to spot a stingray which was captured by Harrison with his underwater camera.

We opened Sabbath together, and as we were quite hungry, dinner was extremely appetizing.  There were a couple of very special people who turned a year wiser within two days apart: Nathan from Melbourne on the second, and Denise from USA on the fourth, the day the camp started.  So we shared a cake together and wished them God’s blessings for the years to come.  At night, some youth went for a walk on the beach and witnessed the very interesting sparkles of the plankton as they kicked the water and sand.

After a good nights rest, the morning daylight got us out of bed feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy God’s day in nature.  Brother Joe and I went for a morning walk to Green Patch before breakfast and saw kangaroos quietly grazing on the lush green grass, so tame that they could be patted.  As we came around the corner at Bristol Point rocks, we met Kayli who was enjoying looking at sea anemones, gathering shells etc.  Self-catered breakfast was next.

Brother Matthias let us know that the Sabbath Bible Lesson study would be taking place down by the rocks.  A number of people carried their chairs, drinking water and books to where we met, a place not short of the beauty of God’s wonderful creation.  Many favourite hymns of praise went up to our Heavenly Father, and Sister Denise took us through the lesson for the day.  We felt so blessed, as again the weather was gorgeous even to the point that some got a little sunburnt.   Lunchtime came far too quickly for some, while others seem always hungry… and so together we shared a delightful combined lunch.  After lunch, most of us enjoyed a walk in the Botanical Gardens, which was only a short drive from camp.

Upon arriving back at camp, a special activity for the youth took place at the beach.  Brother Matthias asked them to divide themselves into groups of no more than four or five and they had to depict a Bible story on the sand.  The adults and those who remained were to guess what the story was.  They were quite creative.  The displays were well done as you can see by the pictures; some of scenes were very detailed.  It was lovely to see the youth participate in this activity.  The stories portrayed were:

  • Daniel in the lion’s den
  • Conversion and baptism of the Ethiopian
  • Jonah in the whale
  • Feeding of the multitude with five loaves and two fishes
  • The demoniac made whole and pigs running down the cliff
  • Three different portrayals of the walls of Jericho

While there, we sighted a large stingray swimming gracefully across the beach.  On a couple of different occasions, dolphins were also spotted by various people.

Just before sunset, we gathered together around the BBQ fire to sing some more favourite choruses and David led out for closing of Sabbath.  All brought something to add to the combined BBQ dinner; and so we enjoyed another delicious meal of burgers, sausages, onion, eggplant, mushrooms, super sweet corn on the cob, salad and bread rolls (and that’s just some of the yummy foods enjoyed).  After tea, a number of people went down to the beach again to see some more plankton.

Daylight saving finished on Sunday morning giving us an extra hour in bed, but unfortunately the rain started pelting down around two o’clock in the morning and didn’t give up until about an hour and a half before we had to leave.  God again held back the rain at the time we needed most, so we were able to pack the tents and the tarps without getting drenched.  Even though it was a wet Sunday morning, it never deterred some keen water lovers from taking a dip early in the morning finishing the camp on a high note.  The hot showers were very much appreciated after the cool experience.

Morning worship was led by Melissa, and all were in good spirits and thankful to God that we were able to spend time enjoying such beautiful nature and each other’s company.  We are looking forward to our next camp which will be held during the October long weekend. Submitted By Lidia Voncina

I would like to share some thoughts expressed by some of the youth:


Veronica & Kiara-Shaye Hake

“Breath-taking weekend. The white sandy beaches surrounding the campsite were just so beautiful. It was such a blessing to spend a weekend out in nature. From the ginormous stingrays and fluro plankton in the beach to the wallabies and birds surrounding the camp God’s name was written in everything. Thanks to everyone for making the weekend so memorable… and to the leaders who made it possible.”

Denise Gutierrez

“The best camp. The place was awesome; however, the people even better! Great people I have met here down under. The fourth was the best…lol! Thank you for remembering young Boje and my birthday.  Cake was great. Thanks Sister Lidia! It was great to enjoy Sabbath by the beach. Phenomenal! Would definitely do this again. God bless everyone!!!”

Alyssia Thiel

“On Friday, 4 April, a group of about 40 youth and young at heart gathered at the Jervis Bay Campgrounds for a weekend of camping. Despite the rain, everyone had a wonderful time. Some of the highlights of the camp were illustrating Bible stories in the sand, climbing the rocks on the beach, seeing how dry you can be after running between the tents and the covered tarp area, and seeing the little glowing plankton in the water on the beach at night. Everyone is looking forward to the next campout!”

Cameron Thiel

“I really enjoyed the camp, especially the bioluminescent plankton in the water.”

Matthew Boje

“The decision had been reached. We were going to be attending the youth campout at Jervis Bay. The dates were locked in, and as the days drew nearer, the weather forecast was not being very agreeable with a camping weekend.

“Still we decided to attend, and it was amazing.

The beautiful scenes in nature, having the Sabbath School lesson taken by the ocean, and enjoying each other’s company in such a serene location made the nine-hour drive, each way, seem trivial.

Praise God that 50 people attended, and even though the weather should have been miserable, it wasn’t until Sunday morning that the clouds released their payload, and the showers came pouring down. That made it a memorable challenge, and we still played ball on the beach, and went for a swim; after all, once you’re in the water, you cannot get any more wet. 

I’d like to thank the leaders for organizing this weekend, and everyone who attended by making it special. The way everyone got along; the fact that there were only two ‘official’ combined meals, yet I ate all my meals together with the group. Everyone was happy to share, help each other out, and spend quality time in nature. Till next time!”


 

Life Ethics Seminar

“Life Ethics Seminar” was especially designed to provide youth with some valuable information as they go through different phases in life.  The topics presented related to awareness of the expectations they will be facing as they embrace adult life and how best they can relate to situations in the home, with peers, at work, social world and at church. Prior to the day, for the leaders, planning this seminar was a challenge, as there are so many directions we could take and so much that could be covered; for the youth it was a speculating time wondering what was it all about?

Finally the day arrived, when around thirty people, a mixture of youth and ‘slightly more experienced youth’ turned up for the event.  The youth are to be commended for their efforts in arriving on time as the seminar started at 9:00am on “Sunday morning”! What does the word “ethics” mean?  Ethics are principles, morals or values that we embrace in our day-to-day life.  The basis of good ethics is built in the home, and this sets a solid foundation for others to be built upon. It was a one day only seminar and was divided into five sessions.  Each session was taken by a different speaker.  The topics addressed were:

  • Session 1   “Home Ethics” – Lidia Voncina
  • Session 2   “Job and Workplace Ethics” – Harold Kraus
  • Session 3   “Lifelong Ethics” – Dorothy Ilic
  • Session 4   “Networking Ethics” – Matthias Thiel
  • Session 5   “Ethics in the Presence of God” – Joe Voncina

A couple of illustrations were presented by a number of people joining to create two families.  One family portrayed true ethics within their home, having wonderful values displayed in their dealings with each other making it a very content and respectful Christian environment for all the occupants to live in; it was a place where many would delight to reside.  In contrast, the other family had no respect towards each other or towards the things in their house.  This family was very loud and boisterous, rude and disrespectful; this was a house where there were no rules and the members in return lived a very unhappy, selfish and unfulfilled life. At the end of the demonstration the question was asked:  Do you feel etiquette in the home plays an important part in one’s life?  The answer was an obvious yes! To the question:  How can you make a difference in the world around you?  Here are some of the thoughts expressed:

  • With your character and your manners that you use in your life.  But to have good manners, you also need the Holy Spirit.
  • To do to others what you would have them do to you.  Ensure the first impression is good as it will reflect upon ongoing manners.
  • Small things, small courtesies, appreciation, kindness makes the world’s supply of happiness.
  • By having Christian etiquette in the home first.
  • I need to change myself and my attitude; then things will change around me
  • Do my part first.  If I can show love, keeping things orderly, it can start the rest of the family off.

After completion of the first two sessions, it was decided that a lunch break would be very welcomed, so a Mexican lunch was enjoyed by all.  Then the other three sessions followed in the afternoon. A quick list of some of the points brought out during the presentations:

  • Our goal is to make a difference in our lives and the lives of others.
  • We are to have a vision of what success is like and make all efforts to reach it.
  • Don’t be ashamed of who you are.  Be honest with yourself; be positive and elevating.
  • Christianity is not a shirt that we put on and take off; it’s a heart that wants to do God’s will.
  • There must be a drive within to do right.
  • True courtesy must be motivated by love.
  • Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.
  • For complete happiness it is vital to apply the ‘Golden Rule’.
  • Give God your heart.  “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he”.  Proverbs 23:7
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life” – Steve Jobs.
  • “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  Maya Angelou.
  • In order to be successful, there needs to be a balanced life (spiritual, family, social, work, study, recreation).
  • Take personal responsibility for own life.
  • Look in the mirror and ask, “What message am I sending?”
  • Keep focused and determined.
  • Commonsense guidelines while using mobile phones or networking:
    • Avoid calls while engaged in face-to-face conversation – if a must then ask permission of people with you.
    • Do not take calls in middle of conversation, business/church meetings.
    • When networking, never engage in bullying, teasing or arguing via social media.
    • Never spread gossip or unkind things via web.
    • Ask yourself: is there anyone that I would rather not see this post? If anyone comes to mind, then don’t post it on social media.
    • Be careful not to overshare.
    • Never use foul language, racial slurs or other offensive language on social networking sites.
  • It is good to understand different personality traits.  There are four major groups that people can be divided into.  “DISC” which stands for Dominance (goal-driven, direct, competitive, “Just Do It” people); Influence (people person, talkative, spontaneous, “Have fun Doing It” people); Steadiness (stable, dependable, conservative, loyal, “Do It Together” people); and Compliance (careful, logical, organized, diplomatic, “Do It Right” people).  Knowing about these categories helps to understand why certain people behave in a certain manner and how to be able to get along with them or work with them etc…
  • It is important to be aware of God’s presence in His house.
  • Be punctual.
  • While in the presence of God, avoid anything that is disrespectful towards God such as whispering, drinking (even water), chewing, walking out during meetings, using electronic media inappropriately, sleeping, etc…
  • Be clean – Do not leave rubbish behind (inside and outside).
  • God may be calling you, but probably not on your cell phone – turn off your phones during worship.
  • It’s time to let God do the talking; God is in His temple; no wi-fi, 4G or roaming needed.

I would like to share some of the thoughts expressed by attendees:


Ryan Belu

“This was a very good program. Personally I really enjoyed it. I think it was a great idea to talk about modern-day ethics, especially discussion about cell phones and how to use them properly. Many do not realise what they are doing is socially unacceptable and rude. We are always being watched especially in the presence of our God. Having proper manners in church is extremely important and everyone can always use a reminder on what is right and wrong.”

Unknown

“The seminar was a great blessing.  It made me think about some points in my life and plan some strategies that will help me and those around me be happier.  Helped me understand some things from a different angle, in a different light.”

Cameron Thiel

“Very interesting, I really enjoyed it.”

Unknown

“The workshop was impressive. If possible next time include ethics involved between young people relationships.”

Szabi

“What a wonderful day! I am training for my long hikes and was supposed to do my 30km hike today but came here instead. What a blessing! May the Lord be praised for all the people who put an effort in this program. We dealt with so many issues that are current and are a problem today amongst us. I just pray that we can all learn from it and take it to heart and through His strength change for the better. It was truly a blessing to be here today!”

Unknown

“The seminar of today was really nice and useful. Good ethics at all times and in all places are important. I learned a lot in this seminar, so I want to say congratulations to all the teachers.

Kiara-Shaye Hake

“This seminar was quite engaging and fun and very easy to pay attention to. I really enjoyed the talks and really did learn a whole lot of new information. Thoroughly enjoyed it overall.”

Alyssia Thiel

“I enjoyed the seminar because it was fun and interesting.  I liked the practical demonstrations, which help me to relate in a better way.

Unknown

“The seminar was really wonderful. It gave us lessons on how to have a proper decorum as Christians in our home, in the church, in the society or community where we live. But only few young people were present – this must be presented in a spiritual congress, because this is a matter of refining or polishing our characters.”

Amy Gules

“Overall, the experience was a long one, however the message was great.  The meetings were well organised and appropriate.  The message was truly needed and it was an enjoyable day.  Thanking all the organisation team.  Oh, lunch was extremely Yummy!!!”


At the end of a very full-packed day there was a lot to take home, to think about and to chew on. The NSW Youth Department firstly thank the youth and the ‘young at heart’ for coming and supporting this event and pray that you all have been blessed by the experience, and not only blessed today, but that it will make a difference in each of your lives.  Matthias, Chris and I would like to especially thank Harold Kraus, Dorothy Ilic and Joe Voncina for the hours they put into their workshops, for the help and support they gave us in this seminar.  Thanks to all others who helped with lunch, the family illustrations and in different ways to make this seminar a success. For all that are interested, the next seminar to be held will be the “Communication Seminar” which will be held on the Sunday 26th October, 2014. This will be a MUST to attend, so mark your diaries now and hope to see you then!!! God bless, Lidia Voncina

Focus Meeting NSW – Purity

The first Sabbath evening in December, we all gathered at Vivian and Chris Cossons’ place for another Youth Focus meeting. We all enjoyed socializing in the sun before we started the meeting.

After gathering in the lounge, Br. Matthias Thiel opened the meeting with an illustration. He had two white roses. One he left in the vase, but the other he handed around for everyone to do whatever they wanted to do with it. When it came back to him, he held what was left of it (which was broken and crushed), he asked who wanted it. No one wanted it. He then pointed out that if we allowed ourselves to be handled around, we wouldn’t be wanted either. He also explained that even if you have, in the past, led a life of impurity, there is still hope for you. God can still forgive you and make you pure.

Then we watched a DVD on purity by Joshua Harris. He stressed the point of the need for purity in our young people today. Purity isn’t seeing how close you can get to the line without going passed it; it is keeping as far away as possible from it. There was also a section for women on modesty in the way they dress. They should dress in such a way as to help the men keep from thinking impure thoughts.

After finishing the DVD, we had delicious fruit and finger foods for dinner, and more time was spent in socializing. We then dispersed, looking forward to the next meeting.

Reported by Alyssia Thiel