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.
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