Monday, January 14, 2013

Camping, Caving, Creation, and Koreans

There is a witty saying when a person compares something that is intense to camping because camping is "in tents".  We could however say that camping was not only in tents but also intense this past week at Rock Solid Breakaway Camp.  The week was filled with challenges, adventures, relationships, and good food.  The first day/night of camp was extremely windy. The tents (especially ours) were semi-collapsing due to the wind and the noise of the wind from inside the tent was incredible.  Needless to say, most of those attending and working at the camp got very little sleep.  However, God gave us strength to make it through the long days ahead even though we never really got caught up on our sleep.  Each day we had new adventures that we encountered. On Tuesday, Jesse went hiking with a group through the "bush" (woods) and up a hill and Jenna went with another group and had her first experience at Kayaking and Sea biscuiting (tubing) in the ocean. On Wednesday the whole group took a day trip out to Pataua North and South.  It was here that the campers and leaders were able to swim in the ocean, dive off a bridge, kayak, and climb another mountain. On Wednesday evening, we all enjoyed a time under the stars at the beach that was right next to the camp. Each team got to make their own "volcano" out of sand, sticks, and fire. It was awesome to see everyone working together in order to get their volcano to "erupt." 
On Thursday, the camp took everyone down into the earth as we went caving.  This was an amazing experience as neither of us had ever been caving.  The caving included spotting an eel, wading through waist deep water, climbing up rocks within the cave, looking up and seeing hundreds of glowworms on the cave's ceiling, and working with those campers who were scared or didn't believe they could continue. The caves were definitely a favorite aspect of the camp for the both of us. On Thursday evening the theme was "Islander night." The camp brought in giant inflatables for everyone to jump and play on and a snow cone machine. Everyone dressed up in islander wear and we enjoyed the sounds of island themed music. On Friday, we went for yet another hike.  Jenna braved the tall Mount Manaia for the second time in our time in NZ while Jesse took the more scenic and much more flat walk around Smuggler's cove.  
Throughout the week, we had the opportunity to build many relationships with youth of many different cultures. Jesse had the privilege to get to know Stella and Melody (Their English names).  These girls have left their families in South Korea for six weeks in an effort to better learn English and to serve Christ. Although they were young in age, they were brave as they were making this journey to New Zealand.  Melody shared with Jesse that her dream is to learn to speak English well enough that she can travel the world volunteering and helping others.  She has a huge heart for God and others.  It was so obvious to all that she came into contact with.  We are praying that God will continue to nurture this call to missions that she has and that she will allow for God to use her in big ways. 
Many of the children who attended this camp are in need of prayer. They need prayer that God will continue to work in their lives and that they would allow God to mold them into to who he created them to be. They need prayer that they will be able to be missionaries into their worlds (whether that is in NZ, Korea, or just their homes).  The "theme" of the week was creation and creativity. There was much shared about how creative God is and even though he has created huge stars he still loves us, even though we would be microscopic in size compared to those stars.  We pray that these teens that heard this message will at least always remember how important and loved they are by their creator.
There is so much more that could be written about camp but we hope that this gives you a glimpse into what camp was like.  We would appreciate your prayers as we have our Nazarene youth camp coming up next week.  We have been put in charge of the camp and are excited for what God has in store for the time.  Thanks again for all your support and prayers. We are half way through our time in NZ and God has amazed us with what He is doing.  

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Camp Preparation

During these past couple of weeks we have had some time to relax and visit the beach. Starting in the middle of December when kids get out of school most people leave and go on "holiday". They go visit family, head to the beach, or take a family vacation. This means we have not been in our normal routine, because we have not had Rock Solid, Kids Club, Food Bank, or Wednesday night bible study. However, we have been busy preparing for something else... Youth Camp! 
Before coming to New Zealand, we both felt that God had laid camp on our hearts. We have both had experience with camps in the past and at the time did not know how God was using those experiences to equip us for what was to come. A couple of months ago we were informed that the current Nazarene District Youth leaders in New Zealand would be stepping down from the position. Once we heard this we felt the Holy Spirit tugging on our hearts to organize this year's district youth camp. Soo... we have stepped up to the challenge! 
This year's camp is called EPIC (Eternal Prize in Christ) and will be held at Paura Bay's HOLY Ground Camp. We have met with the leaders of this camp and formed a strong partnership with them. They have informed us of government funding that will allow us to host a FREE camp for all 11 to 17 year olds. PRAISE THE LORD! We know that many times camp fees can get expensive and hold youth back from attending. But this year God has broken down that barrier. We also thought that transportation for 50 to 60 youth and leaders from Auckland up to the Northland (about a 2 hour trip) would be an issue, but once again God has provided for that as well! There will be a 47 passenger bus bringing youth and leaders up from Auckland. 
In order to make this camp possible and receive funding we were told we had to have at least 65 campers. The registration deadline was on January 2nd and we only had 3 people registered. Our humanness was beginning to doubt if this camp was really meant to be. However, yesterday we received a call from the district superintendent and were informed that he had been speaking to all of the local churches and totaled up 72 campers and leaders coming!! Thank you, Lord. 
God has been so faithful! Will you please continue to pray for this camp that will be held January 21st through 24th. Pray that all of those who attend will be impacted for Jesus and that it will be the most life-changing week of their lives. We know God has gone before us and has great things planned for this camp and we will continue to seek his guidance and direction. We will also continue to keep you updated. 

Also... next week we will be attending Breakaway Summer Camp. This camp is for Rock Solid- the outreach for 11-14 year olds that we have been volunteering with. This is a 6 day camp and we will be sleeping under the stars in a tent on the beach. Please also be in prayer for this camp. We both remember attending camps as kids and teenagers and know how impacting they can be on the lives of young ones.