November 1, 2013 by JesstheMess
It was a weekend to remember. A gathering of those whose hair is now their ‘crown of glory’ (Prov 16:31) to remember all that God has done in bringing Christian Youth Camps Waihola to where it is today. As they remembered it became one generation sharing with the next the stories of youth and more importantly of God’s faithfulness as a group of young men stepped out in faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1, ESV)
There is one thing they were sure about, that despite the ups and downs, God had blessed their step of faith. They’d had a vision for youth camps, adventure amongst life on life relationships, potential opportunities to make Jesus Christ known. Faces full of emotion, they shared the stories of how this vision came to be and declared, ‘to God be the glory, great things he has done.’
The gathering was the celebration of 50 years of Christian Youth Camps in the Otago/Southland region. The people gathered, young and old, all a part of CYC at some point in the past 50 years.
A tree was planted. A copper beech, a gift from one generation to the next. A monument to what God has done and with hope towards a future in which many others may sit under it’s shade, learning more of His word, till the day Christ returns for His own.
Children watched on asking questions as the tree was planted, the cake sliced and the formal dinner prepared. All the while the stories of God’s work in the lives of individuals continued to flow. All the stories had strong CYC links, but we were reminded that God is the one who works salvation, with many stories involving many years and varied circumstances. Many testified to the word of God planted in their lives, through the camps, remaining deep within them and eventually bearing fruit. What a reminder to continue steadfastly in prayer for all campers past and present, that the word of God would be living and active drawing them to Christ.
Saturday evening was a chance to relax and be entertained by the future generations, and maybe some ‘young at heart’. Amongst the fun, the scary ,and the entertaining, a real highlight was the testimony and songs written by young musicians whose hearts are already being shaped by God’s sovereign grace.
As Sunday morning dawned, this main hall built over many years in sun, rain and even snow, hosted the church service. Gathered together as God’s church, praise resounded to Him who provided His own dear Son that we could have life, and that ALL who call on His name can know this life.
The children met some old friends of CYC, puppets who have shared many stories of God’s work. This story was one of CYC in days gone by, a place where children came, stuffing their own mattresses with straw for a seven day camp where they would learn to value and love God’s word.
We opened God’s word to Nehemiah 4:1-14. Nehemiah labours to encourage the Israelites as they seek to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Their work is hard and discouraging and as time went by they were prone to forget why they were there. Nehemiah reminds them…
…Remember the Lord,who is great and awesome…
As the Israelites need to remember their Lord, so do we at CYC. It is easy to get involved in a mission, to start out passionate, but it is not always easy to carry on when things are tough. It is not always easy as vision gets passed from one generation to the next. Pastor reminded us that while we remember God, who is great and awesome, we will remember that we are joining Him on his mission, of which CYC is a part. This and this alone will keep CYC connected to it’s intended roots, that God’s kingdom be extended in this part of the world and that His name be glorified.
And so as a first step to continuing God’s mission here, till Christ’s return, we opened up the campsite for a ‘Free Family Picnic Day.’ The sleety showers forecast didn’t show, and so I milled amongst the hundreds who came to see what CYC was about and experience some adventure.
Praise the Lord for His goodness to us.
May all these smiling faces return for some more adventure, life on life relationship, and a chance to meet the Lord Jesus Christ in His word.