Landing on the Forgotten Planet was an unforgettable experience! It was a total of 9 days. The storyline goes like this: after seemingly being hit by one of the trolleys of the Galactic Supermarket, our spaceship crash landed on the Forgotten Planet filled with hostile aliens out to get us! However, we eventually realized that the hostile aliens were actually quite friendly and nice. They were being controlled by the Evil Overlord who turns out to be the spaceship’s cat! At the end of the week we managed to defeat the Evil Overlord and claim back the crystal that could fuel our return journey home!
That was the theme this year for Woolhampton’s 11-14 years old camp. After much hassle of getting my DBS sorted (a certificate confirming I don’t have any criminal records), thank God I was able to go. There I made new friendships and strengthened old ones.
Working with young teens was a very unique experience. Terrifying, but exhilarating! Especially when I’ve been raised in Hong Kong being surrounded by more Chinese kids and having a different cultural environment, it was very interesting observing how these British teens interacted. Not that there was a massive cultural shock or anything but there were slight differences that could be noted. The boys seemed to be more cheeky and sneaky. The girls seemed to just get along very easily and thank God no sticky cliques were formed.
The team I was working with were amazing. Absolutely loving, hospitable and encouraging. It was in no way perfect, but all the leaders held on to God’s Spirit and relied on Him through the ups and downs of our time at the camp. Many times it seems all too tempting and easy to give in to the stress. Since this was my first time serving at a camp, I was part of the Growing Leaders and had different roles to the leaders. For the most part I helped support the morning activities and sometimes leading the major activities – luckily never without the presence of the leaders. As a growing leader we also had other tasks such as washing up and helping the leaders set up the props.
I’m so thankful to have met a wonderful friend on the Growing Leaders team and without her I can’t imagine much other company as we have shared and bonded with our time together.
It’s amazing how some of the teens on camp were curious and asked questions that I haven’t thought to ask until I started university! Such questions included how do we know that Jesus is the true God and what about other people who have claims of the truth? And what of those who have not heard of the gospel, what would happen to them? There were interesting conversations and it was enjoyable talking with them. Some were shy and some didn’t need much to get them going on about their hobbies!
Throughout the week we focused on John’s Gospel:
For me it was surprisingly awe-striking as although the seminars and talks were simple, yet very effective at getting the message across. I didn’t think I’d be as surprised as I was. The passages chosen were the ‘I am’ statements of Jesus such as:
(6:35) I am the bread of life.
(8:12) I am the light of the world.
(10:11) I am the good shepherd
(11:25) I am the resurrection and the life.
(15:1) I am the true vine
(14:6) I am the way and the truth and the life.
Although I know all this to be true, it’s just amazing to see the whole picture put together. None is clearer than John 14:6 Jesus answered,’I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [God] except through me.’
From showing the images Jesus provides, we can know him better.
Bread –> Sustains us
Light –> A guide revealing truth
Good Shepard –> Protector who loves and cares
Resurrection and life –> Conqueror of death, gives us life
Vine –> Source of fruitfulness
These images of Jesus, I hope the teens will recall and hold close.
One particular discussion from our group is called to my mind, which was interesting. In John 15:18-19 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own.
The world hates Jesus, and those who follow Jesus used to be with the world but now loves Jesus. But ‘hate’ is a strong word.
“I’m sure many non-Christians don’t actually hate Jesus rather just haven’t given much thought about him.” Said one of the girls.
Then my room group leader spoke up and described an analogy. If every day of the week, our leader would do everything lovingly for one particular girl in the group. The leader would put all her attention on the girl and everyday do everything she can to show care and give gifts, the girl wouldn’t show much appreciation. Then on the last day, the camp goes kayaking and the girl falls off the boat and can’t swim. The leader jumps in and saves the girl but instead almost drowned. The leader was brought back up and resuscitated. However, the girl still does not show any acknowledgement or appreciation of the leader.
Our room group leader asked our group how would one feel about the situation? Some of the girls replied ‘It’s very rude’ or ‘unappreciative’. I thought that must have burned!
However this is Jesus, who went through humiliation and jeering, then dragging a massive wooden plank that we can’t even imagine the weight with thorns on his head to die nailed down to a cross for the entire world. God who made the whole universe, science, nature, animals, for us to have authority over and responsibility to care and even explore this wonderful world! Who forgave over and over again the Israelites who turned their back on him for idols and now brings mercy because of the cross for all – past present and future!
But yeah, this I must say has been the highlight of my summer!