"Start children off in the way they should go"
I've had some time to catch up on some sleep after a busy two weeks. I spent a week serving at Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Linstead Baptist Church and a week serving as a camp counsellor at Junior Camp.
At VBS, there were many young people, up to the age of 19, who came from the community into church and the numbers grew daily. The groups were split according to age. I taught the teenagers with some of the other young people. We explored salvation, forgiveness, living for God and sharing the light. The week really emphasised to me why we must continue teaching, loving and praying for our young people. There are all sorts of things that are out there, available and easily accessible to them, which aren’t always teaching the right things. VBS has its challenges, but many Baptist churches across Jamaica hold them every summer, opening their doors to all young people despite their upbringing or past. Nothing stops the leaders, whether they have enough helpers to teach or not. Spaces are provided. Some youth come from broken homes, some just need some space, some just need a place where they can chill and not have to worry about anything troubling them. The church provides those spaces and has the resources. Are we doing all we can to help to build up, to grow and to nurture the future of tomorrow? Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6).
The next week, over 80 9-12 year olds across the island made their way to the Jamaica Baptist Union (JBU) Nutshell Conference Centre in Duncans, Trelawny for Junior Camp. The theme was #TeamChrist - learning, loving, linking, leaning and living. Many of the kids were filled with excitement as they scurried around, trying to find out where everyone was from, who they would be sharing rooms with, and who their counsellors would be. Counsellors were addressed as either ‘Aunty’ or ‘Uncle,’ and were each assigned with a group of campers that they would share a room with and look after. Each day was jam-packed with activities. There were early mornings, starting with 5am staff meetings (which were so easy to get up for) and finishing around 10pm each night. During the week, we had early morning devotions followed by an exercise session, a sports day, a beach trip, bible studies, cheerleading competition, team sports amongst various other things. To top the week off, a banquet was held to celebrate the week and with a special graduation segment for those aged 12 who would be moving onto Intermediate Camp for 13-16 year olds next year. A service was held towards the end of the week, where many young people gave their lives to Christ, with some choosing to get baptised when they returned home to their churches. It was so beautiful to see, children so young who had a revelation of who God was and making a decision for themselves to follow him – just amazing. There were hugs and tears all around.
Those two weeks, I would say were probably the most tiring in my time here so far. But it was soooo worth it. So so worth it. Getting to know the young people and spending time with them in both weeks meant the most to me. The laughs, the difficult times and the good times all helped to make it an experience to remember. I will never forget them.
Now to enjoying my final week here, soaking up some sunshine and chilling!
Until next time...