So this year I went to Soul Survivor with the youth group of my church, Bethel Community Church.
It has now been two years that I am a youth leader at my local church. This was never something that I had planned. I joined the church in 2013 after I had some troubles with a boy (long sad story). One of my good friends used to go there and recommended it to me. I did not go to church for more that 4 years (once again another sad long story). So coming to Bethel, I had many reservations, I just wanted to hear the sermons at the time, was not really planning on staying long, talk or fellowshipping with others Christians.
But I ended up really enjoying the sermons and decided to stay. One day, I prayed God if there was something I was supposed to do in the church, in term of serving. At first, I though about joining the worship team because I enjoy singing and not to brag I am quite good at it. So like a good Christian, I prayed about it. Then one Sunday, I was approached by a member of the welcome team who encouraged me to help and volunteer at the Youth Group. I was very reluctant because I remember what I was like as a teenager and I was just a horrible human being. I was so prejudiced against young people; I did not want to be around them. But since I had prayed God, I felt compelled to go to one meeting to see how it was. One of the major things that I learned about my Christian journey is that God likes to take me out of my comfort zone and push me to take risks.
It has now been two years and I am officially part of the leadership team and this year we decided to bring the youth camping for five days at Soul Survivor in Somerset. There is the weird part; I am not one who ever thought she will be camping. To be honest I am still not a great fan of it. I do not mind doing outdoor activities as long as I can go back to my bed at the end of the day. Sleeping in a tent is not on my bucket list. If I had to tell the truth, the first night was just horrible. The airbed I had deflated and I was literally sleeping on the floor while it was absolutely freezing outside. In addition the mother of all heat wave decided to fall upon us; so staying in tent was just insufferable.
But although the living conditions were not my favourite thing, the actual festival was quite an enjoyable experience. We attended really challenging sermons and incredible worship sessions in a big tent. There were several activities and seminars throughout the day and we all bonded as a group like a little family creating memories that I know we will cherish forever. We grew closer to each other and to God. It was even decided that we would go back next year.
On my part, God taught quite some vital lessons. The principal one was that some elements of Christianity would be different from one person to another. The message is the same: we serve the Almighty God, Yahweh, who sent his son Jesus to die as a sacrifice to redeem our sinful souls. Jesus died for us and rose again. He promised to come again and left his Holy Spirit to guide us in our journey to love God and love others while being continually regenerated. This is the core message from the Bible. However I got reminded that there are some stages and levels and therefore everybody walk a different journey. Although there are similarities and we can even shares similar experiences, we are all different people. Different personalities, backgrounds, with different gifts. We even react to the Spirit differently. Throughout the Bible, there are all types of people: quiet, stubborn, strong, creative, passionate, small etc…God uses them all in their different personalities. So there are different journeys and paths, which shows even more how much our God is amazing. We are not clones and we are not robots. We are imperfect people drawn by redemption by the grace in his eyes.
The verse that stuck with me, was from the first sermon. It was Zephaniah 3:17:
‘For the Lord your God has arrived to live among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will rejoice over you with great gladness. With his love, He will calm your fears. He will exult over you by singing a happy song.’ (NLT)
I love that God can and will quiet me with his love. That is one beautiful hope.