Fall youth camps

Here are reports on GCI youth camps recently held in Mexico and Oklahoma.

Mexico

This report is from GCI Generations Ministries national coordinator Anthony Mullins, who with his wife Elizabeth visited GCI’s youth camp in Mexico to assist in equipping camp leaders.

mx camp3 baptismWhat an inspiring time my wife Elizabeth and I recently had with 35 brothers and sisters (pictured below) at the annual GCI Mexico camp near Monterrey! We witnessed four young adults (Jose Louis Lujano, Naoko Gonzalez, Anahi Tabares and Daniel Garcia) step up and share the gospel through the chapel messages using GenMin curriculum; we shared the joy when Daniel Garcia, an emerging leader, was baptized under a magnificent waterfall (see picture at right), and we rejoiced to see three sisters from the outreach mission in Guadalajara blossom with bright smiles as they felt the inclusion of the entire group! There were many beautiful stories to behold, and it was encouraging to see new leaders being developed.

Mexico camp Hayde Romo, Elizabeth, Anthony, Samuel Mercado and Natanael CruzDuring sessions I facilitated with camp leaders, we imagined the future possibilities together through “What If?” questions. What if they planted multiple camps throughout Mexico? What if the young adult leaders met more than once a year, and invited GCI pastors to discuss how they can intentionally be on mission in their communities? What if this national camp became an outreach mission instead of exclusively serving GCI kids? Mexican camp leaders Samuel & Hayde Mercado and pastor Natanael Cruz (pictured with me and my wife Elizabeth in the picture at right) are planning to strategize in the upcoming year about how to make the camp more missional and outward in its focus.

mx camp2

Oklahoma

This report is from Joe Brannen, one of the leaders of CrossWalk—the Generations Ministries camp held near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Hunger gamesWe conducted our 26th session of CrossWalk in November with 33 senior campers, 30 junior campers, 9 mini campers and 55 staff members. There were 13 new campers and 4 new staff. Eight campers were unchurched.

Our theme, Hunger Games, was based on the movie series with the same name. As campers arrived Friday afternoon they were greeted by costumed staff members who set the theme by inviting everyone to share in games that helped them feel included. Then campers were “reaped” into eight “districts” to train for upcoming events related to the “economy” designated for each district.

Saturday began with private devotions, chapel and activities, followed in the afternoon with Hunger Games. The games began as each district raced to retrieve a bag filled with assignments for 13 activities that would challenge them physically and mentally. Most importantly, the activities brought unity to each district—it was amazing to see how they pulled together!

That night there was a banquet followed by a time of powerful, Spirit-filled worship led by the CrossWalk praise band made up of young adults. Following worship, campers gathered for a social in the dining hall, which was beautifully decorated in the camp theme.

CrossWalk was a wonderful example of God’s inclusive love—a message that was emphasized in camp chapels and other gatherings. We were powerfully reminded that God, in his grace, includes us all—in Christ, all are loved, forgiven and accepted. Chapel speakers used the Hunger Games theme to expose lies to the contrary.