Sunday, December 21, 2014

Gauteng Youth Camp 2014

The youth camp, centered around the theme of the Kingdom, was a great success with 38 youth, 8 mentors and one baby (David Onwordi) attending. We all left eagerly anticipating the Kingdom of God on earth - and with very concrete kingdom visions to encourage us when life starts eroding our hope. We had youth and mentors from Kensington, Soweto, Yeoville, Aphiwe, Kempton Park, Boksburg, America, Australia, England and Isolation and their spirit was such that not one person felt excluded at any time. 
Besides the studies we also enjoyed a variety of indoor and outdoor games, swimming, hiking, treasure hunts, Hebrew dancing, praise sessions and a concert. The food was delicious and plentiful, the accommodation rustic, and the cold showers refreshing! I feel that this comment, overheard during the homeward journey, sums up how everyone felt at the end of the three days: "If camp was a boarding school, I would be so happy!"

Here are some photographs of the camp: 
One of the older youths main study sessions underway in the hall. Their studies were led by Michael Furstenburg, Josh Bullock (UK), and Solomon Onwordi.
The younger youth attended their main studies in the living room of the leaders' home. Their studies were led by Lilandi Furstenburg, Phoebe Nyria (Aus) & Michael Furstenburg. 
Besides the main study sessions we also split the group into 4 smaller groups for "mentor sessions" where they discussed more practical topics such as how to apologize correctly and how to properly and safely use social media. These sessions were also helpful for the leaders to pay more individual attention to each of the youth in their group and provide a safe space for more personal questions.  
Another of the "mentor sessions" underway. 
The afternoons were filled with lots of outdoor games - here they are playing a variation of dodgeball. 
Nothing was going to stop the kids from swimming! 
Tumi drying off after a dip in the pool.  
Another activity they all enjoyed was creating a handprint keepsake that we plan to send to a couple that were very influential in raising funds for the camp in Australia. Most of the kids commented on how they hadn't done anything like it since preschool! 
Following on a mentor session about how your words can both hurt or heal we had each attendee write their name on a page. During the rest of the camp everyone then wrote something positive about each other on their respective pages. The kids had fun writing on each others' pages and would often come and read what others had written for them. It was a very encouraging exercise that we will definitely repeat - next time we will have more durable cards and colorful pens! 
The girl in pink is Refilwe - it was her first time attending a youth camp. She is the granddaughter of the lady who runs the preschool at the Tswelopele Good News Center in Boksburg and has been attending Saturday Bible Club since it began in 2009.   
It was Chigozile's first youth camp too and he brought a delightfully playful spirit to all the activities. We look forward to seeing him more in the future! 
Beautiful sisters Nolwazi & Nobenguni (our youngest attendee at 10 years old, excluding baby David). 
The whole happy group! 
We are very thankful to our heavenly Father for so many prayers answered throughout the year - culminating in these beautifully encouraging three days where we were able to experience a little taste of the magic that will be eternity in the kingdom to come!
With love in Christ 
Michael & Lilandi Furstenburg & Hendri & Liezl Viljoen
For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. (Isa 55:12)