Unite's Dream Team supports campers at Newday
7th August 2017
Alison Roberts reports
It's very easy to succumb to the pressure of thinking that we have to have large numbers of young people to make anything "worth doing". Even this week at Newday someone asked "What is the lowest number of people you would do this for?"
This year was our smallest camp in the 9 years of attending Newday. As usual we teamed up with Identity Youth Project and took 7 young people under 18 plus 8 delegates who are over 18. Sadly we had to say goodbye to Julyan on Tuesday as she felt unwell so there were 18 of us camping. Many arrived having had difficult situations to deal with since we were all together last Newday; or with burdens of low self-worth and guilt for things that had been spoken over them for months by the enemy via other people and had resulted in a real sense of being unfulfilled and doubting who we are in Christ
As we were planning this year, the overwhelming expectation was that God in His infinite kindness was going to bless these young people with a knowledge deep in their "core" of His love for them and to bring freedom from their burdens of unworthiness and religiosity. For those of you who attended the prayer meetings back here in Great Yarmouth you will know that this was the crux of our prayer requests from the site during the week. Thank you for standing with us during the week
We started on Sunday with the "Dream Team" equipped with site plans and energy, erecting 6 tents and setting up the marquee as a kitchen/ dining/socialising area. Huge thanks to Ben Pillar for stepping in to help, with his vast camping experience! Pearl Breeze (Ali's mum) provided an exquisite 3-course meal for sustenance and by the time it got dark we were ready and excited to welcome the young people on the Monday
Everyone arrived safely and got stuck into the new regime of a more laid back and all-inclusive campsite - where all-inclusive means that everyone is included in ALL the washing up (no rotas!) and in the food prep wherever necessary. Sadly our faithful and wonderful chef of the last 8 years, Lynda Lee, was unable to camp with us this year (the first year she has missed!) due to family commitments but she bravely came along as a day visitor to help out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She was sorely missed but our trusty trustee, Matt Woollard-Kingston, and his wife Amelie, did a sterling job in feeding the 18 of us, as well as Matt filling his usual role as site manager! Our prayer requests included energy and patience, grace in our conversations, and joy in our hearts and (as usual) God provided everything we needed
The weather was pretty changeable this year but again, in His infinite love and kindness God said "yes" to our prayers for protection from the storms. We are also grateful to PartyOn Marquees of Acle, for their provision for a sturdy and weatherproof marquee that withstood the 35-40 mph winds
The week was filled with fun activities provided by Newday and some really nspiring speakers for the week. Joel Virgo led the morning sessions on the book of Galatians and the evening sessions were led by Joe Macnamara (our freedom in Christ); Andrew Wilson (Isaiah 52), Francis Chan (the majesty of God), Livvy Gibbs (Escape or Infiltrate) and Tope Koleoso (being Fearless). They were all amazing talks and are available on Soundcloud if you'd like to listen
Needless to say, the Holy Spirit was very much a work in the hearts of us all and here are some of the comments from the young people at our "Prayer 'n' Share" time in our marquee after breakfast:
"I am now confident in who I am and won't shy away from the darkness but will stand in Jesus and be different from the people around me"
"After listening to Francis Chan talk about God on Wednesday night I was afraid of Him but this morning at the talk on Galatians I understood how I can love Him as a father and fear Him at the same time"
"It always felt to me that Christians are in the minority and a bit like we should be pitied because so often we're made fun of, but after Livvy's talk last night I know that's not true - I can still be different and stand confident in our differences from the world"
"I came to Newday really struggling to like myself but I am learning this week how to see myself as He sees me and how proud He is of me"
"God spoke specifically to me about something last night - in a way I was a bit gutted because now I have to do something about it! But I'm pleased really because it was so random and not what I'm comfortable with, that I'm confident it was Him speaking and that if I rely totally on Him, He will give me everything I need to do it"
"Last year at Newday was when I became a Christian, but since then it's been really hard and has sort of faded. But this year has really uplifted me and made me know that it's for real and for all the time, not just for the week we're at Newday"
"At Stand this year, we did a study on Philippians and this week I've been reminded of these verses, Phil 2 v 14-16
"Do everything without grumbling or arguing so that you become blameless and pure-children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life" I'm going to be fearless and shine like this - I've had a revelation of how 'OK' that is for me"
?"Psalm 91 v 4 has been shared this week about 5 times from different places "He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." I have been really struggling with life recently for a number of reasons but I now know that He will cover me with his feathers and I will find refuge under His wings
Since Livvy's talk I have been evaluating if I am fearless. I don't think I am but I am going to be from now on!"
"I have been really cautious about trusting God lately but in the session Psalm 18 v 31 really spoke to me about who/what is my rock "Who is God besides the Lord and who is the Rock except our God?"
"I have been fearful but now I can be fearless because "I am a child of God" from the song "No longer slaves" has shown me my identity; NOT what anyone else says about me"
(We listened to a short Youtube clip as part of our morning reflections; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rf8b7Psa64)
"The phrase "because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you" was repeated in the sessions today and it has really stuck with me after we also heard it in our Prayer 'n' Share times this week"
"The "How can we be Christians in a culture obsessed with sex" session was really helpful to me - we have to put a flag in the ground and not go past it. So what, if people laugh at me, God is pleased when I am a fearless warrior"
"The talks on Galatians have shown me that we are actually free in Christ - there is no condemnation"
"The talk last night about Daniel's friends being in the fire made me think "Oh no I've got to struggle through the fire" but then the song No Longer Slaves has the words "You split the sea so I could walk right through it......." and I knew then that I just need to GO and keep our eyes fixed on the truth like they did in the red sea and not focus on the "fire"
Three people from our site were healed on the Thursday evening when we were prayed or in the big top: One of us has had tenosynovitis in her wrist for years but is now 70% free of pain; a person who had fallen down stairs a few days before coming on camp had extreme pain when sitting down but now is completely pain free; one of the delegates has had a very painful hip condition for many years but after being prayed for now has no more pain and Ali's hand was extremely painful and swollen for the whole week until the prayer for healing, when God healed her enough to continue the week with significantly reduced swelling and pain
In addition to all that God has shown them through the sessions, the one-to-one conversations back at the marquee base camp have also enabled them to be honest and open about their struggles and pray through them on an individual level, bring freedom and breaking the chains of fear, unforgiveness, resentment and hurts. So, after seeing how our amazing, infinitely unchangeable, stunning God is working in the hearts of the young people, how He is strengthening them, equipping them, loving and blessing them, the answer to the question "What is the lowest number of people you would do this for?" is probably 1!
Thank you to everyone who supported us financially and prayerfully, who lent us equipment and have donated tents over the years. Thanks also to Ruth and Dan Witheridge for their revitalising energy on the last day as they came over to Norwich to help pack down the tents/site and also unloaded the van back at Yarmouth. Please continue to pray for those who were there - that they will continue in the closeness of their relationship with the Father and will get plugged into groups and opportunities to go deeper into Him with other Christians
2 Chronicles 7:14 says ‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land’
The trustees would love to pray with you at Great Yarmouth Charter Academy (previously Great Yarmouth High School) as part of our commitment to #pray365 on Thursday 10th August from 6pm - 7pm not 6 - 8pm as previously advertised. Sorry for any inconvenience
Our prayers at McDonalds on Tuesday 8th 7.30 - 8.30pm will be thanking God for His power and wonder as well as praying for the youth of the town and those in your churches. Come and join us - it's open to the whole family of God, not just those connected with Unite