This time 30 delightful ladies gathered at the warmly welcoming home of Billie Connell for New Life Church’s Lunch Bunch on April 9. We spread throughout the living and dining area and outside on the patio. Fellowship was lively and fun. Interestingly and unplanned, several ladies brought various scrumptious rice casseroles while others rounded out the feast with salads, vegetable dishes, breads and mouth-watering desserts.
Do you remember summer camp? Something to do during the time school was out; a chance to meet other teens and have cool, out-of-the-ordinary experiences?
Our New Life Church Lunch Bunch program introduced us to the “wife-half” of youth ministers for those in 6th to 12th grade, Wendy Callen, and for 5th and 6th Graders, Marli Creeach, and three remarkable teen girls, Stephanie Johnson, Christina Flook and Katherine Fargo, who shared their enthusiasm and great memories of life-changing, summer experiences at “Youth for the Nations” camp (YFN) on the campus of Christ for the Nations in Dallas.
Each year several churches, including New Life Church, send their youth for a powerful, exciting, fun week during which they enjoy a great week of singing, studying and playing games together. All activity is targeted on building teens’ faith and personal and also in educating them regarding world conditions and how their lives can have an impact. Teens are grouped in teams and then given a country for their team’s name, such as “Team Portugal” or “Team Kuwait.” During the week each team studies its country: its map, its topography, demographics, history, current conditions there and what efforts are being made to share the Gospel. As teams compete during games they hope to hear their country named as winner.
The teen girls at our luncheon shared how they also personally benefitted from going to camp. Two recalled the relief they experienced in becoming free of debilitating depression. One experienced restoration to health from serious disease. The girls said the camp not only focused on the mission emphasis, but also during the whole week they were helped to develop a better self-image, to deal with personal issues that had plagued them and to realize that they had a true purpose for being alive. One girl realized her life’s calling, what God put her on earth to accomplish. Apparently many of the young people had similar experiences.
As we listened we were impressed with the realization that we had an awesome opportunity to help sponsor a teen who could not have this great experience without us. We could send a high school teen to YFN-Dallas or allow a 5th or 6th grader to enjoy tent-camping at Palo Duro Canyon. Youth Minister Judy Fairchild also offered us the fun of helping with Vacation Bible School at our New Life Church-north campus in Sanger.