By: Deljane Balagtas

Summer camp is important because it offers a structured opportunity for young people to grow and become independent while socializing, making new friends and even learning new skills. Above all, it is a unique venue to gather the youth and teach them about God. For this reason, on its fifth year as a church, EFC-Mambayaan held its first NexGen Campfire on April 25-26, 2019 at Charleslotte Beach Resort in Kauswagan, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental with the theme “Remember Your Creator” in line with JCEPP’s theme “Moving Forward in Unity”.

More than 40 excited young people from various EFC Churches in Northern Mindanao Section registered for the event. After the orientation and presentation of House Rules, the participants were divided into different groups for the “getting-to-know-you” time. The groups then were given their first challenging activity: The cooking of their evening meal. Each group was given kitchen tools and ingredients for their meal preparations. This activity opened communication and encouraged the delegates to actively participate and engage in building friendships towards their fellow campers. The venue was filled with laughter and meaningful discussions as they gave their best in cooking and preparing their meal. Everyone enjoyed the results of their labor as they gathered around the bonfire during dinner time.

After the delicious meal, the evening service starts right away. A dance number followed by a short video clip welcomed all the delegates. It went on in an evening of worship led by an All-Girl Youth Worship Team of EFC-Mambayaan followed by the sermon of Ptr. Roberto Padinit of EFC-CDO. Ptr. Padinit shared a heart-warming message taken from Luke 24:32, he gave a three-point message on how to set our hearts on fire again. He stated his first point on “Putting Jesus at the Center”. He emphasized on the need of putting Jesus at the center of every young people’s lives. He went on to his second point on “Displace and Replace”. He stressed that in every individual’s life there is something displaced that must be replaced. He pointed out that each one must displace and replace the old self and put on the new self that is pleasing in God’s sight. Lastly, he urged the delegates to “Soak in Jesus” the same way in his illustration on a 20-peso bill soaked in water and alcohol which he later attempted to burn. He concluded that we cannot burn brightly in this world without getting soaked first in Jesus Christ.

After the encouraging message was a video drama presentation followed by a dance presentation from EFC-Mambayaan Youth Squad. This was immediately followed by the bonfire sharing per group about the theme “Remembering Our Creator”. In this activity, each group discussed the hindrances on remembering God; how to improve personal recollections on the goodness of God; and the occasions young people forget God. The bonfire started at 9:30 in the evening and ended at 2:00 in the morning with coffee breaks. Some delegates slept right after the activity while many took advantage of the bonfire experience to have fellowship with young people from other churches, by sharing their testimonies of faith, others enjoyed jamming on acoustic guitar.
Early the next morning at 6:00, all the delegates were called for the morning devotion. The devotion started with a worship time followed by an exhortation on “Remember Your Creator” by Ptr. Jeff Ouano. He showcased the different young Bible characters who were bold in following God and had made a huge difference during their time. Prominent people in the Bible like Daniel, Mary, Josiah, Timothy and many others were highlighted to encourage the young people to stand up for Christ the same way these young heroes in the Bible did. After the sermon, breakfast was served, and home-grown games were played to end the event. The campfire was simple yet heart-warming to those who came.

The delegates went home with hearts burning for Jesus. EFC-Mambayaan greatly appreciates Rev. Andrew Kwong and Rev. Rowena Kwong for their prayers and support for the Young People’s camp fire.