By Jalyn Bachoco, Krystle Fabales, and Bella Nunez
The mighty warrior Joshua, whose exploits in God continue to shine today, began his humble training as a youth. Just like him, the present generation of young warriors are eager to pledge their faithful devotion, active obedience, and unwavering commitment to the call of Almighty God. Gone are the days of folly, wander, and backsliding. Today’s end-time warriors seize their destiny as their mouths confess, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord…today!”
About 180 of these ready and passionate end-time youthful volunteers in Western Visayas gathered last April 11-13 at Shamrock Beach Resort, Guimbal, Iloilo for the Fourth Annual Summer Youth Camp with the theme,“Restore”.
Indignant with the enemy’s attack of lukewarm love in the church, the youth are all ears to the message “Follow Jesus” delivered on the first day of the camp by Rev. Golda Surat. The first thing that God wants restored is love throbbing deep within the willing, devoted, and humble hearts of His redeemed children.
The first day of restoration continued to penetrate deep as Rev. Bernard de Jesus encouraged the campers to allow God to rebuild their self-image. Apostle Paul admonished young Timothy not to pity or put himself down, but to rise as a good example in thoughts and deeds to all. Likewise, Pastor Bernard reminded everyone that position and possession are not God’s basis in choosing his kings like David and warriors like Joshua. “The people in the margins are the ones that create this kingdom movement”, Pastor Bernard said.
Finally, the evening service led by Rev. Virgilio Fabales ushered in restoration of relationships as the Holy Spirit stirred the hearts of the youth to pray for their pastors who have faithfully given their lives as God’s shepherds to the young flock.
The Shamrock resort function hall buzzed early on the second day as everyone gathered for worship and prayer. In this morning service, the Holy Spirit refreshed and quieted everyone with His love as Reverend Roseniel Rivera spoke about His eternal affection to His people.
In the second session, Pastor Bernard talked about “The Pain Continuum” where he emphasized how Jesus radically embraced His pain that resulted to the healing and redemption of the whole world. As people living in this sinful world, the youth are no strangers to pain. However, God restores emotional health to His children that their spiritual eyes can see pain in new perspective. Pastor Bernard stressed the example of Nehemiah, who through his pain over the desolation of Jerusalem, led him to his God-given destiny of leading the rebuilding of Jerusalem. Also through pain, God sows the seeds of authenticity in us. The more authentic we become, the more people can connect with us, and the more we connect with people, the more God can use us, Pastor Bernard said.
Aside from restoring emotional health, God has also transcended time to prepare our future as He restores our destiny that the enemy tried so hard to steal. Rev. Honorio Bachoco called the example of the young Joseph whom God purposed to be a great ruler despite his slavery in the prison. Because he trusted God despite the delays and seemingly dead ends in his life, God vindicated him beyond what he or his family could imagine.
After a two-day feasting on the nourishing Word of God, the young people continued to hunger for more. On the third and last day of the camp, everybody woke up with great expectation upon the Lord. They started early with dawn prayer followed by the morning service highlighting Psalm 51 led by Rev. Myrna Pacheco. She illustrated the message through a “key” which opens doors of restorations in our lives. She left the listeners with a challenge saying, “This revival you have experienced needs to be sealed…you hold the key.” The listeners responded with overflowing tears during altar call.
Just like the previous years’ JECPP annual youth conferences, this year’s camp did not disappoint young people who kept coming back year after year to receive much from the Lord. Aside from the life-changing messages, the three-day camp unfolded with delightful activities such as outdoor games, music training, swimming, lunch buffet on the second day, drama contest, and the very spirited battle of the band.
Ten young people were water baptized during the camp, and four pastors were installed as License Ministers and two pastors as Ordained Ministers during the installation and ordination service on the last night of the camp.
On the final night gathering, JECPP Chair and Western Visayas Regional Director Rev. Benjamin Chavez recapped the messages and gave direction to the young people who were about to go back to their homes. From the book of Joshua 1:6-9, he elaborated Joshua’s three secrets for victory. These are, first, he recognized God’s call; second, he received God’s challenge, and third, He respected God’s command. During altar call as all the ministers laid their hands to the youth, they spoke in tongues as the Holy Spirit mightily poured out the Joshua anointing.