- 1st National Youth Camp - Philippines - December 2014

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The 1st National Youth Camp was a huge success. It left no one who came unfulfilled for it was an event filled with many great memories. The four-day event seems to be too short as the participants were hesitant to part ways on the last day. A total of 61 campers participated including youths from Yahweh's Assemby in Yahshua, Yahweh’s Restoration Ministry (YRM), Congregation of Yahweh (CoY), and Assembly of Yahweh in Yahshua Messianic Hebraism.

The 1st National Youth Camp was held at Almendras Camp, Matti, Digos City. It started on December 25 and ended on December 28, 2014. Campers arrived the day before and departed the day after. With this schedule, we had the Sabbath on the third day of our activities. We had a combined Sabbath service with the Digos City congregation at the campsite, which was really special for the campers and the brethren.

It was a challenge to come up with a theme for the 1st National Youth Camp because of its great influence on the camp. I would say that the camp theme plays a vital role on how the camp is directed. After many nights of meditation and collecting ideas, I came up with the theme “Youth with a Passion for Yahshua”. This theme seeks to impress in the minds of our campers and even the speakers the importance of making Yahshua our TOP priority. We want to inculcate in the hearts of the youth that having a passion for Yahshua has a great impact both in this life and for the life to come in Yahweh’s Kingdom.

During the planning stage for this Youth Camp, I had some apprehensions in hosting this event. First, we have never done it before and I don’t have any idea what to do. Second, we only have a little more than one month to prepare, and third, on the financial aspect. Considering the financial condition of majority of the youth, we only charged each participant $5 (200 pesos) with free food and accommodation for the entire duration of the Youth Camp. But Almighty Yahweh is truly bigger than our needs and He has demonstrated that whatever door He opens, no one can shut. This 1st National Youth Camp would not have been possible without the people Yahweh has used to financially support this event. We are also very grateful for the support of YAIY USA. There is no doubt that Yahweh will provide and He will never fail us only if we trust and have faith in Him.

The camp was packed with many fun-filled and worthwhile activities. These activities aim to develop each camper holistically – from a mental, emotional, social, and spiritual standpoint. We start the day with a dawn worship at 5am filled with high praise and uplifting messages from selected speakers followed by morning workout and breakfast.

The following were the activities we had during camp:
1. Lectures/Preaching on the topic: The Purpose of Life, The Role of Youth in the Assembly, Character & Personality Development, Leadership, and Sermon Preparation. The messages during dawn and Sabbath worship centered on the theme: “Youth with a Passion for Yahshua”. The speakers were from YRM, CoY, and majority from YAIY.
2. Team Building Activities – These were special activities aim to build team work and camaraderie among campers.

3. Evangelism – Participants distributed tracts and learned about outreach and mission opportunities.
4. Feeding Program for Children – Campers fed 35 disadvantaged children from nearby barrio. Campers learned the value of sharing, giving and helping. They taught the children the lesson of kindness, sharing, giving, and socialization. After the feeding program, the children were afforded film showing.

5. Cooking and Budgeting – Participants were grouped into 4 and each group has a facilitator and assistant facilitator. They were given a daily budget for food and to cook their meals. This has presented an additional challenge which the campers pleasantly enjoyed.

6. Bible Quiz, Bible Telephone, Bible Drill, Preaching Contest, and Singing Contest – Participants honed their talents and enjoyed the Bible Games.

7. Grand Socials and Awards Night – This was one of the highlights of the camp as each camper and facilitator had the chance to showcase their talents. Some had song numbers, interpretative dances, comical skits and more. It was also the giving of prizes to the winners in the Bible games, preaching and singing contest, and group awards.

I marveled at the love and dedication shown by the host assembly-YAIY Digos, led by Elder Efren Villamor and Sister Edith Villamor, and the facilitators with special mention to the Youth for Yahshua president, Mark Louie Dimaisip. They made great sacrifices to attend this camp and work hard for the success of the event. Thanks also to everyone who prayed for the success and for the constant support in other ways.

Overall we couldn't be happier with the outcomes with all participants truly engaging in every session, responding well to the educational and spiritual components and above all else committing to working with the youths from other congregations and to making a valuable contribution to their activities. The testimonies of the participants in this Youth Camp were uplifting and encouraging.

The camp has its unique way to bond the participants together. The participants arrived as strangers or friends in camp, but departed as family. There were tears among the participants, but I guess the tears were testimonies of how the camp could really touch the campers’ lives. Truly, saying goodbye is the sweetest sorrow because we know that in the future, we will see each other again, if not in this lifetime, in Yahweh’s Kingdom.

It was a joy to see so many campers flourishing in a loving environment. The excitement and positive experience of this year’s camp has many making plans to attend next year.

Thank you so much for your prayers, and to Abba YAHWEH be the glory!

With love in the service of Yahshua,
Elder Eddie Tadea
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