Namibia Easter Camp

Easter weekend in Popa Falls, Namibia was amazing! We took almost fifty youth on the long, hard road trip which began Friday morning at 5:30am. After a few delays, we made it to Popa Falls that afternoon. We set up tents and got a look at our living conditions for the next few days. Let's just say we were certainly not set up in a fancy resort. However, the area was absolutely beautiful! The church is right across from the Delta and everything is bright green from all the recent rains. The people of Namibia are just as precious as the people of Botswana. Like other villages I've visited, the local children were completely fascinated with our arrival and were constant spectators at our campsite and worship services. They especially loved watching the competition time we had for the teens. They, along with the adults, were full of hugs, smiles, and warm greetings for our group.

The camp's title was "Change Agents, Camp 28:1820" and it was focused on Matthew 28:18-20 and Jesus's command to "Go and make disciples of all nations..." We began with an evening session on Friday with Gary talking to the youth about "The Great Commission". Saturday morning I taught a session on "The Missionary Heart of God". It was wonderful to talk to the kids about a topic that is so close to my heart. Immediately after the talk and prayer time, the kids were divided up and sent out. They travelled in groups of 4-5 to go hut-to-hut to pray for people, share the gospel with them, and invite them to come see "The Passion of the Christ" that night at the church. The outreach was wonderfully successful! People were very friendly and open with the kids, listening intently to them share about God's love and how He has worked in their lives personally. A few made decisions and commitments of their own, with one woman even going straight to the church after praying with her group and committing her life to Christ. The youth were touched deeply with this experience and it was incredible to see them go out of their comfort zones as they shared the gospel with the people of Popa Falls.

Saturday afternoon was full of fun group competitions and lots of laughter. Then on Saturday night, we set up "The Passion of the Christ" on a large screen in front of the church. Many, many people came to watch the true meaning of Easter play out on the screen. Amazingly, although the movie was used as an outreach tool for the community, I think the youth were equally affected by watching it and being reminded of all that Jesus went through, especially as they were there in Namibia to share this with other people. It really added meaning and purpose to what they were doing.

Sunday was another full day. We had a beautiful Easter service with worship time like I've never experienced. Everyone should attend at least one African rural church service in their life. Wow! The singing, dancing, and overall joy in that place was amazing! I wish I had a strong enough internet connection to upload videos so that you could see it also!

After the service, the kids stayed busy doing a biblical scavenger hunt that Maureen put together, having to search the scriptures for answers and recreate scenes from the Bible to take pictures of. Everyone involved had a blast! We ended the day with an "off the hook" (as Gary would say) praise and worship service with just the youth. It was such a night of celebration! I am sure that people all over Namibia could hear the praises coming from that tiny church that night. I loved it! Even more than that, I loved the testimony time where the kids told what God had been doing in their hearts during the camp. So many kids were affected in huge ways and it was wonderful to hear them share so passionately what God is doing in their hearts.

I am incredibly thankful to have had the chance to experience this camp. Although I am not naturally a camper-type person, I am proud of myself for enduring mostly joyfully and allowing God to continue to stretch me in new ways. I also really enjoyed the fellowship time with the other leaders, and of course with the people of Namibia. It was a long, hard journey back home (14 hours in the car!) with setback after setback, including two flat tires along the way and being squished in the back seat of a car with three other people in a space meant for only two. After arriving home, though, and settling in, I looked at pictures and watched the video and just thanked God for providing such incredible experiences with Him. I am so excited at what He is doing in the youth here and look forward to all that is still to come!

Here are a few pictures from this weekend. You can find all the rest of them in the picasa web album. Also you can go here to read Maureen's account of the weekend.
A few of the local kids who came to greet us.
The Village Church of Popa Falls
The Okavango Delta
Ministry in the community
Three-legged race competition
Youth praise and worship night
Hanging out with some of the local kiddos
With Blessing, Pastor Kelvin's son
Heading home

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