Came back from FOCUS church camp 2004 yesterday afternoon, and have to unwillingly face the reality this morning to come back to work. Ready or not, my mind is still unsettled. Here I am, trying to sort out bits and pieces of this year's church camp.
But don't expect photos in this blog entry, if you are only looking for something fun. It has been a great sunny weekend, and there were lots of memory that I would like to capture. I even brought my camera there, with battery cover fixed by two strong rubber band. But somehow I did not bother to take it out...
And I apologise for the scattered form.
Theme for this year's church camp is "Follow Him", where we looked at the topic of what it means to follow Jesus. Bible studies were centred around the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7, whereas the talks were looking at ideas in Colossians (image of God), Philippians (humility of Jesus), Hebrews (eternal high priest) and Matthew (cost in follow him). The topic was great and challenging, especially for us Christians who have struggles to deny ourselves to follow him daily. I think I understood heaps more about the Sermon on the Mount, after taking the group through the Bible studies and read Don Carson's commentary on these chapters. It has been a great weekend of study and challenges.
I don't usually sleep well in the conferences, and church camp this year is no exception. The room MBF guys had was actually not bad - only 9 of us sharing a room fit for 16. However in a large room with other guys, it plagues to have "noise" problem at night. Besides lying inside an uncomfortable sleeping bag, where you can choose between dehydration or mosquito bites, I also slept on the bunk right next to the major source of this noise, which has kept me on alert for a few hours on the first night. Fortunately Sam has been selling the ear plug at the camp, which I did not hesitate to get on the next day.
Music has been great... Merrill on the keys, Thomas on 6 string and Mun to keep the beat. And they have tried a few alternative styles on some old tunes. Camp song (Follow Him) is great as well (thanks again to the musicians). A bit different from our previous year productions. Nice melody, but a bit difficult for the congregation to sing (okay okay. I mean difficult for me).
I am sympathetic for Tim, who has been the target of making fun by Charles and Sam. Oh. Actually, I cannot sympathy for him as I was never in his shoes (hint: Jesus can sympathy for the humanity because ... according to Hebrews) :) I won't repeat all the jokes here but those whoever went to the church camp would get the idea. Even Joshua shook his head when he mentioned Tim one afternoon.
Yeee Haaa! Charles G. brought back the bush dance. Last time we had it was 3 years ago at Otford, when Lucy was still on MTS. And we used to have bush dance in the FOCUS church camp every year prior to 2001 since the Deer Park years. It is such a tradition of church camp, but it can only be exercised by an charismatic leader. We did not have bush dance for last two years as Lucy was study in Moore, but this year Charles took up the responsibility and that was indeed a rocking night we had!
I guess the biggest challenge this year comparing to 3 years ago was the size of the camp. We had to fit and coordinate 200 people in the hall, compare to 120 in 2001 (which was already difficult back in its days). Controlling the crowd of 200 to get them to move synchronously is no easy task, but nice work Charles has done. I think at the end, everyone has welcomed the "resurrection" of bush dance. Hopefully we will see it again next year.
Well, actually I did not participate for various reasons. But on the topic of bush dance, while everyone seems to be enjoying it, and on the next day Joshua preached that because of the freedom we have in Christ we can enjoy the fun of bush dance, there were still worries of stumbling other Christians, who might not share the same sense of freedom. I won't name names, but some might understand whom I am talking about. Paul's approach in 1 Corinthians is to be all things to all men, and he would not eat meat again if it would stumble another brother or sister. Shouldn't we then be extremely careful when we organise something like bush dance? I can just hope that everything is alright.
虎-克-船-長!!! 嘿咻! 嘿咻! 嘿咻! That is how Mandarin Bible Fellowship spent their fun time. That was a classic...
Instant noodles have always been hot selling items during church camp, and this year the noodles were just everywhere! Some people had it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner and for supper. Amazing. In my honest opinion, the camp food at Life Adventure Site is actually quite good, i.e. I had worse, and it is no where near un-swallow-able. In fact, I was pretty full most of the time due to excessive amount of eating. How often do you get meals that do not have "rice" in it (as an Asian, of course)? That alone excites me.
Last year in the church camp we had EP becoming a Christian, and this year we also had VC who prayed the prayer. At the same time, we are still working with TZ and Tina on their relationship with God. They understood the gospel, and they knew it is salvation by grace. They knew that it is faith alone, and you can learn all these from the Bible. But as two engineers, they want to be more convinced to make that jump. Please continue praying for them.
Finally, I understand that the FOCUS church camp would never be the same again, and even this year feels so much different for me already. It is very different to be an old person in FOCUS. I still remembered my first church camp 7 years ago in Merroo where there were only 50 of us attending. 21 that year, and we had great fun mocking Joshua by performing a parody of young Josh playing tennis with young Karen. Buddies back then - Vincent, Calvin, Cam, Perry - they have all left FOCUS to serve God else where. But you just cannot get the same dynamic now days, when you are gradually making your way to that big three-O. It is not just the age, but next year we will have another family member coming to church camp together. It would completely change what you can do in the church camp, as it is not hard to figure that out from the other young parents around - Hajime, Mun, Charles, etc.
... But life moves on. So should our ministry for His kingdom.