Exciting, blessed, encouraging, unbelievable, better-than-expected, great teaching, helpful seminars, awesome training and just so much fun. The Big Meet really was a joy to be a part of. It all felt a little like a wedding: extensive preparations and worries for months before, then the event passes in the blink of an eye. But it was all worth it and the great news is The Big Meet continues. Praise the LORD that we can still meet with Him after the camp! He Speaks to us through His Word, we continue to see and experience that He is good, even through life is not always easy and we can continue our “little meets” as we gather together as His local churches.
Personally, we found it so encouraging to see the unity of the teams from across denominations and churches working together with one common goal: Serving Jesus, pointing to Jesus, and listening to Jesus speak. It was also exciting to see teenagers engaging deeply, some for the first time, with the bible text: searching and working hard to understand the original meaning. The simple question: “Why did John write this, here, in this way?” unlocks so many treasures in God’s word.
We are so grateful for your prayerful support. Countless worries and prayers were answered in ways we couldn’t have imagined. Thank you, and may all the glory for the week go to God alone.
Andy & Zsofi Oatridge
Not only did believers from Britain partner with individual churches in Hungary this summer, but Christians from more than 14 communities across Hungary came together to plan, carry out and worship the LORD on The Big Meet 2019.
Unity was enjoyed that comes only from each person being the child of God, part of His family.
Vera from Biatorbágy reflected on why it was valuable bringing their teenagers to a joint camp: “It was a real 'out of the box’ experience for our young people, who’ve mostly grown up in the bubble of the Reformed church… They saw how others follow Christ in every day life, that it’s not just about being a sinner, or obeying the rules. They really liked meeting with and playing team sports with other kids… they experienced that being a Christian is a cool thing…” We praise the LORD that He gives life to those who believe and that many witnessed that this week.
Ildikó, from the Lutheran church in Orosháza, related how during the mixed discussion groups, “The young people could get to know others, and understand other ways of thinking…” We pray these young people would remember the wider family they are part of and grow to love their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Serving the local Hungarian church and the work they do with their young people is one goal of ACORNCAMPS’ work. So it was wonderful when one leader fed back that 2 girls from her discussion group “got very close to God, and decided to join our youth camp”. The prayer is that they will draw closer to God through their local church community.
It was a challenge bringing together leaders from so many different places, and we praise God for the friendships formed and strengthened over the week. One of the helpers on camp chatted with 2 older leaders and commented, “I was so encouraged by their love for and dedication to Jesus”. Another youth group leader articulated that “…being part of a team was very often a ‘forming’ experience, obviously we’re together much of the time, learning to get along with each other…”
Not only in a spiritual sense do we thank God for working, but practically too, as leaders frequently commented, “It was good to experience how others do things that are different to the way we usually do, we saw new ideas…”
"It was so good that the camp didn’t draw attention to the differences between us, but that the focus was the same God we share.” Viola, Külsõ Kelenföld
According to feedback, The Big Meet 2019 was a huge success! Not only was this so in the way that a huge selection of different program options were made available by the team, from sung worship times to swing dance, bath-bomb creation to rugby. A programme of seminars and training also provided the opportunity for everyone to think through different questions, ranging from the meaning of life, to what the bible says about dating, how to live well as a student, and how to evaluate your youth ministry. Questions about coming from a non-Christian background, living with suffering and what mission can look like were discussed in the cosy ‘After Hours’ evening slot, whilst others relaxed, played board games and had quality conversations during the evening Tea House events.
Here’s what participants said…
“There was a guy in our discussion group, who came openly
as an unbeliever. It was good to hear his brave questions of doubt, and
on the final morning he prayed with us.”
Levi, Hungarian Leader
Levente, 18 years old
Its not always easy being that bit set apart from the campers, when rather than throwing a squeaky chicken across a field in a game of ‘Messy Chicken Run’, your focus is on training the leaders on the camp. However we praise God for how He graciously used the work of Gareth and Claire Wroe in the training streams they ran for youth leaders and those interested to explore service in a youth context.
One Hungarian leader commented "The training they gave was the highlight of the week for me", another reflected on the helpfulness of listening to how other places do things in their youth ministry.
For others it was excellent hearing the practical method by which they could evaluate their work; for yet others it was challenging thinking through whether youth ministry is the right ‘fit’ for them as individuals.
One leader who visited the ‘Little Meat’ younger helpers training reflected on how valuable it was for them to have the opportunity to go right back to the basics: trust the Bible; stick with the church, prayer is essential. How often do they have the opportunity to evaluate what they value in their own context, struggle with or acknowledge aloud the difficulty of praying out loud when leading others? But in this safe context there was ample time to hear, discover, reflect and learn, and all to the glory of God. Thank the LORD for how He worked personally in individuals, and pray that God would grant wisdom to those present as they continue to live their lives with Christ at the centre in their own contexts.
Our Huge thanks to all of you involved in some way to make The Big Meet 2019 happen! Through prayer, giving of money, time or energy, practical support, enabling others to go, coming, doing countless jobs, hours of preparation beforehand, and much unseen involvement… We praise God for you!