Lutheran Winter Youth Camp Report

By the St. Paul’s (Fairland) Youth Group

What a time to be alive!

On Thursday the 13th of July, the St Paul’s (Fairland) youth embarked on a journey to the annual Winter Lutheran Youth Camp at Fort Mistake just outside Newcastle. It was a weekend to connect with friends, learn more of about our faith as well as have fun.

The camp was just that – FUN! On the day we arrived we were welcomed with big smiles and open hearts from the staff at Fort Mistake who ensured that we were well taken care of throughout the weekend. The warmest of welcomes were followed by an introductory session, after which we were divided into groups of 4. This was to build healthy competition and to encourage everyone to participate in group activities.

In this session, Pastor Martin Paul (Fairland) gave us a breakdown of what the theme of the weekend is all about, namely “The building blocks of faith.” We learnt about the Trinity and its meaning – one God in three persons. Pastor Martin led the next session with a devotion. Right afterwards, together with the other youth members from Diepkloof and Kagiso (LCSA, Jhb), we formed an amalgamation in order to sing together as a choir. We learnt three new hymns, ‘Guide me, O thou great Redeemer’, ‘Seek ye first’ and a beautiful traditional hymn called ‘Ukuthula’. All the melodic voices of the youth came alive. Choir practice was followed by delicious dinner.

After a long day of travelling, all youth members were given the opportunity to relax and interact with each other. The hosts came up with an activity similar to ‘Minute to Win It’. It was a joyous occasion with many people challenging themselves to do something out of their comfort zones. We headed off to bed right afterwards because we were all exhausted from the day.

On Friday, we woke up bright and early for breakfast at 7am. Some woke up earlier than others but nonetheless, we were all there and ready to conquer the day. After breakfast we began with morning devotion and after that we practiced our three beautiful hymns. It took everyone by surprise to hear that we would be performing them in the service in Newcastle on Sunday.

We then went on to have a tea break and a few minutes of free time. Then we had our second session of the day where we spoke about God the FATHER. We explored the true essence of who God the Father is. We learnt that He is the Creator, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.

We ate lunch afterwards and took some time to play games. A little water balloon battle broke out which saw so many of us drenched in water. Others decided to go to the lake to use the water boats. It was a water filled afternoon. Later that afternoon, we continued to explore the Trinity. We spoke about God the SON. Who is Jesus? This question led to us the conclusion that He is the Saviour of the world – one who was blameless yet was tempted in every way that we as humans could possibly be. Jesus is the one who gains access for us to heaven. Through Him, we are new creations.

After session 3, we had devotions and a little choir practice. This was followed by dinner. The evenings were times for us to interact with one another, play games and build a community amongst us. Friday night was no different.

On Saturday morning, we woke up bright and early once again. That day was a little different to the others as after breakfast, morning devotion, and choir practice we also included rugby into the mix. In the late morning, many gathered around the TV to watch the Springboks play against New Zealand. Tensions were running high, but we enjoyed every second of it. This day we explored who the HOLY SPIRIT is. We learnt that the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, a Source of discernment and learning that the job of the Holy Spirit it is to show us Jesus.

In the afternoon, everyone gathered together to take a hike up to the top of the mountain to see the Fort Mistake. This hike challenged many of us but getting to the top was one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world. We stayed there for some time, admiring the view of KZN and capturing every moment.

On Saturday evening, we had our final devotion as well as our last choir practice. It dawned on us that the camp was coming to an end. Our last choir practice was electric; the voices were coming together very well. That night we enjoyed a scrumptious braai and spent the rest of the night playing card games and having the most amazing conversations. We returned to our dorms and packed our bags.

Another bright and early morning for us all on Sunday, where we had our last breakfast together. Right afterwards, we packed up the trailers and left for church in Newcastle. Everyone was quite saddened that we were departing. We partook in a blessed service and sung the three songs we had practiced all weekend. The Newcastle congregation was kind and generous towards us. They served us soup and tea after the service. This was the perfect way to end our time in Newcastle.

We hit the road back home. This was bittersweet. We had to say our goodbyes, we had to part ways with the wonderful weekend we had. However, we were overjoyed to come home with new friends. We would like to say thank you to the pastors, Christian Straeuli (Greytown) and Martin Paul (Fairland) for taking time out of their weekend to teach us. We would like to thank the hosts at Fort Mistake, who generously took care of us. Thank you also to every youth member who went to the camp. Each of you made it a memorable one.

Lastly, we would like thank the president of the St. Paul’s youth group, Thato Kgamphe, for all the hard work and dedication he has put in to making this all work. We would not have been able to meet and connect with our neighbouring youth members if it wasn’t for his constant proclamation of the need to come together to build relations and motivate one another. This has brought a lot of light and virtuousness into our youth community.

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