The Youth Camp themed ‘Ready for War’ was held from the 3rd of to the 6th of May 2024 and hosted over 200 campers. Most campers arrived at the venue, Pioneer Centre, Kidderminster from Friday evening through to Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 04 May

There was a roll call at 6 am where the campers were divided into 13 groups. Each group was assigned a leader and a team name. Following up on the grouping; the cappers had their devotion in their various lounges titled Spiritual Warfare: Dealing with trials and temptations”. The pivotal message of this session is to be reminded that all are in a spiritual battle every day and must be aware of the different ways by which one can be distracted. Temptation can come in different ways, nonetheless, if one’s dependence is on God, He will provide the wisdom and strength to overcome.

Following breakfast, there was a welcome presentation. A message was received from the campsite managers through the Youth Leader Sister Lara Shorinmade-Oguntoke acquaintting us with the Camp’s rules and expectations from the campers. In addition, Sister Damilola Emitola explained to us how the various Camp leaders would lead and how the different teams would be rewarded for good behaviour as well as having points taken away for bad behaviour (lateness to activities, non-attendance, etc). The welcome presentation was rounded off with a short worship session.

Immediately after the welcome presentation, the first outdoor activity tagged “On the battlefield” followed. This activity involved playing a series of ‘war games’ such as Capture the Flag’. The game was about wise soldiers from the two groups having to hide a flag and the opposing team had to search for it. Other war games included completing obstacle courses by various teams.

At 2 pm the activity called KNOWING YOU started. It had a short worship session and prayers. Next, all were split up into groups categorized by age and gender, for various discussions based on current youth issues. Subsequent to the Knowing You activity, all were once again divided into 13 groups; and tasked with presenting the armour of God in creative ways (Helmet of Salvation, Sword of The Spirit, Shield of Faith, etc). 

The last activity of the night was called “FIGHT”. Sister Ayo Olayisade gave a talk from John 10:10 (The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly). Ayo exhorted and expatiated deeply on the spiritual meaning of this verse of the Scripture. She touched on the attacks of the enemy and the lies the enemy uses to keep many bound in sin. She reminded us that true freedom is found only in Jesus and there’s no life outside of Him. The enemy wants to distract those in the Lord’s camp already, but there’s hope. The essence of the talk was to emphasize the reality of the fact that all are in a spiritual war and there’s still time to decide which side one wants to belong to.

In line with the verse of the Bible John 10:10 under discussion, Brother Ola Balogun gave a brief synopsis emphasizing that the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy. The point of the enemy’s attack can come whenever and wherever to steal away the affection for Christianity. It is not just that many slowly allow the enemy to come in, but some can as individuals, not even want to be drawn away but can find themselves caught up in bad habits that lead to destruction. Until one makes the right choice, some continue to make decisions that cause them to self-destruct. 

In testifying to God’s goodness and ability to heal. Sister Joyce Mhike gave a testimony of God’s deliverance. She stated how she experienced a series of panic attacks and a depressive episode for months when she was 15 years old which often made her suicidal. She concluded that one day when she was praying with her friend about a topic that was unrelated to her mental struggles, she heard the testimony of her friend’s faith, that God could do the impossible and it inspired her to have a mustard seed faith for her own personal struggles. She wholeheartedly prayed and from that moment on, those feelings she had been feeling disappeared, and she was delivered.

Following the exhortation and testimony service, groups were formed into prayer circles, splitting into topics of addiction, procrastination, mental health, lust and sexual sin, Salvation, Sanctification and Baptism of The Holy Ghost, etc. A short discussion of encouragement in those groups was held, followed by a congregational prayer.

Sunday, 05 May

The Sunday morning devotion covered the reading about the “War of the Mind”. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life. All were asked of what they do, to make time for prayer, and a few examples were given such as; praying whilst doing the dishes, driving, or intentionally carving out time. The devotion concluded that though all have free will, it is not by own might that anything is done, but it is God who helps all and is a true guide. 

The Sunday School started at 10 am with discussions about Elisha and Elijah. A contribution was made that the call of God is for everyone and there will be many things that one will have to let go of or reprioritize when God is calling. The teacher mentioned that a spiritual walk is a pursuit and sometimes a test to see what would discourage one from following God. 

The devotional service started with the campers joyfully singing “Our God is marching on”, ending on a high note about how God is worthy to be praised. People were blessed through the congregational songs and choir songs; “the Holy Spirit was in this place”, A duet was sung having a running theme of “If we can’t, God will” which served as a reminder to all. The youth leader, Sister Lara preached a powerful message about being enlisted through being saved, and getting all Christian experiences, and for those who already have them, she admonished all on how to stay enlisted. Lara gave a personal testimony of when she felt shaken and when fear wanted to take over, but God intervened. Putting on the whole armour of God is important to fend against the wiles of the devil and ensuring that all are completely covered will help protect in times of trouble and affliction.

In the afternoon, there was a celebration activity – 20 years of Youth camp. There was a panel discussion with some of the old-timers who were key youth workers: Sister(s) Dupe Yalley, Tosin Aina, Olos Irenoa, Brother(s) Adebanji Alade, Stan Nyakhuwa, Ola Balogun, and Ayo Adedipe. There were around 20 first-timers this year with over 200 people in attendance and videos were played of some of the earliest youth camp skits with old-timer attendees talking about their first youth camp meeting experiences. They spoke of the camps they attended, which were the most impactful, most memorable, and how they would describe youth camp in one statement.

Questions were asked to the panelists such as dealing with discouragement from Church family/family and if they would come back to youth work now. Tosin Aina made a touching point that this Church has gold as its gospel, and may all be encouraged to not only worship The Lord by ourselves but also with our future children. Ayo mentioned two leading youth workers, Joyce and Dami, who showed him that he was leaving the youth work in very good hands and that bridging the gap and adapting the advice for young people of their generation is key in making sure no one is pushed away with careless words.

The Revival service in the evening started with a beautiful trumpet medley by Brother Seyi Sodipe, followed by the youth choir who sang “Our God is the Ancient of days”. Congregational songs rang into the night, reinforcing that in the love of Christ, we will stand, and that Jesus is the lover of our souls. Sister Lara provided answers to those who asked about the three Christian experiences, highlighting key verses in the Bible that stated how one would know when Saved, Sanctified, and Baptised with the Holy Ghost.

A quintet sang about “Taking it to the Lord in prayer” before the time of testimonies. Sister Comfort testified that her request had been answered by allowing her to reject the placements that she didn’t want, and she emphasized that we should trust God fully and that all can tell Him of ‘out of pocket’ requests (requests that seem strange to ask) because God can do so much more for anyone who just asks. A female quartet from Sister(s) Ruth, Olos, Tosin, and Dupe, sang “Holy Spirit rain down”.

The evening sermon was preached by Sister Murielle Igbode titled “Time to Fight”. She explained that the devil knows that all have the potential to go out into the world and preach the Gospel so everyone should ask God to reveal their potential and where they are meant to be. All must win the battle against the devil and win with God’s help. If anyone thinks they are not in the place that they ought to be, it is “Time to Fight “and such can make a different choice for their life tonight. The message stayed in everyone’s mind as all knelt to pray and a short worship session rang into the night, ringing the tune of keeping the fight and that God will take care of everyone.

Monday, 06 May

The devotional service for Monday morning was on “Pursuing intimacy with God’. Sin was highlighted as being the sole reason people fail to have intimacy with God, but there is hope that, once sin is removed, all can start to know God at a deeper level. That vacuum in anyone’s life can only be filled by God and not anything or anyone else. A conclusion was given on ways all can improve our relationship with God which are: intentionally speaking to Him like a friend, keeping a gratitude journal and start acknowledging and seeking deeper intimacy with the Lord in prayer.

The last session of Youth Camp was titled “READY, SET, GO!”. This session began with some worship and then everyone was given a Bible character of which he or she would meet other people with that same Bible character. Each person was to answer various questions in relation to that Biblical character as well as what they had learned during youth camp and something they had learned about each other.

Afterward, the attendees were placed into their youth camp teams where they had to nominate their team members to partake in a game show. Various questions were asked each round, with the last round highlighting scenarios of spiritual attacks and how to combat them. Sometimes the answer to a victorious win can look strange (walking around Jericho silently) and sometimes all need the help of iron (Christian relations) to give help in a time of spiritual warfare (Moses’ arms being held up by Hur and Aaron). This activity tested the Bible knowledge of our camp soldiers and served as encouragement to go and read their Bibles!

Brother Segun Ifesanmi gave a roundup of the activity and the entire youth camp overall. He made a link to the first activity that was on the youth agenda which was the drill session that was carried out at 6 am on Saturday. Not everyone made it to the drill session and thankfully all were given grace to still partake in activities and even redeem their teams, but it’s a reminder for us that one day we will not have another chance to make The Lord’s drill session (the Second coming) but thankfully there was still an opportunity to pray to be prepared for it at the end of the morning session.

After this, everyone had our final moments with fellow attendees, taking pictures and packing to leave. Then after lunch, the campers headed home ready to face the spiritual battles in their lives with Jesus’ help.

Click the link below for pictures: