Question: What do you get when you take a youth pastor, a previous youth pastor, and three young people willing to share their faith?
Answer: a big splash
On Sunday, Brodie and I had the joy of baptising three of our young people, and yes, there was a literal big splash, but I want to focus on the impact of their stories. Each one of our young people stood up and confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour in front of friends and family. I was also struck by the love and respect they each have for the church family and the importance not simply of a youth ministry, but of being whole church family. Whether you were in Camphill on Sunday and heard their stories or not, we wanted to share them with you here. And so, with the permission of Ali, Eilidh and Isaac we are sharing their stories, in their own words…
“Hi. My name is Ali. Like most of us I struggled through lockdown with all of the challenges of online learning, not being able to see family & friends & of course loosing that connection with the church & with God. I would find myself trying to get out of going on youth zoom calls & pretending that I was on zoom when in fact I was on my phone. It was not only this but through the hole time of the first lockdown I didn’t keep in contact with any of my friends from school & it was extremely unhealthy mentally.
In August 2020 after starting secondary school, I found a chance to make new friends which helped a lot. Throughout this time, I had still somewhat distanced myself from God & Church.
It was only in the second lockdown when I felt my friendships slip again, I decided that I would get back into going to youth. At this point I hadn’t been to youth for a month or two & I just thought I would give it a go & it helped massively.
I realised that God & our relationship with God isn’t just church, or even necessarily the people who go to church but it’s about having someone who is always there for you & who always know right from wrong & know what is best to support you as an individual to help you grow.
I would like to finish on a Bible verse that changed my view of god for me & it is Isaiah 41:10
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Hello everyone. My name is Eilidh. So, I’ve grown up in this church. I’d like to think that the majority know me, or at least know of me, because of my best memories have been right here in this building and/or has involved my friends who are here today who grew up in QP with me. Having a strong community around me has help me grow into the person who is standing in front of you all this morning to get baptised. I honestly don’t know where I would be without this community I speak of. The first SU camp I went to, I went with some of these people, the first time I broke down sobbing during worship, I was surrounded with my QP friends. I even remember who handed me a tissue to dry my eyes. I also remember when I stopped coming to church and distanced myself from God, who was there checking on me and stood beside me until I eventually run back into his arms. I know Gods’ unconditional love for me, but I also know unconditional love from my friends and family sitting here today. So, I thought I would be fitting to get baptised in this building, surrounded by my biological family but also my QP family whom I love and appreciate greatly.”
“Hi so for anyone that does not know me I am Isaac.
Ever since I was little, I was taken to church but didn’t really think anything of it, it was just normal for me, that’s just what we did in our family. I didn’t really understand who or what God was for certain. It wasn’t until I moved into youth that I asked more questions and found out more about God and who he was for myself.
So, the next part of my story goes forward to the youth weekend away. I went away on this trip not expecting much and not really sure what I would experience. My friends were there too, and we were just looking forward to spending time together. However, one evening after a talk I remember we did a prayer tunnel for the first time. This was a significant experience for me. I went into the tunnel, and I felt a wee bit nervous, some people were in tears on the ground while I was just standing there being prayed over. Although I didn’t fully understand, I know I felt comfortable and calm in this place of prayer. It was kind of like a spark being flicked on and I just knew that I wanted a deeper connection with God from that moment.
So fast forward a couple of years and the worst thing happened – COVID!!! So, at this point I am still unsure about my relationship with God. I am guessing due to covid a lot of people may have been asking where God was. I definitely was. One thing that had happened in my life just before covid was that my uncle had sadly passed away due to pancreatic cancer. I was asking God “why you would let this happen”. So, my relationship with God grew further apart. I can’t remember the scenario, but I was writing an English essay one day during covid, and mid-sentence all of a sudden thinking “God must have a plan and I should trust him”. I really felt at calm and at peace.
Once covid restrictions started to ease we were allowed back into the church for some things, and I can still remember that when I came into this building again having an appreciation for God so much more and for the importance of church family. This is why I want to get baptised – God is a real and central part of my life.”