Jamaica Easter Youth Camp was held this year at Camp Verley, a peaceful location a short distance outside of Spanish Town. The campus was lush with bright Bougainvillea and majestic Ceiba trees. In Jamaican folklore, Ceiba trees are believed to harbor the spirits of the dead. Their deceased inhabitants were conspicuously absent at this time, though they had perhaps been pushed out by the large population of mosquitoes that had taken up residence at Verley. Despite the presence of these little ankle biters, it was a quiet and lovely place to spend our weekend together.
Bro. Mike Davey (along with his wife Sis. Sarah and sister-in-law, Sis. Abby) traveled from Virginia with our family to lead classes on the topic, Be Ye Perfect, using the examples of the great faith of Abraham, Noah standing up for the things of God in a dark world, and the mercy of Joseph extended to his brothers. The teens spent the weekend considering their walk in Christ and aspects of character to develop during their walk in Christ. The kids’ classes examined various Bible characters who exemplified the traits of faith and mercy in their lives, and discussed how to practice the same every day.
The day started early with exercise at 6:30am, which I watched with great enjoyment from the relative comfort of the kitchen area. Along with Sis. Kay, I peeled green-skinned oranges or sliced pineapples, while Rita and May tended the fried dumplings that sizzled and popped in huge pans on the stoves. Whilst not believers, these two lovely ladies work with Sis. Kay and attend all of the camps to take care of the cooking, and they do a brilliant job.
Morning inspiration followed exercise. Young people from different ecclesiae led each morning’s thought. May Pen led the group along the Prayer Trail, a verdant pathway which winds its way along the perimeter of the camp, pausing for prayer and reflection along the way.
The usual assortment of competitive team activities made up the afternoons. These included, sports in the heat of the day and craft projects using cans of spray paint and empty cleaning fluid bottles. The open-flame excitement of the cook-off competition was taken to a new level this year with the addition of raw chicken, to the pile of ingredients with which each team was furnished, to produce a meal. Stakes were high during the team events. An entire cake was waiting on the podium for the weekend’s overall winning team.
As the temperature cooled down on our final evening, preparations were made for the banquet and talent night. A tradition at Easter camp, the banquet is a feast of epic proportions, which included escovitch fish, curry goat, barbecue chicken and pork. The goat curry was, quite simply, delicious. While we ate, individuals and groups sang, played and danced, showing their talents and praising our God.
Our involvement in Jamaica over the past several years has given our family the opportunity to see these young people mature, from babies into spunky little preschoolers, from young children into preteens, from teens to young adults stepping out into life. The brotherhood in Jamaica is being strengthened by their energy and faith and several have made the decision to be baptized. We pray that over the next few years there will be many more!
Written by Sis. Antonia Giordano, with Bro. Nathan, Zinnia and Talia