June 28, 2023

Jamaica Easter Youth Camp

By Sis. Antonia Giordano, part of Link Couple to Jamaica

In April, eleven young (and youngish) North American brothers and sisters from Virginia to visit the brethren in Jamaica for the first time and witness life in the Truth in another place.  The purpose was to attend, help lead, teach at and generally support the Jamaica Easter Youth Camp.  Bro Matt Tuckson taught the main classes and the other brothers pitched in leading other sessions throughout the day.  There were also classes for younger children which the visitors took a large role in.

The Jamaica Easter Youth Camp was wonderful!! Over fifty brothers, sisters, young people and kids from Jamaica and Virginia gathered together in the relative cool of Mandeville for a weekend of fun, fellowship and fabulous food.  We’re going to hear from three of them:

Sabrina is a Jamaican teen, growing up in the teeny tiny ecclesia of Argyle Mountain:

My experience at Easter Camp 2023 was really, really fun! I met a lot of new people from different ecclesias and from abroad…and going different places and meeting different people is really nice. Bro’s Matt’s classes were very interesting. He taught about Christ and anxiety and insecurities. I’m not really an insecure person, but still ended up learning about how to control it in different ways. And I loved the food! The chefs worked really hard day and night just to prepare a meal on the table for each and every one that was on campus and I truly appreciate that. My experience overall was awesome and I look forward for the next camp in 2024.

Sis. Shauna from Port Maria last attended camp in the 1990s when she was a teen herself!

Easter Bible Camp 2023 was like a breath of fresh air after not getting to meet face to face for so long at an All Island Bible meeting to study and share the Word of God. The talks from our brothers were food for the soul. The words we received and understood will definitely motivate us to overcome the trials that so often face us in our daily lives. The humanism talks really got me thinking and researching even after I returned home. The organizers and team could not have done a better job. Thanks be to God!

This was Sis Sydney Pittman’s first trip to Jamaica from Virginia:

Our trip to Jamaica for the Easter Camp was, to put it plainly, an experience. In some ways it was strange and fascinating and foreign—I’ve never seen such crowded streets, or watched a coastline transition so suddenly to a mountain, or been anywhere that the temperature is nearly the same every day. But once we were among the Jamaican brethren, I felt as though I were simply stepping into another home: it was just another Bible camp among brethren who are so much like us in their great love for God that the fact that we were in a foreign country with a different culture didn’t matter. We all shared the same purpose: to join in fellowship around God’s word.

I can’t adequately describe the comfort I took in seeing all the enthusiastic young people genuinely interested in the classes, taking notes and asking questions; but I can, at least, describe the things that fixed themselves in my head throughout the week.

I was especially impressed with the music. Not because the singing was in tune or in perfect unison (often it was neither; most of it was sung in the acapella style at a cue from a brother or sister), but because of the joy and enthusiasm with which it was sung. These were songs the brethren had memorized—songs I didn’t know—that seemed to fully convey the fervent belief the Jamaican believers have in their faith and their love for God. And perhaps I’m exaggerating, overwhelmed as I was by the sheer magnificence of it, but music is one of those things that will strike you wherever you go. As we’re encouraged to sing hymns of praise and spiritual songs to our Father in heaven, I commend those who pour themselves into it as our brothers and sisters in Jamaica do.

Another thing that struck me was the continuity of the whole thing. Everyone worked together to help the camp run smoothly. Whatever the obstacle, the brethren worked together to overcome it or do something new. When classes didn’t start on time or bled too far into afternoon activity, we did a different activity. When there was a torrential downpour just as the camp’s sports day was about to begin, the sports day was moved inside. The fellowship we experienced during group activities was spectacular, and the willingness to help where help was needed (or more—apparently the day everyone decided to help bring the bread down to the kitchen resulted in people being sent to put the extra bread back!) was very encouraging.

I can only hope that everyone else got as much out of the experience as I did. It was a truly uplifting experience amongst people who love and dedicate their lives to serving God, and it cemented in my mind that there is a worldwide body of Christ, and we are all members of it.

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