A historical day in the life of Brunstad Christian Church (BCC)! Friday, 24th July 2020 heralded the opening of the 2020 BCC Online Summer Camp. Historical, because never before have all BCC Youth Clubs (BUK) from around the world participated together in the annual summer camp. This much anticipated event normally takes place in Norway, naturally limiting the number of young people able to take part. This year organisers came up with innovative ways of ensuring that not only the summer camp, but all the youth camps scheduled for 2020 would take place, despite the Covid-19 pandemic prevailing globally. As a consequence of adapting to online camps, many more young people have been able to participate.
It was a camp like no other, online as well as ‘on the ground’. Youth services and special events were streamed live to all BCC fellowships around the world from the BCC studio in Norway. However, youth club mentors played a pivotal role in the camp this year, as they were tasked with organising activities locally for their youth clubs. These were online as well as indoor and outdoor activities; all of which adhered to the Covid-19 pandemic regulations relevant to each participating country.
The ripple of enthusiasm was almost tangible in the BrunstadTV studio as Kåre Smith, leader of BCC, welcomed over 6 500 young participants to the online camp. Clearly overjoyed by the level of participation, Smith expressed his heartfelt hope that through the camp, something of eternal value would be planted deep in the spirit of each young person and by receiving the Word of God, their hearts would be preserved in purity, to the benefit of not only themselves, but all those around them.
The African experience…
Take a look at how some of the BCC Youth Clubs across Africa experienced the 2020 BCC Summer Camp.
Experiencing the BCC Summer Camp for the first time was very significant for all the youth clubs in Cameroon. Youth leaders, mentors and team leaders prepared well in advance to ensure the youth could be part of all live streamed events and edification from BBC in Norway, as well as all the local activities. In some areas rain curtailed some of the outside activities, but it did not quench the good spirit and enthusiasm of the young people!
The fellowship experienced in the local groups following the youth services was extremely good, as were the discussions that ensued with youth leaders. Each day of the four-day camp brought something of value that was edifying, spiritually nourishing and of help to the youth in their situations in everyday life. Coupled with this, were the all fun, challenging activities and sport arranged for them by their mentors.
Some highlights from the camp were the opening message from Kåre Smith; the youth services; the theme evening about the life of Elias Aslaksen and the ‘spirit of faith’ that shone from his life; the live streaming from South Africa on the last day of the camp, which focused on racism and how to overcome it in your own life.
The young people of Cameroon were very happy and grateful to have taken part in this camp and firmly believe that the good spirit that prevailed during the Camp will continue in their hearts.
Arielle Bakam Wabo: “It was a wonderful camp with a lot of edification and fellowship and I am very grateful for that. The theme evening on the life of Elias Aslaksen was really edifying. I am thankful for all the effort put in.”
Deffo Daryl Florien: “We had a truly blessed youth camp and I thank everyone who sacrificed so much of their time so that we could have this very enriching camp. I also thank the mentors for mentoring us during this camp.”
Ruth Kalachi: “The summer camp was just wonderful. It was interesting to be part of the discussion on inferiority and superiority complexes, I understood that I have to live naturally and just be me without complexes.”
Djibril Maffo: “I am grateful for this summer camp and the gospel that was preached in the youth services. I was amazed by the activities that I could participate in.”
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC):
The young people in the DRC were very enthusiastic about participating in the Summer Camp, along with all the BCC fellowships around the world. Their prayers were answered as the internet was stable for the entire camp and they could follow all the youth services and events streamed on BrunstadTV.
Each morning of the four-day camp started with a warm-up and dance, following by various activities throughout the day such as board games, foosball and various sports. Every evening after the online youth service there would be a local youth service and fellowship. The last night of the camp was very special with fellowship, songs, stories and testimonies around a campfire.
The youth in the DRC are very committed and want to take heed to the word of God preached during the camp and use it in their everyday lives.
Emile Kabeya: “It was a joy for me to participate in the summer camp, and I thank God for all those who have thought about the youth all over the world and do so much for us. Everything I have heard in the youth services has given me even more strength and courage to continue on this path of following Jesus Christ.”
Rachel Bope: “This summer camp was really faith strengthening for me. I noticed that, during all the activities we did, we kept in mind the fact that we are members of one and the same body and that fellowship was therefore essential!“
Papy Kwete: “I am also grateful for everything I had heard during the summer camp. It was a good time for me to be nourished by good uplifting words which are a big help for me especially when I am faced with daily situations. I want to be wholehearted and not neglect physical, financial and spiritual commitment.”
Naguy Walai: “I am very grateful for the good times we had at summer camp, it was very special for me to share with the young people. We did different activities and we learned to serve others without complaining. Then on the last day of the summer camp we had fellowship around a camp fire, where we sang some really edifying songs which also were very encouraging.“
The slogan for the youth clubs in Kenya… “We must do whatever it takes to be along with the rest of the youth worldwide!”
The young people really embraced the task of organizing the local and national activities and arranged some exciting games and activities.
Here are some accounts of their experiences and testimonies:
Eva Grace Anditi: “Looking back, the camp was such a special time and I learned things about myself and benefitted a lot from the youth services. I realized that my focus must be on pleasing God and obeying His laws and commandments to enter His kingdom. I must be active in doing good and always strive to remain in humility. Amongst other activities, I participated in the scavenger hunt. It was challenging and we really had to brainstorm at the first point (post), in the end we completed 16 posts. The local activities were also good.”
Fredrick Otieno: “This camp was really good. We prepared well in advance by putting up decorations to create a good and fun atmosphere. I noticed on the transmissions everyone was happy and excited and I was too! I participated in all activities, but the scavenger hunt and basketball challenge were the best. The Elias Aslaksen theme evening helped me a lot and I saw that he was a God-fearing man and everything he did went well. I want to follow in his footsteps.”
Pleasure Mary: “The camp was awesome! What I heard in the youth services awakened a strong desire in me to lead a righteous life. From the Elias Aslaksen theme evening, I learnt that humility goes together with a love for the truth and I want to humble myself and do God’s will.The activities I participated in were the athletics and fabric printing.”
Bruce Franstad Omondi: “The kickoff to the camp was an indication of a joyous weekend ahead! Seeing how the youth worldwide shared in the spirit of love, we too, embraced it to the fullest in our teamwork and activities. We took part in the scavenger hunt as well as other activities and although some where challenging, teamwork made them seem light. From the meetings I learned that I should do God’s will without question and seek not only physical nourishment, but spiritual nourishment too.”
The BCC Summer Camp was an awesome experience for the youth in Malawi, who have never experienced anything like it before. The parents also agreed that it was very good and were very thankful the youth could participate in the Camp.
What an unforgettable BCC Summer Camp from start to finish and everything in between! The main focus was on the youth under 18 years of age (U18’s), and although the Covid-19 pandemic curfew and restrictions on gatherings posed some challenges, nothing deterred the mentors from going the extra mile to make the Camp really special for them. Every morning there was general information online, followed by a warm-up and dancing to get everyone going. After each day of activities there was a ‘food delivery service’ to all the U18’s homes, which in itself was so exciting as the delivery vehicles could be tracked live on the buksa.co.za website. There were online games running throughout the day with great hampers for prizes, and the scavenger hunt was a winner!
The long awaited theme evening was a very special conclusion to the Elias Aslaksen project the youth have been working on over the last couple of months. Another highlight for the South African youth was the live streamed fellowship evening with Sverre Riksford and Bjørn Nielsen, which continued with a local fellowship evening celebrating Africa.
Tsepiso Mangai: “I enjoyed every minute of the summer camp and even though it was online, it was fun being with friends from all different countries.”
Sebastian van As: “There were a lot of fun activities, a few of my favourites were the scavenger hunt and the outdoor club.”
Wilco Esterhuysen: “I did the paper maché with the arts and crafts club. The scavenger hunt was by far the best and I also enjoyed watching online the food delivery to our homes.”
Ester Bothma: “I was part of the baking club and I enjoyed it very much. We made doughnuts and cheesecake which were delicious and we had a very good time together online on Zoom.”
The summer camp was a great opportunity for youth to come together and participate in different online activities with other youth from BCC fellowships around the world.The youth services were very edifying and encouraging for the spiritual development of the young people.
Moses Kepa: “I am so thankful to the organisers of the camp, may God strengthen them.”
The youth enjoyed the camp and were able to listen to the youth services on BMM live streaming.