In October 2021, Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) held the third international youth camp of the year for Brunstad Youth Clubs (BUK). The continued lifting of coronavirus restrictions as the pandemic loosened its grip on the world, made it easier for gatherings to take place and fellowship to flourish once again. Approximately 4 000 young people attended the camp in Norway and BCC youth clubs around the world were able to watch the youth services, the historical theme evening and ‘Good Morning BUK’ on BrunstadTV via online streaming. In Africa BCC fellowships in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Tanzania and South Africa participated, with each country organising their own outings and activities for the camp, taking into account any Coronavirus restrictions still remaining in their countries.
At the opening of the camp, Kåre J Smith (leader of BCC), heartily welcomed the young people attending the camp in Norway, as well as all those watching the transmission from around the world. He encouraged the young people to be bold and to fight for their faith, to believe in victory over sin and never to give up on their faith. The theme for the camp was ‘Brunstad’ and as the name of the church describes, Brunstad, in Norway, has been a central gathering place for the members of the church for many decades. With the recent completion of the additional accommodation and the upgrading of various facilities, it was appropriate to look back to the humble beginnings of Brunstad and therefore a special theme evening was held as part of the camp program. This included an interesting panel discussion, choir items and films featuring the early days, when Brunstad started out as a tented camp. As Kåre Smith explained on the panel discussion, it is vitally important for the young people to know the history of what their spiritual forefathers gave up to follow Jesus and to build the church.
Judging from feedback and testimonies, BUK camps have proved to be very significant in the lives of the young people in BCC youth clubs in Africa. Spiritual nourishment, guidance from mentors, fellowship, learning to serve others and the sheer enjoyment of all the activities arranged for them, makes good and lasting impressions on them. This is particularly true in the case of the younger ones who are newcomers to the youth clubs and are at an impressionable age.
Several young people from various fellowships in Africa sent in testimonies of what the camp meant to them and the activities that they enjoyed during the camp:
In Tanzania the young people watched all the transmissions from Brunstad on BrunstadTV, such as the vibrant camp kickoff with an opening address from Kåre J Smith and several youth leaders; ‘Good Morning BUK’ each morning; the ‘Brunstad’ theme evening and the closing transmission. Being able to watch all the transmissions gives a sense of belonging and spiritual unity with all the BUK groups worldwide.
There was a good balance between the spiritual edification and fun activities. The young people enjoyed their meals together and on the Saturday went to the beach where they played water games and beach soccer. On the Sunday they had a short local youth service and then played a variety of games together.
Catherine: “I really enjoyed the camp. I especially enjoyed meeting other young people, some of whom I have never met before. The outing was fun with friends and the food and drinks were very nice. I am very thankful to the organisers of the camp.“
Magdalena: “It was my first BUK camp and I enjoyed it. It was really nice to meet with different friends and get to know one another better. Also the peace and fellowship during the camp was really good for me.“
Michael: “I really learned a lot on the church BUK camp. I learned that young people must have a love and zeal to do the work of God. I also enjoyed the outing. God bless everyone who made the camp possible.“
For the young people attending the BUK camp in South Africa, it was quite a fast paced kickoff on the Friday with BMX lap races, various challenges and a basketball match. This was followed by watching the transmission of the opening of the camp at Brunstad on BrunstadTV. A variety of food was available at food stalls set out in the courtyard and the evening concluded with fellowship and games. ‘Good Morning BUK’ started the day on Saturday and an outing to an amusement park filled the rest of the day. Watching the ‘Brunstad’ theme evening transmission was a highlight. Sunday started with the ‘Good Morning BUK’ transmission and a visit to a nearby lake where the young people enjoyed swimming, fishing, kayaking and so on. The camp ended with the edifying closing transmission on BrunstadTV.
Janco: “I enjoyed the fellowship and I am thankful for all the hard work put into the camps. A highlight for me was the fire show.“
Sarah: “It was really awesome that all the youth could watch the BUK camp transmissions live together. I also enjoyed the outings and activities especially the volleyball. It was also really good spending time in smaller groups, that helped me to get to know the younger youth and other mentors better. I think this camp was one of the best we’ve had this year!“
Anthony: “I have experienced that each camp every year gets better. The spiritual edification was very helpful, the activities arranged were amazing and the competitions were fun. I can’t wait for the next camp.”
All of the three fellowships in Cameroon namely, Bafoussam, Douala and Yaoundé watched all the transmissions on BrunstadTV over the camp weekend, differing only in the activities that each fellowship organised. In Bafoussam each club had to prepare and present a show – singing, dancing, or storytelling; they also held soccer and volleyball tournaments and played board games. Yaoundé had warmups each morning, an outdoor challenge and they played table tennis and board games. In Douala they enjoyed swimming and a game catching flags and board games.
Megane (Bafoussam): “I am very thankful for this camp. I participated in the volleyball tournament and I also sang with my club for the show, which I really enjoyed. The transmissions and ‘Good Morning BUK’ were edifying and I took new decisions to live righteously, especially at school.”
Sylvain (Yaoundé): “The camp went very well and there were different activities that we had not done before. I was very happy for the fellowship with the other young people. I want to take to heart the Word of God that was preached and I made a new spiritual commitment for my life.“
Ruth (Yaoundé): “I am very grateful and happy to have participated in the camp. The fellowship, atmosphere and activities were great. Not forgetting to mention the edification we received, because it gave me a new opportunity to set a new milestone in my life and live righteously every day.“
The fellowships in Kenya, namely Kisumu, Kisii, Nyakweri and Rodi Kompany, came together in Kisumu for the BUK camp. The young people watched all the transmissions on BrunstadTV and enjoyed fellowship together. They had several sporting activities such as a volleyball and hockey tournament as well as board games, pool, darts and foosball.
Christopher (Kisii): “I thank God for the BUK camp. It was very interesting to meet youth like me from different parts of the country. Learning about the history of the church on the theme night was very inspiring. I enjoyed the Bible stories we were told sitting around the fire and the games and volleyball tournament. The meals were very nice. I would like to attend as many BUK camps as possible in the future. I want to be faithful and obedient to God throughout my life.“
Robert (Nyakweri): “I am thankful for the camp and was personally encouraged by what Kåre Smith said and the verses he quoted from the Bible – Proverbs 28:27 and Jude 1:1-2. I enjoyed volleyball, foosball and hockey during the camp.“
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC):
The BUK camp was a special time for the youth in the DRC. The spiritual edification from the transmissions on BrunstadTV worked powerfully in many of them and they took decisions to be more serious and zealous in their daily lives by putting into practice what they heard. The local activities they participated in were a Bible group quiz, an individual Kahoot game, a play station tournament and various outdoor group games.