When we arrived in Brussels on 4 August, our luggage was packed with glitter and swimming hats for a week of under-the-sea themed camp!
This was my second time travelling to Belgium to serve at InterAction Belgium with a group of students from Christchurch Durham. As Animefs (assistant leaders), our role was to do everything practical: we set tables, served food, cleared plates and waded through copious amounts of dirty dishes. Surrounding all these tasks, we had seminars and bible studies and joined the whole camp each morning and evening for the main meetings.
Each day was a whirlwind of activity, from 8am when we gathered for seminars until we went to bed after finishing the last of the dishes. On Tuesday we ran lots of mini-games for the campers, on Wednesday we went with them to explore the town of Dinant and take part in rock climbing and laser tag. On Thursday there was a big wide game in which some of us chased campers around the grounds, and on Friday we went on a trip to an indoor waterpark. The fast-paced nature of camp meant that it wasn’t until the day after it finished that we were able to reflect properly. We helpfully summarised our time at camp in three words:
What better way to be confronted with the global nature of God’s family than at a camp where EVERYTHING (and I mean every word that was spoken to more than one person!) is said in French and English. It was incredible to witness the diversity of the people involved - just within the leaders and Animefs there were people from England, America, Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Northern Ireland. It is a wonderful picture of the body of Christ to see people from such different places come together with one goal: to tell the kids about Jesus. Everyone had their own roles - whether floor sweeping or chatting with campers - but we were all united in that single purpose. Paul describes it as a ‘partnership in the gospel’ in Philippians 1v5. I think that camp truly reflects that coming together of Christians in support of each other with one goal, partnering in the gospel.
Paul goes on in Philippians 2 to encourage his readers to reflect Christ and make themselves ‘nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness’ (v7). This is something we all witnessed on camp. The willingness of every member of the team to do whatever was needed because they wanted to serve in Christ’s name. Unfortunately the camp was touched by illness over the week, but everyone stepped up and also made sure to look after those who were not well, supporting each other at all times.
It was so clear in everything that was done at camp that the gospel was the point of it all. Paul tells the Philippians that he wished to ‘press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’ (3v14). This was seen clearly in the dedication of the leaders in preparing their talks. It was clear in the great emphasis on teaching - in bible studies for the campers, as for the Animefs, and in the leaders’ daily prayer meetings. Jesus was the driving force of camp and, praise God, more than one camper said the prayer to follow him after the Thursday evening talk.
InterAction Belgium is full of really important, Jesus-centred work. I would encourage anyone who is considering it to get involved!
Email Claudia to find out more about getting involved in 2020.
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