This year’s youth camp was held in Tanzania, in the town of Musoma, which is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria. The campsite was located in a resort situated at the extreme end of the Musoma peninsula.
The camp ran for five days, from the evening of 13th to the morning of Sunday, 18th December. More than 700 young people attended the camp. They came from all over East Africa; but we also had delegates from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the UK.
The key speaker for the conference was Pastor Lenny Boy from Mauritius. His central message was two-fold:
- a love for the cross, and;
- becoming bearers of the spiritual inheritance.
Reading from the Book of Numbers chapter 21 verses 4 to 9, Pastor Lenny emphasized the danger of turning our backs on the cross especially in this rebellious generation.
“4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”
East or west, north or south, our only hope of redemption is in the cross. The children of Israel had began to cultivate a love of (or, a return to) the world. They murmured against the way that God was taking them through. They did not like the long and difficult road one little bit, so they complained. Above all, and most displeasing to God, they “loatheth this light bread.”
But that “light bread” was Christ Himself! It had been given to them by God Himself, direct from heaven. But in their souls, they loathed this bread. In essence, they loathed Christ. They did not love the ways of the Lord. They wanted the bread and water of this world. God was deeply displeased with them, for they wanted their ways – the ways of this world – rather than the ways of the Lord.
In His anger, God brought fiery serpents in their midst, and many, many people died. When the people cried out to God, He gave them an antidote for the snakes’ poison; He instructed Moses to make a brass snake, and to set it up on a pole in the desert. Whoever got bitten and looked at the snake would live.
Brother Lenny told us that, in this adulterous generation, we are not to loathe the Christ who has been revealed to us, who is the crucified Christ. Our souls should not loathe the ways of the Lord. We should not tire of the cross. When we tire of the cross, sin quickly bites us.
But God is still merciful, and He has put a brass snake in the desert. When sin bites us, we can still turn to the cross and there find salvation and redemption when we repent and turn again to the Lord.
If we want to live in this rebellious and adulterous generation, we have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. East or west, our only hope of redemption is in the crucified Christ. If we fail to accept the ways of the Lord we shall die.
During the second part of this conference, Pastor Lenny also spoke of the need for the youth to desire to inherit the positions that the elders are leaving behind; not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Lenny spoke about “passing the baton”, referring to the 4×4 relay race. He spoke about the readiness and anticipation that the one who is receiving the baton has to have.
The youth, he said, need to have that same readiness in the Spirit. It is a preaparedness of the spirit. When the youth are thus prepared in their spirits, the elders can walk away into the twilight of their lives in the firm assurance that the gospel will continue to abound and prosper.
The real enemy against this preparedness is a love for the world. Pastor Lenny spoke about how today’s youth are keen on the ways of this world. They are extremely tech-savvy. They boast in how easily they can master every new technological app!
But God does not want us to be carried away by these things. He wants us to know His ways, which are the ways of the cross. To have a readiness in our hearts to suffer with Christ, and to be a light unto the world. That is the only way the youth can be prepared to take the baton from their elders.
The meetings were extremely charged with the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, on the last day, Sunday, there was a special session of prayer for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds of young people came forward and got baptized in the Holy Spirit.
On that same Sunday, immediately after the morning service, there was a water baptism for those who had not yet been baptized. After all, we were right by the lake and there was much water!
Many young people came forward to be baptized, and there was much rejoicing.
And with that note, the camp came to a powerful ending. There was joy all around. But of even more importance, there were new resolutions made, new hope imparted and a true revival in the Spirit in the hearts of the young people.
God bless Pastor Lenny, God bless Pastor Stephen, God bless all the elders, God bless the youth!
[Below: The camp meeting in pictures]
Many traveled to the camp by bus:
Lenny preaching the gospel:
God was at work in many young people’s hearts:
A section of the large tent meeting:
In the afternoons, it was time for games and recreation. Here, the young people prepare to go out to play…
… with the elders close in tow:
In the playing fields, there was a wide variety of games:
In the meantime, the elders took time off to relax:
The scenic landscape of the Musoma peninsula…
… and a lovely sunset:
The beautiful cottages of the Matvilla Beach Resort, where the camp was held:
On Saturday evening, Brother Lenny made a special prayer for the sisters from Malawi:
And Pastor Stephen ministered briefly:
The brethren who attended from Mauritius and the UK:
The IT crew:
The youth receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit!:
Scores of youth were also baptized in the waters of Lake Victoria:
And Bishop Elly Mpule was there to witness the occassion:
Joe and I in a photo-op with Lenny:
And, finally, the team from Singida…
… who brought along some very original photo-shooting styles: