Jesus and Super heroes together in one awesome weekend, what more could you ask for at Youth Councils! The Holy Spirit was present and working in the lives of 300 plus youth and leaders of the Del Oro Division. Capt. Terry Masango challenged us throughout the weekend with simple messages that touched the hearts of many who came forward to pray. “Go Home, stop living in the pig sty,” “Forgive, don’t let what you have against someone else affect who you are today, let it go,” looking at the story of Hosea and Gomer, “What’s preventing you from giving your whole self to God”. Sunday morning Lt. Colonel Doug O’Brien reminded us all that “Our Help comes from The Lord”. The messages cut straight to the heart in each meeting.
The main sessions included testimonies from youth and our own Cadet Mysti Birks. They showed us what it means to be truly Unmasked before God and others. We had a variety of Corps groups take part displaying their gifts of music, drama and sharing those with all of us. We had youth throughout the division recognized for their service to God and their Corps, for their accomplishments in Corps Cadets, and for Graduations coming up soon. There were several great moments like cardboard flying, Capt. Mike entering from above, voices crying out to God in forgiveness of those who have hurt them, skittles flying from people’s noses, passionate scripture presentation from Major Denise Hawk, and some impromptu dancing lead by our weekend DJ and Youth Department staff.
With a beautiful new location this year at Woodleaf in Challenge California came a new excitement for the weekend. Free time and late night activities included Sports tournaments, Laser tag, a fully stocked game room, a place to make a super hero mask and cape, a hike, Frisbee golf, Whiffle ball, Coffee shop and Sugar shop, Joust, Sumo wrestling and boxing, campfire complete with smore’s, FOF coffeehouse fellowship, a Leader Lounge that was often full of people playing games and eating snacks together, and the Saturday night Super hero Dance party complete with Costume contest.
Saturday morning workshops were a mix of spiritual focus and hands on creative options, from Painting, Poetry and Drama to Microwave cooking, Resumes & Interview help, Service project, Cardboard testimonies, Using your Bible App and Tough Questions about Faith. Saturday afternoon workshops were a perfect time to address a topic we may not talk enough about with our youth, dating and sex. These classes gave them opportunity to ask questions, to be open and to hear from godly leaders who care about our youth and the choices they make in these areas. At least one youth this weekend sought help from the leader with a pornography problem. They were able to talk through some things to help because of this workshop. We hope there were many more impacted by this opportunity.
After the weekend there’s been amazing stories of lives impacted and blessed at Youth Councils. Facebook and Instagram posts, emails from Corps Officers….God showed up as usual and blessed us beyond our imagination. Teens coming back from YC for the first time totally excited, asking about becoming a soldier, getting more involved in the Corps. Praise God for the work He does through us as we serve Him.