On the first weekend in April, nearly 250 delegates gathered to begin a weekend of being Unmasked. The Northwest Division kicked off Friday night with a barn dance complete with live band playing line dancing music, a pie-eating contest and a dunk tank to dunk youth leaders which would raise money for our sponsor children in Sri Lanka – even the Divisional Commander was dunked! Saturday was full of learning and fun with workshops during the day and a roaring 20’s banquet at night which recognized our high school and Corps Cadet graduates.
The theme verse for the weekend was found in 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, “We refuse to wear masks and play games. We don’t maneuver and manipulate behind the scenes. And we don’t twist God’s Word to suit ourselves. Rather, we keep everything we do and say out in the open, the whole truth on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves in the presence of God.” Captain Roy Wild lead the Friday evening meeting and delegates and chaperones alike were challenged to “Unmask” themselves and to live their lives wholly devoted to God. Paper masks were available at the altar and each young person had the opportunity to come to forward and write something on a mask that was hindering them from giving themselves completely to the Lord. During the Saturday evening meeting, those masks were nailed to a cross during the message. At the end of the meeting the cross was raised up and the delegates were reminded that it is by the death of Jesus Christ, we are saved for our sins. “The meetings and workshops gave me a different perspective on things in my life and I really liked that,” said Raven from the Renton Corps.
Throughout the weekend, delegates had opportunities to spend time with their corps leaders. “Cabin devotion time was great,” said Lt. Melissa Xiong of the Federal Way Corps. “It gave my kids a chance to really open up and share what they’ve been going through.”
During Sunday morning testimony time, the delegates had their turn to share what God is doing in their lives. Kiersten from the Lewiston Corps shared that she has had a rough few years – losing loved ones and self-harming to cope with the loss. “Today I’m six months clean from self harm,” she said. “At home, my mom doesn’t care. I have no one else. But here, you guys are all my family. Coming here was the highlight of my entire year.”
The Holy Spirit was certainly moving in the lives of those who attended “Unmasked”. Adults and teens were encouraged and challenged to return to their homes and schools and to live out their lives as people set apart for Christ – to be authentic Christians filled with the love of God.