Report: Scripture Union Camp (Junior Mullingar 2017)
– Stephen and Helen Megarry –
Helen and I have been involved together with Scripture Union camps for the last 4 years but Helen’s own connection to the camp stretches way back to when she was a camper herself at the age of 11. It was through this camp that Helen put her faith and Trust in Jesus Christ and it has been a special time of growth and blessing throughout the years.
For the last 20+ years, this camp has been held in Scotland; initially as a boys only camp, for the 11-14 age group, then becoming a mixed camp in 2000. In 2009, the camp expanded adding a second week to cater for the ‘Senior’ age range, 14-17 years.
Due to the venue Belhaven Hill School(East Lothian) undergoing some renovation work, the camp relocated to Wilson’s Hospital School, Multyfarnham, near Mullingar. Wilson’s Hospital School is an old Church of Ireland Boarding School dating back to the 1700’s.
We arrived on Saturday 22nd of July by Coach with 69 Junior Campers and over 20 leaders. The facilities of the school were fantastic; we had access to an indoor sports hall, outdoor swimming pool and plenty of grass pitches and areas for games.
The camp is Christ-centred and has a very strong emphasis on discipleship. A typical day included leaders prayer time and devotions; breakfast; campers quiet time; seminars (which were on the fruit of the spirit); games; lunch; more games and activities; dinner; more games; campers prayer meeting; leaders prayer time; evening meetings and worship time, supper and dorm time. It was a packed schedule!
As I spoke to the guys in the dorm group I was assigned to and we started to build a strong friendship it became apparent to me that they were all struggling spiritually. They were all professing Christians but it seemed like the pressure of this world had crushed them spiritually. This world is so anti-God, as young people they are bombarded with secular TV, music that is filled with sex and violence, peer pressure from not-yet-saved friends to turn from God, and a school system that pushes evolution as fact not fiction and the account of Creation as a fairytale story.
(This fact was very evident from the science class door in this Church of Ireland School which stated “You are the result of 3.8 Billion Years of Evolutionary Success, ACT LIKE IT!”)
These kids were asking so many questions like how can we trust the Bible? What about dinosaurs? questions on alcohol, same sex relationships, all sorts, they just wanted answers.
What I saw as the week progressed were young boys and girls being filled and made whole again. It was so clear, that when they studied God’s Word for themselves, when they prayed, when they worked in the seminars and when they listened and meditated on the evening meeting on the ‘I am’s’ of Jesus (all wrapped up with fellowship, prayer and encouragement of fellow Christians) they thrived. Those kids were so hungry for a closer walk with God and it showed.
Each evening there was a campers’ prayer meeting at 8pm- this was optional for the campers, with no requirement or pressure to attend. Helen and I went along on the Friday evening; to my surprise 42 out of the 69 campers were there. I’m not usually an emotional person but as I heard camper after camper pray, one after another with no more than a moments pause as they were all so eager to pray, I was brought to tears. I thought, why can’t adults pray like this?
Later that evening during the worship before the meeting I was singing top of my lungs and I could hardly hear a word coming out of my mouth. Those who know me or have ever sat in front of me in church may have experienced my intense volume when singing but in that place it filled my heart with joy to hear these kids worship our saviour with every breath they had. After, I spoke on ‘I am the True Vine’. It was the final night of camp and the kids were all very tired but they listened so intently. At the end of meeting 5 young lads came to the prayer room seeking prayer as they wanted to be fully connected to Jesus, they wanted to bear more fruit in their lives and they were hungry to win their friends for Christ when they returned to school. I had another boy tell me on the last day “I now Know Jesus is real, he’s the one true and living God”. Throughout the week 4 other kids professed salvation in Jesus Christ.
I want to thank all those who prayed for Helen and I as we were away and also for these kids. This truly is a spiritual battle that we face. I want to give God all the glory and honour for all the great things He did at the camp. He gave us His Word, He spoke to us, He encouraged us and He gave us the health and strength to run around and have so much fun in all the games and activities.
As so often is the case, as we work for God, He works in us. That too is the story of this camp, as Helen and I laboured for the Lord, He worked within us and grew our faith and our love for Him and His Word too.
Stephen and Helen Megarry