By Abigail Jennerson
For all of us on the NextGen team here at ZOE - 4 missionaries and 7 Thai staff - April is a whirlwind. That’s because all of our ZOE kids are home on school break!!! As we finish out April 2018, I look back on the past two months of prepping and events - exhausted, filled up, proud, excited, closer to our youth and Jesus.
We have two objectives when it comes to NextGen camps here at ZOE: The first goal is to help our children encounter God - whatever that may look like. We want them to know and experience the relentless love of God.The second goal is to give our kids and youth NEW memories. Out with the old, in with the new. We want to begin building and making new memories that are filled with a whole lot of love, joy, laughter, fun and friendship - all in hopes to contrast and replace the old memories that would likely be described with the opposite adjectives.
All of our “camps” at ZOE through the month of April fall into one or both of these categories.
This year some of our new memories involved playing in waterfalls, going to the mall to watch a movie and eat ice cream, driving 4 hours in the back of trucks during Songkran (Thailand’s New Year’s festival - a nationwide water fight - AMAZING!), staying up all night watching movies, eating snacks, dancing crazy, learning/doing hair and makeup, and many hours just hanging out together, having a ball!
Encountering God this year for our youth looked like staying at a retreat center hearing teachings from multiple speakers about God’s trustworthiness. It looked like going to a camp with 1000 other youth from around northern Thailand to sit in five 2-hour sessions a day (that’s a story for another time! WOWZA!), and countless hours in worship - indoor, outdoor, loud and dancing, quiet and calm. Our kids had a week long camp at ZOE learning about the Great Commission and meeting the needs of people around us. Theyeven spent two days doing service projects in our local village!
We finished off with a busy week of English classes, life skills and purity - each of which give our kids tangible and necessary skills and experiences as they grow up and get ready to leave ZOE and face the world.
Every year we try and do something new and exciting, and this year was no different... Our kids and youth came each day with excitement and anticipation for what the day could hold! We all made new memories, no doubt! And when we came expectant to hear from God, He spoke!
I haven’t stopped thinking about it...I am reminiscing on the goodness of our God and all He accomplished this last month. Thank you, Lord!