Well well well, what a crazy few weeks.
Our lad’s trip to Wales from Wednesday 29th to Saturday 1st was an incredible time, to say the least. About 50 of us trecked off to Snowdonia with just under 40 12-17 year olds and 11 leaders to stay in an activity centre.
What happened well exceeded our three main aims- to meet God, to make friends and to have a ton of fun in the sun. We couldn’t have had enough faith to plan what happened.
Each day had a different theme (God, identity, adventure, then relaxing on the Saturday) and a packed schedule (including scheduled free time) kept us focused. Each daytime activity, night walk and mountaineering excursion in some way fed into the day’s theme. After tea on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings we split the lads by age group and had an hour long ‘Word’ session then all came together for ‘The Boiler Room’ (in the lounge, confusing, I know), in which we loosened up a bit with praise songs, worshipped and generally chipped in as God led us. Each evening was finished with a night walk or singing, hot chocolate & marshmallows around the campfire.
Friday’s Boiler Room was where it all really happened though. We’d been dancing, singing, speaking stuff that God gave us to say and about an hour in we called an optional response time for anyone that wanted to stay. The lights dimmed right down (to make it less daunting to step out) and us leaders went to the middle of the room, ready for anyone to come forward who wanted to pray or talk with us.
Some left and with about 30 of us in the room we started praying in twos and threes, some still quietly singing songs as it continued. It was after one lad who we wouldn’t have expected prayed out quite vulnerably that people around started crying, very gently and quietly. The presence of God was tangible; heavy, rich and beautiful.
And so some good christian teenage lads wept, convicted of their sin. Needless to say it was a time of breakthrough. I counted twenty that we’d prayed for or were praying for each other and the typically “cooler” lads were worshipping like they meant it. The fire fell, quietly and unmistakably. It really was a boiler room.
After nearly three hours in the Boiler Room we adjourned to a late campfire to continue, jamming around the fire. Jake got his saxophone out and others drummed, strummed or danced around the fire or just chatted.
Near the end of the campfire Chris (one of the leaders) pulled me aside, saying “hey Aidan, come check this out!” He led me back towards the activity centre and we looked in through one of the windows to a downstairs room. A group of lads were sitting in a circle talking. “I saw them in here and assumed they were up to no good.” Explained Chris. “So I stuck my head in and asked “what you up to lads?” John said he’d decided to get them all together for a prayer meeting!” Most of the lads he’d got involved had missed the long response time and he wanted them to experience what God had done in him. Amazing. That’s what I call movement.
Now there’s a momentum of teenage lads finding Jesus and praying for each other, with some getting baptised every few weeks, I know of 6 so far. We’ve started a Facebook group for the lads to keep in touch and their comments make for thrilling reading.