The Pathfinder Camporee at the beginning of this year continues to be a source of amazing stories of God’s leading and blessing.  We love hearing how much the 700 Pathfinders (and 600 adults) enjoyed their time together but the 469 decisions for bible studies and 213 decisions for baptism reveal just how truly impacting this event was.  Please continue to pray for the pastors, youth leaders, parents and chaplains who are following up these decisions of precious young people all across New Zealand, Cook Island, New Caledonia and French Polynesia.

One of the great things that God does is bless everyone who comes together for his glory and purpose.  This also extended to the many teams who came together to serve as staff at the Camporee.  One such team was the Christchurch drama group who prepared and shared an ongoing story about Jesus and his lesser known disciples for each night’s worship.  This team of young people and adults met weekly for six months to prepare for this creative ministry.

At the end of Camporee, the drama team came together to debrief and share together what they got out of the experience.  All agreed that being brought together with likeminded people with one mission to do ministry through drama had been a wonderful and exciting opportunity.  Olivia Tooley shared that what she got the most out of was being part of a team and the fellowship, worships and getting to know a wider range of people that entailed.  Yvanna Boulton elaborated it was the relationships formed with this range of people that was so valuable; “we were thrown together with people we normally wouldn’t but became like this little family”.  Harley Thoroughgood added it was the support and closeness of the team in helping each other through lots of different times, not just in drama but also through things going on in their personal lives, that created an amazing bond.

Devon Steenberg, who played the character of Thaddeus, shared how much he enjoyed being on stage with drama ministry; “people can see a Bible story being brought to life and relate to your character and what’s going on to learn something God is trying to tell them”.  Olivia Tooley loved that “the audience had a chance to see Jesus in a new way and take different messages away by applying their own ideas and experiences to the characters and situations they saw”.  Harley Thoroughgood, who played the role of Bartholomew, liked being able to portray real life problems or struggles through characters that lived 2000 years ago but which are still relevant for life in our current time and place.  Yvanna Boulton, who played the role of Mary of Bethany, adds that she was surprised what the audience got out of the drama.  Some nights it felt that the audience was distracted or not fully engaged but Pathfinders would talk to members of the team afterwards to share their favourite characters, reflect on what they had been learning from the drama, and explaining what they got out of it.  There was a tangible sense of God using this creative ministry to speak powerfully into the lives of the Pathfinders.

God also powerfully spoke into the lives of the drama team members.  Harley shares this experience from night two: “The team got something really cool out of night two which we didn’t expect.  For that scene, the mics went down and chopped it up.  It had been our strongest scene and having it fall flat really blew our confidence.  But even though the scene didn’t go well, we still had kids coming up afterwards and telling us they understood the message.  This reaction helped us see the big picture and gave us the challenge to not trust in ourselves and the equipment.  It helped us to trust God more.  It led us to pray even more about what we were doing and know we were doing it for God, not ourselves.  We were relaying a message for him and he would help us do this for him, no matter what happened on stage”.

The journey for this drama ministry team was a great reminder of the power and desire of God to work through anyone who is willing to serve him through their gifts.  That we are blessed as we are a blessing is an incredible part of sharing Jesus.  This beautiful spiritual truth was just another one of the incredible things that came out of what God was doing at the Pathfinder Camporee.

– Pr Lance Boulton, NZ Tertiary Student & Young Professional Ministry