It is a plane journey of about 13 hours, and the preparations brought the necessary challenges, says Grethe, one of the organisers of the trip. “We had already applied for the visas in March, but it was only just before the bus left for the airport that we heard that all visas had been approved. Even two participants whose passports were still at the embassy were able to board the plane at the last minute!” She considers it a miracle that they eventually arrived at conference venue Brunstad with the entire group.
During the youth conference (Easter Camp), Christian meetings alternate with activities for young people from all continents: from ice hockey, indoor football and volleyball to gaming, hiking and creative activities. But as fun as those activities are, the primary goal is the faith-building of the participant. Surely, the highlight was the theme night on 10 April!
“The theme evening on Easter made a big impression on us,” says Grethe. During that meeting, the Easter story came alive through drama, singing, dancing and animated videos. “That was extraordinarily good, the experience felt extra real in Brunstad’s main hall. It felt like we were there when it happened, some 2,000 years ago.”
Not just during this evening, but throughout the entire event, they imagined themselves briefly in the year 33 AD: the conference grounds exuded the atmosphere of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, with storytellers in period costumes, market stalls with Israeli food, Israeli music and sheep, goats and even a camel. There are many flats and bungalows on the grounds where visitors can stay during conferences, and some 400 families hospitably opened their cottages to guests from all kinds of countries. These international encounters with fellow believers were seen as hugely encouraging and faith-strengthening.
The evening meeting on Monday evening 11 April also made a big impression, says Grethe. The gospel was proclaimed with vigour, and the evening ended with a prayer meeting in which many young people prayed together and allowed themselves to be prayed for. “Many life-defining decisions were made during this meeting, and we believe that everyone from our group will never forget this trip,” she says.
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