This year we took 49 young people away on our annual residential at Tom Roberts Adventure Centre (TRAC) in Newent and we had an amazing time. Our theme of the week was ‘How Jesus changed my Life’; with different young leaders sharing their testimony each night, as well as a different speaker sharing how Jesus had changed their life and how he wanted to change the young people’s lives too. I’m always so amazed at the power of hearing stories of how God has changed people, with the young people moved by each story. I’m grateful for the openness of everyone who shared.
One of my highlights was the campfire on the Saturday night, with the kids hanging out together, enjoying laughing with each other – it was just a great atmosphere. After the talent show, we gathered around the fire and I asked if anyone felt comfortable to share a highlight of the week, both spiritually and generally. The responses were incredible, with more than 1 young person sharing that before TRAC, they didn’t have many friends and have come away with lots of new friends. Another young person shared that they came to TRAC an outright atheist and now felt that there was no way there couldn’t be a God and others sharing how they now follow Jesus too. I asked if the young people would be willing to raise their hand if they became Christian for the first time at TRAC, with 7 of them doing so, and a further 24 putting their hands up to show a recommitted to Jesus.
The team and volunteers were amazing and gave their all, yes we did have some tough times on the camp but as I was reflecting on the camp with my wife, we were saying the tough and troubled kids need this camp, they don’t get these opportunities elsewhere and I’m so glad they came because they heard that they were priceless, and that God loves them just as much as everyone else.
Below are a few quotes from young people who joined us:
‘I’ve never really felt loved by anyone other than family, and listening to everyone’s story I can see God loves me’ (Nailsworth)
‘By hearing the different stories my view of God has changed and there have been times when I needed to put my trust in God’ (Beacon)
‘I believe in God a lot more than I did before’ (Stonehouse)
‘I used to be on Journey 1 (living life without God) I knew he was there but didn’t explore my faith enough. I now have an urge to read the bible more + be more like Jesus’ (Thameshead)
‘I feel closer to him and I am going to try harder to include him in my life’ (Out of Area)
PSALMS will be heading back to TRAC next year, between Wednesday 22nd – Sunday 26th July 2020.
Andy Poole (PSALMS Sports Minister, 2019)