April 7, 2019
West Coast Youth Challenge
Just over one hundred campers and staff from various Apostolic Faith churches met for the 2019 West Coast Youth Challenge, an annual retreat for single people ranging in age from high school through about age thirty. This year, the event was held over the first weekend of April. The theme was “The Plan for Your Life – Fully Known,” and the promise from Jeremiah 29:11 was presented in various ways throughout the weekend.
Everyone arrived at Kellogg Spring Camp’s beautiful mountaintop campground in Oakland, Oregon, before dinner Friday evening. All the wonderful meals throughout the weekend were provided by the campsite staff, and each meal provided an opportunity for the campers to enjoy hearty fellowship in the dining hall.
The first session of the weekend began shortly after dinner and was presented by the youth challenge coordinators, Andy and Tina Chasteen of Medford, Oregon. After a time of singing, a lesson titled “Fully Known – God’s Plan for Me” illustrated the vital importance of having a life-changing experience at the foot of the Cross. At one point, the audience was divided into teams with staff members serving as team leaders, and they had an opportunity to share their own testimonies with their teams. Following this, everyone watched a skit which illustrated the importance of listening to God and allowing Him to lead your life. In closing, the campers were challenged to make sure they knew they were saved and that God had full control of their futures, and a time of sweet prayer followed. Later in the evening, the campground’s gymnasium was made available for basketball while snacks and fellowship took place in the cafeteria.
Following breakfast on Saturday morning, Terrance and Mieisha Scott from Seattle, Washington, shared an extended version of their testimonies. Sister Mieisha told how God had wonderfully saved her from a life of drug addiction. Then Brother Terrance related how God delivered him from the destructive path his life was taking (read a portion of his testimony here). He emphasized that the entire direction of one’s life can be altered by a single decision, and he challenged the young people to make the choice to serve God. Following these wonderful testimonies, the campers were divided by age into two separate groups. John Baros of Medford, spoke to the high schoolers while Randy Lee, also of Medford, spoke to the older campers. They shared their testimonies and made the point that God can lead people’s lives when they allow Him to do so, and entire consecration is a critical ingredient to experiencing the fullness of the Gospel.
Following lunch, Harlan and Debbie Lee from Roseburg, Oregon, led a session about how the Bible is the road map to get through life. Brother Harlan started with a short presentation about the origin and contents of the Bible, which helped to explain why the Apostolic Faith Church uses the King James Version. A “sword drill” competition took place in which teams raced to locate verses from the Bible. The conclusion of the lesson was that as a road map through life, the Bible provides direction and answers in times of need. This session was followed by free time during which several campers gathered in the gymnasium for a lively game of “human foosball.”
Later in the afternoon, Brother Andy and Sister Tina led separate sessions for young men and young women where they explained God’s plan for marriage, stressing God’s requirement to lead holy and pure lives. They highlighted the word “know” in the Bible, translated from the Hebrew yada, the meaning of which includes “to know,” “to be known,” and “to be deeply respected.” They pointed out that this word is used both in Genesis 4:1, “Adam knew his wife,” and in Psalm 139:1, “O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me” (emphasis added). They finished their talks with a call to purity and let everyone know that it is possible to be forgiven if one has sinned in this area.
Following dinner, a youth service was held in the chapel, which included singing and a time for testimonies. Several bore witness to the power of God in their lives. Peter Sletmoe from Grants Pass, Oregon, gave a message based on Philippians 3:10 and explained that gaining a closer walk with God requires entire consecration. He said the approaching Easter season is a reminder of the example Jesus provided when He willingly laid down his life for all of humanity on the Cross. A time of prayer followed the service. Later on, there was once again an opportunity for campers to enjoy basketball in the gymnasium and snacks and fellowship in the cafeteria. Some board games also provided for lively fellowship!
The final session took place on Sunday morning after breakfast. Pierre and Michelle Hancock of Los Angeles, California, spoke of the critical need for consistent personal devotional times, and gave helpful ideas to increase the impact it has on one’s daily walk with the Lord. A group activity served to illustrate that everyone can improve in this area. A culminating thought borrowed a line from Brother Terrance’s testimony the previous day: In every area of one’s walk with God—including personal devotions—a single decision can change everything. The session ended with a time of prayer, and everyone left the event feeling challenged to make the choice to be ever more diligent in their walks with God.
(Mouse over the image to click through the album.)