I spent the past week in a remote village with no cell service or internet; coincidentally, we also lost electricity and running water for 36 hours, which authenticated the experience 😉 In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed the (unanticipated) opportunity to disconnect from social media, my business, and the stress of formulating plans for my rapidly approaching return home. It was simply me, a bunch of new friends, and God. Can it get much better??
To start the week’s recap, let me provide some background info. InTouch camps have been occurring throughout Europe for decades. This annual event is a chance to connect for anyone who is currently serving with YWAM, who previously served with YWAM, who knows someone serving with YWAM, or is simply interested in YWAM. I met people who have been in ministry for 40+ years, people who did a DTS and then returned to the workforce, and people who only found out about YWAM a few months ago and sought a different type of ‘vacation’. Not sure which group I fall into, but I certainly got a great deal out of the camp!
Our speaker for the week was a South African man named Stefaan. He’s been through all sorts of different positions within YWAM and graciously used his extensive experiences to share with us about the Holy Spirit. I think my biggest appreciation was the in-depth, focused study on the Holy Spirit. Most of the material was familiar but scattered in my mind. This week unified it all and added examples and testimonies that I will be unlikely to forget. Check out my notes below 🙂
The week was conducted like a mini-DTS; we had breakfast together, worship & teaching all morning, lunch, free time, dinner, and then an evening activity. We all shared responsibilities for cleaning throughout the week and had considerable freedom in the afternoons to sightsee, play sports, or visit the camp cafe. Aside: I quite enjoyed my time, which leaves me encouraged that I would enjoy a DTS in the future if I decide to pursue that.
Stefaan’s testimonies of the Holy Spirit were incredibly powerful and inspiring. I definitely teared up a time or two. This all led to Stefaan asking us to be willing to allow the Spirit to move in us and through us. So Thursday night, we had a time of giving. All afternoon we prayed that God would reveal at least one specific gift for a specific person. I created unique art pieces inspired by the stories and ventures of three different people I met. It’s a shame I forgot to photograph those, but the photo at the top of this post is one more I created for a camp organizer because of how much she loved my art. Seriously the sweetest woman.
And then Friday, we had a ‘Holy Spirit party’. I entered very uncertain of what to expect. However, it was mild yet empowering. We began by writing out all the things holding us back from allowing God full access to our hearts. We then ripped those up and inflated a balloon to symbolize us growing out of those hindrances. And then we popped those balloons to symbolize complete surrender. We spent time praying and took communion in acknowledgment of how our cup overflows with never-ending blessings. And then we prayed to receive gifts of the Spirit, like healing and wisdom. Oh, and we celebrated three baptisms as well! It was pretty cool.
All in all, this week was wonderful for me. I’m thankful for the connections I’ve made with peers and older missionaries alike. I am inspired and empowered by hearing stories of how very real and active the Spirit is. And I am encouraged to continue pursuing God in whatever my next step is.
Coming up next week: It’s my last week here! Thus, I’ll be finishing up some projects, running errands, and meeting up with some folks before I leave. We’re having a planning meeting tomorrow morning so we can lay out details. I’m sad my time is coming to a close, but I’m determined to finish well!