15th June 2024

Epic Youth Camp and Autumn Roundups

Colour and Faith on Display at Epic Youth Camp

According to campers, the biggest highlights of Epic 2024, a Baptist youth camp held at Camp Wilkin Anglesea in the April school holidays, were the worship sessions, the Bible teaching, and the ‘Colour Wars’ where young people enjoyed splashing coloured chalk onto each other.

The event is run by Baptist Camping Victoria (BCV) and this year’s theme was “The Gathering: Jesus full of Grace and Truth!” which was communicated by the presenters through both biblical and individual experience. Torquay Christian Fellowship Associate Pastor Michael Brew, focused on the father of Prodigal Son, who did the unthinkable, embracing and reinstating his son, even after he’d disowned his family and wished his dad harm.

OneHope Baptist Church’s Geelong Youth Worker Jess Box shared her personal experiences as a follower of Jesus and taught campers that we cannot paint an accurate picture of Jesus with our lives while our eyes are fixed on the passions of this world.

“The analogy Jess created was very powerful and many youths re-examined their lives as the gentle presence of the Lord worked in hearts and minds,” said BCV Ministry Manager, Fiona Simcoe.

Fiona spoke on Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus, who sought to “see” Jesus despite the crowd’s opposition. “Jesus knew that both men desired to know him, and Jesus was not influenced by the opinion of the crowds but responded with grace and truth to both of them.”

A highlight for the 12 leaders and 6 trainee leaders was to see the authenticity of relationships between the 53 youths, and their responses to Jesus. One camper accepted Christ as their Saviour, and a further three decided to be baptised – one during camp and two upon returning to their home church. Many youths rededicated their lives to follow Christ; more than 20 Bibles and new Christian Thrive Bible study tools were distributed throughout the week.

One camper said the leaders were “amazing, beautiful and God-gifted”. “I’m just so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend a week with such awesome people. Thank you for the ongoing support and encouragement that each and every one of you provided to every single youth member that was there. You all are such kind people and I can truly see God working through you in many ways.”

Another young person said they looked forward to Epic every year, particularly the worship – an opinion shared by many. Another said the teaching had encouraged reflection on relationships that had a negative impact on their lives.

Other program highlights included tribal wars; beach games; a “big day out”, a creative painting workshop on the river; op shopping; a visit to the ice creamery; and a challenging beach walk.

“All of the leaders had incredible energy,” Fiona said. “The youths were so keen to worship and spend time learning from the word of God.”

Roundup Camps Buzzing with Action

Autumn Roundups at Mill Valley Ranch (MVR) saw 130 ranchers and 60 vollies attend this much loved BCV site, enjoying the changing autumn weather.

“We have been known to say that Autumn Roundups are a mixture of summer and winter, and that was true this year.  We had both sunny days enjoying the lake and cozy times around the fireplace in the barn,” reflected MVR Ministry Coordinator, Lloyd McLean.

The chapel speaker in the first week was Andrew Fox (Foxy), who focused on the theme of “Amazing”. He shared a variety of ways that people are created to be amazing by an amazing God, and about Easter being the most amazing event in history. In the second week, Hayley Meredith reminded campers that everyone has a story to share, and that God invites us to be a part of His story. She shared part of her own story, and how following God doesn’t always mean that everything is fixed but He promises to be with us in whatever we face.

“Across the holidays it was such a blessing to see at least 19 ranchers making a decision to follow Jesus – six of those for the first time. We were also privileged to be able to give away 32 Bibles to Ranchers who did not have one,” Lloyd said.

One rancher said: “Mill Valley has helped steer me into the pathway of Christ whenever I turn away! Also seeing everyone being there for one another during worship night, whether it was a friend or someone they’ve never spoken to before – it was really beautiful and it is clear to see that this is a camp that brings people together no matter their differences. I feel like Mill Valley has become

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