24th Nov 2012. By Donna Uning, Kuching. CM –
Every Sunday morning for the last five weeks, the Children Ministry team at St. Faith’s Church, Kuching, has been vigorously registering children between the ages of 7 to 12 to its upcoming Children Prayer Camp 2012. As the school holidays started, the team enthusiastically crammed in the final touches, as well as last minute registrants to the camp. The theme of the camp this year is taken from Matthew 6:9, “Our Father in Heaven.”
On Sunday night, November 11, 2012 – the team, teachers, and all the youth helpers come in for a workshop at the church auditorium prior to the camp. The team and members of other parishes participating broke fast together at the church before massing in a spirit-filled prayer session led by the Children Ministry’s Superintendent Anna Richard. At the workshop, participants were also reminded of the camp’s purpose and focus; teaching the children about who their Father in heaven is, why they should pray and how they can hear from God.
The children at the prayer camp during praise and worship.
The Children Prayer Camp brought in St. Faith’s Church members from the various language groups including the English, Bahasa Malaysia (MBM), Iban (MJI) and Chinese ministries. The camp also brought in children, teachers and helpers from St. John’s Church, Ta’ee, St. Thomas’s Cathedral, Kuching, St. Augustine, Betong, St. Simon & St. Jude, Tian, and outreach group from Stutong, Kuching.
As one of the team members for the Children Prayer Camp 2012, I get to serve and share my experience firsthand.
Children are also taught to be independent during the camp; here, 6-year old Michelle washes her dishes after lunch.
Day 1: So, it begins. Before I get to sit at the registration table, children, parents, teachers and helpers had already begun to crowd the registration area before 8 am. As the registration area clears, the children, teachers and helpers ascended to the auditorium from their respective classrooms for the camp opening. St. Faith’s Church Vicar Reverend Canon Nelson Ugas officially opened the event. About 158 children, 50 helpers/youths, 30 teachers and 33 committee members attended the occasion.
Worship Leader, Wendy Wee, led the praise and worship session, as well as, teaching the campers the theme song, “Every time We Pray.” For the first session, speaker Superintendent Anna Richard touched on the topic “Who is our Father in Heaven?” She emphasized what the Vicar said earlier on how Jesus taught us how pray. She used the example of a person using the telephone. “You need to know who you are calling,” she said. Jesus tells us to call God our Father. One of the lessons that afternoon was to teach the children the names of God.
Team 10 working on their banner in the classroom.
There are 10 groups or teams of children, teachers and helpers for the camp. Along with the teaching, the groups are named after the ten names of God. God’s names represent His character, reputation and nature. “We know God by His character,” said Anna Richard. Not only did everyone learn the names of God and what they meant, everyone was also taught the sign language for each name.
With that, the groups are called Elohim or God mighty Creator, Adonay or Our Lord, Master, Yahweh Tsuri or Our God is our Rock, Yahweh Yireh or Our Lord will provide, Yahweh Rophe or The Lord who heals, Yahweh Nissi or The Lord our banner, Yahweh Tsebaoth or The Lord our Host, Yahweh Shalom or The Lord is peace, Esh Oklah, El Kanna or consuming fire, jealous God, and Yahweh Tsidkenu or The Lord our Righteousness. The children caught up very fast, especially when asked to repeat the ten names of God and the sign languages. The lessons were also taught in Bahasa Malaysia.
Superintendent Anna Richard teaching the children the sign language for Elohim, God Mighty Creator.
Continuing with her teaching, she reminded the children that in the Old Testament, God is a very far away God. When Jesus comes, He becomes our righteousness. He sent His Holy Spirit into our hearts to give us strength to serve Him. “Only when you accepted Him (Jesus), you are adopted by God into His family,” she said. When you accept Jesus as your savior, you are adopted into God’s family. You become His child and He becomes your heavenly Father. The session ended with an altar call.
Later in the afternoon, the children broke into their groups for some team games and banner-making projects. The campers left the church by 6 pm. Some guests from outside of Kuching, mainly from Betong, had been spending their last two nights at the church. After making sure all the children were picked up; and the classrooms cleared and cleaned, it was time to leave. The first day of the camp was only a prelude for so much more.