Missioneering Amsterdam
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Rafael Youth Weekend: “Love is… Possible”

For the past several years, I have had the joy of participating in the national youth camp for Rafael Netherlands.  It is a yearly weekend in October where hundreds of youth from 12 to 25 years of age come together for frienship, fun, and spiritual growth.  This year, I joined the leadership team to help lead worship with the band.

The theme of the weekend was “Love is… Possible.”  Receiving the love of God is what makes sharing love possible.  Love exists as both receiving and giving.  My dear friend Marco deBruin (he and his wife Paulien are the national youth leaders), felt prompted to consider the theme, and what the “…” in between the receiving and giving meant.  In preparation, he shared with the leaders that this represented silence in the presence of God.  In other words, we need to allow space in our lives to “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  As a way of putting this into practice, the camp set aside a prayer chapel during the whole camp for youth to enter, be silent, pray, read scripture, and journal.  The camp is hosted at a beautiful Catholic monastery/retreat center in the South of Holland, and the staff allowed us to use their beautiful chapel for this purpose.  It was wonderful to see youth take time each day in the chapel.  In a generation which is becoming more “time compressed” and pushed to achieve, and perform, I find that there is a great need and hunger for youth to slow down their frenetic lives to experience the presence and voice of God in this way.

One evening, as the band was finishing one of our worship songs, everyone became very still and silent.  This was not directed from the podium, but it was a spontaneous response to the presence of God.  Over 200 12-25 year olds became very still and very silent for several minutes.  Anyone who has worked with teens knows that this is very unusual!  The following morning, many youth shared with the rest of the camp about how they felt comforted, encouraged, and loved by God during the time of silence the previous night.  Many experienced God speaking directly to them about their identity and healing broken places in their lives.  All went from the camp feeling a greater capacity to both receive and give the love of God.

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