What a great weekend! The NALC Canadian Mission District Youth Gathering, May 17-20 at LCBI High School and Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Outlook, Saskatchewan, was a fantastic experience with over 100 people in attendance, including more than 70 youth, as well as chaperones, pastors, musicians and camp/school representatives coming from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
Gathered around the theme, “Love Large,” this event was filled with great music, an inspiring speaker, mission work, delicious food and crazy fun games.
Worship music was led by Murray and Kirstin Sutcliffe, Kenny Olson and Curtis Akre. Their music was such a blessing to everyone. We also had Doug Rawling and his band join us on Saturday night for a concert. This concert also highlighted Wilderness Ranch Camp in southern Alberta. The Bethlehem Lutheran Church youth band did an amazing job of leading the worship on Sunday morning as well.
Our main speaker, Gary Pecuch, and his wife, Laurie, were a blessing to us throughout the weekend. Gary shared about the skills and tools we need as Christians to effectively live our lives as disciples of Christ. This includes having biblical self-esteem, processing our daily job description, choosing standards to live by, being thankful and having a personal ministry plan.
Amidst all of this, he emphasized the importance of intergenerational learning and growing in faith. This is part of his Faith Webbing concept, which connects people of all ages allowing us to grow stronger as a church and as believers.
On Saturday afternoon the youth were split into groups and were sent out to “Love Large” in the community of Outlook. There were groups that visited retirement homes and long-term care at the hospital. There were groups that picked up garbage in town, picked weeds and planted flowers at Bethlehem. One group got to try out quilting with our ladies as well as packing “We Care kits” for Canadian Lutheran World Relief.
The meals over the weekend were prepared by Julianna Friggstad and her staff. She did a fantastic job and we are so thankful for her work!
We also want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Bethlehem Lutheran that set up, cleaned up and provided food for the snacks that were enjoyed in the afternoons and evenings.
Another highlight of the weekend was the larger- than-life games. These games included life-sized Hungry Hippo, Dutch Blitz, Jenga, Kerplunk, Snakes and Ladders, and Human Fooseball. There was also a pool noodle war, Epic Ball, glow-in-the-dark capture the flag and more. Sunday also included a giant inflatable obstacle course and a huge inflatable Velcro soccer dart board.
Some of the best parts of a weekend like this are the relationships and connections that are made. When the Church is united in His love, we are able to build one another up and encourage each other in faith.
We hope that many of our youth and adults will plan to attend next year’s youth gathering on the May long weekend at Mulhurst Camp in Mulhurst, Alberta. The theme is “Be Thou My Vision 2020!”