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Country Madness participants dig in at the sandcastle competition Photo: Supplied

A mad weekend: Country kids on camp

When young people from the country get together to do everything from abseiling to bread making to learning about God, mad things happen. Steve Molkentin reports on Country Madness.

Challenge, community and commitment were on the agenda for the more than 50 young people and their leaders who gathered at Seaforth Pines Outdoor Education and Conference Centre north of Mackay in May for the first Country Madness camp.

The camp was inspired by the Rendezvous camps formerly run in the region by Central Queensland Presbytery, and tied in with the Synod’s Easter Madness camp theme. It was a weekend that saw lives changed and the work of Jesus become real for many.

Country Madness director and minister at Northside and Seaforth Uniting Church in Mackay Rev Wayne McHugh wanted to provide an environment where young people could meet, share experiences and develop a deeper understanding of their relationship with Jesus.

“We went into Country Madness believing it was God’s idea, but not knowing what to expect,” says Wayne.

Country Madness gave participants the chance to stretch themselves in a number of ways as they took part in activities and electives such as abseiling, basic car repair, craft, Bible study and digital discipleship. The bread-making session proved so popular that both groups made enough rolls for dinner on Saturday night.

The worship, input and community times were also a highlight for many.

Guest speaker Lael Piteau, previously with the YWAM Discipleship Training School, delivered a series of messages across the weekend particularly around prayer and the reality of Jesus.

“She really challenged us all to dig deeper into our faith and showed us how every day we can and need to be living our relationship with God,” says Emily, a Year 12 student from Aitkenvale Uniting Church.

The campers and leaders were all challenged to the discipline of praying for each other for physical and spiritual healing, and the small groups allowed for further conversation and prayer as God moved powerfully throughout the weekend.

“God did some stuff that really got people’s attention and there were certainly some first-time experiences with God,” says Wayne. “We are already loaded with enthusiasm for 2018!”

Steve Molkentin is digital youth discipleship project officer for the Queensland Synod.

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