East Timor: NYI East Timor district held its first youth camp on 31 October – 3 November 2022. The district youth council planned and organized the event. The camp theme was “Dare to be Different,” which was taken from Romans 12:2. There were 87 youths who participated in the 3-day event. All were blessed in their experience, especially during times of worship, learning through workshops and seminars, and fellowship with fun and games.
The district youth council purposely chose to hold the camp during this time, which was the same time as East Timor’s celebration of “Finado Day.” On this day, East Timorese return to their hometowns to pray for blessings from the spirits of their ancestors and give offerings at shrines called “spirit houses.” The youth council wanted to use this opportunity to reach out to the young people and challenge them to “dare to be different.” This is really a step of faith for the committee and participants because some members of the community were not happy and tried to stop the event. But the youth leaders remained committed until the event was finished.
The organizers were also thankful for the overwhelming support of the local church pastors and district leaders. They were also thankful for the creativity and initiative of some local churches who went out of their way to raise funds, doing car washing and selling food. The school where the camp meeting was held also gave an affordable deal in support of the NYI ministry.
With the success of the youth camp, the district hopes to continue doing this at the same time every year and make it a National Youth Day across the Church of the Nazarene in East Timor. They also plan to be intentional in building better relationships with young people and their communities.
Praise God for what he is doing in East Timor. Pray that God will open more opportunities for the church to share the love of Christ with the East Timorese people.