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June 2014

Teens get their hands and feet dirty

  • Written by  Ian Anderson
High School discipleship camp TeenStreet is getting bigger every year. Photo: Provided

TeenStreet is a high school camp with a difference. It’s a week-long discipleship camp where teenagers spend time every day in complete silence, sit with the elderly in nursing homes, and end up in Nepal.

While spending half-an-hour in solitary silence is not the norm for most teenagers, it’s one of the highlights for campers at TeenStreet.

“‘Shhh Time’ is my favourite part of the camp,” said one camper. “It’s amazing how God really speaks to me in that time.”

Along with these times alone with God, teens are profoundly impacted by the in-depth teaching sessions and the worship nights in the ‘Throne Room’.

“The ‘Throne Room’ has been a very strong and stretching place for me,” one teen said. “Opening my hands and giving all my cares to God. It’s been a big challenge, but a big blessing.”

“I came to TeenStreet in a state where I had been pushing God away and trying to hate Him for things that have been going on,” said another teen. “Coming here has made me realise that it doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past, or what I’m thinking of doing, God is still going to accept me and He’s still going to have His arms wide open for me.”

Run by international mission organisation Operation Mobilisation, TeenStreet grew rapidly in countries all over the world after it began in Germany.

Today, thousands of teenagers across the globe are being taught the importance of reflecting the love of Jesus wherever they are.

They are also introduced to cross-cultural mission and each small group are given a missionary to pray for and write to. Each year, during one afternoon, the camp runs a program called ‘Hands and Feet’.

“The purpose of ‘Hands and Feet’ is for teens to experience what it means to serve the community,” said Danielle, a camp leader. “It’s an opportunity for local missions, and for teens to step out of their comfort zone.”

In previous years, campers have visited nursing homes, run afternoon sports in Gatton and an outreach with JC Epidemic at Warwick, cleaned backyards and even painted homes.

One Gatton resident hit hard by the floods of 2011 was particularly impacted by a group of boys who painted her garage.

“It’s unbelievable that, even after all this time, someone is prepared to come and help out,” she said.

Following the 2012 TeenStreet, a group of campers and leaders stepped even further out of their comfort zone and embarked on a mission trip to Nepal, where they trekked from village to village, sharing the Gospel and distributing Bibles.

“This trip was a life changing experience,” said camper and leader, Liam. “I learnt to always be dependant on God.”

Starting in Warwick in 2010 with 70 teens, TeenStreet has grown rapidly over the last 4 years. Next month’s camp at the University of Queensland Gatton campus is expected to attract over 200 campers.

Teens have been so impacted by the camp that they return to serve as leaders once they have finished high school.

“It’s really set a passion in my heart for seeing teens grow in God the same why I have,” said Josh, who has been a camper, then leader, at every TeenStreet.

“We are happy to send our young people to TeenStreet because it gives them the same thing it gives my daughters,” said Ps. Jeff Bails from Rangeville Community Church, “and that is an opportunity to see God in a much bigger way and to see the Christian community as much bigger than just the local church.”

If you or your teenager are looking for a life-changing week, registrations are still open for campers and leaders.

Visit www.teenstreet.org.au for more info and to register.

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