Well let’s take a look back at MYC (even though it’s been a whole week already), but at least now we get to look at those five days as a whole and to see just how the camp has affected me. It might be little, it might be a lot; let’s see.
Well it was definitely the first time I was not driven to camp and had to take public transport; it indeed was hard to drag all my stuff onto and off the train; definitely hard to manoeuvre my stuff in-between passengers till there was a spot that wasn’t interfering with someone else. But it was definitely fun to have been with other campers on the train and having all our stuff piled into one car of the train. This was particularly the case on the trip back home where we probably packed out like half the train; randoms tried not to come into our car and they would just casually walk through and on to the next car once they saw it infested with Asians and what might have actually been their homes haha!
A fair amount of socializing was happening on the train; I was particularly warmed by the friendly atmosphere that was created on the train to camp; before any of us were actually motivated through the camp. It’s good to know that everyone was so friendly on a regular basis; I later met up these people at camp and yeah we continued having good discussion with one another.
For one thing, the people that came to camp created a wonderful friendly atmosphere. Although now that everyone is in university, there was already some segregation but in general having a connection through one person was good enough to enlarge the group of friends so eventually it became very easy to mix amongst each other; and across faculties as well. On that note, it’s funny how the segregation of faculties was sort of encouraged throughout camp. Not only were the seminars and study groups split into faculties. And then there was a lot of patriotism like during the general meetings; everyone would cry out their faculty and on the whole there was a lot of sledging of the Engineers; especially about them not being good at English and hence not being to write poetry. And of course at the end of the camp they did sort of have the last laugh with that weird Sunshine Mountain stunt.
But other than that groups eventually started growing large for meals and for free time, and I got to meet heaps of new people who were friends of my friends; it’s interesting to see how we as Christians can be so tightly connected; or is it also because we are all Asian? Haha!
The only segregation was probably between the different ethnic groups; I guess that’s something common in society anyway and perhaps there was nothing that we could’ve done to say “break down the cultural barrier”. There was a large diversity of people at MYC, if you consider the different groups; whether it be faculty or ethnicity, so many different groups of students/graduates. Well you can see them all in one of videos on Facebook; our faculty/group chants at the very beginning of camp.
The vibrant atmosphere was also created by music, as it always should. The worship team I guess was alright; an interesting mix of electric guitar with classical and wind instruments, it makes Christian music sound a little different than usual. I didn’t like their songs all too much, some were addicting but nevertheless it did create the atmosphere for me. But it was heaps far from the RICE feeling haha, if that is something we can dub now; the worship team still managed to do its job. They were well rehearsed that’s for sure and for all their effort we probably gave them too little credit.
There was something I had hoped to gain from MYC, apart from making new friends and learning more theology. Most people come to camp wanting some sort of spiritual healing I suppose; and this year I had found my spiritual blemish I had hoped would be cured by MYC. But to do that MYC needed to be a really good camp; so good that I would undeniably place the week at the best week of my life; huge expectations, potentially low success rate of healing. I guess I just needed it to help me forget about my former best week of my life at another camp, because it’s been tainted by hurt now. Hard to explain but please bear with it.
Throughout the week at MYC I kept making comparisons between both camps, always wondering if I could forget the other camp and keep memories of MYC as the best week of my life. I guess the pain inside really makes people desperate to do whatever it takes to get rid of it; even if it means trashing memories. But I guess after the camp, MYC didn’t give me enough emotional hype to compare with the other camp, and somehow I felt like I wasn’t healed by the camp and hence it somewhat seemed a waste of time. However, there was a night where instead of making MYC better for me, it made the other camp worse for me, downgrading my best five days of my life. And perhaps through something as awkward as that; the MYC week really can compare with the other week at no. 1. I’m still a bit confused at which camp constitutes the best five days of my life, but perhaps I am biasing for MYC because I want to remove my bad memories.
Looking at all the things I’ve learned at camp, I’m fairly impressed; it was more than I had expected. But of course that’s me being arrogant. I wasn’t really sure what more I could learn about the cross, and on the first few nights I was wondering whether MYC was trying to make the cross itself as important as Jesus or something. But as the week went on I realized that they were merely highlighting all the amazing things that happened at the cross. And so we can now use the cross as an event or location that signifies a lot of important theological things.
But apart from what we learned in particular; I was more interested in the manner in which it was taught. The night talks as I’ve said before were extremely long, it was rather hard to sit through them without losing focus for a second. Perhaps it was from the lack of sleep prior to and during the camp. I personally don’t really like the structure of Carl’s talks; I don’t really see the logical flow in his talk. Sure he makes good points but I feel like he doesn’t link his points that well; it was somewhat hard to follow his talks and of the things I’ve learned at MYC, I can only vaguely the point itself rather than “related” points around it.
The seminars were rather interesting as they walked us through methods of actually studying the Bible, in particular systematic theology. It did involve a lot of reading of passages as one would expect from studying the Bible. The seminars were rather long as well and the workload seemed fairly heavy. I guess all the learning was really intense because after a mere half hour break after the seminar we had Bible studies for another hour and a half.
The Bible study was rather hard. One, because we didn’t have any leaders with us; two, because it was presented in that odd manuscript form; and three, it was ESV. Well as for the last point I am not a fan of the English Standard Version of the Bible. Our pastor always taught us that the best translation is NIV – New International Version. But of course when it comes down to it, being able to read Greek is your best bet for the Bible. Anyway the passage was sort of hard to read; I kind of wished I had remembered this passage a little better. Picking up one of the epistles out of the blue was fairly challenging especially for me since I’m weak in trying to work out the timeline of Paul’s work. I think we struggled a bit through the passage because we all had different views and at times one of us would have to relent our view for another person; but because both sides were argued equally there wasn’t really a way to work out which might be the more plausible interpretation of the text; which is where things would’ve been easier had we more guidance from a leader who had studied the passage. I wasn’t the least tempted through the same passage in my own NIV Bible even though I knew it would’ve helped. At the end of the week I don’t think we really studied the passage all too well, but that’s okay; luckily we had some basic findings and interpretations on the passage already and that helps us in our studies (by that I’m referring to the headings in the Bible; they’re not really meant to be there).
After the Bible studies we also had those elective sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday; those were really good to sit through. And when you invite proper speakers to take us through a topic such as apologetics or homosexuality, you would expect it to be good and I am very pleased at what I picked up from those two electives. I can say that most of the stuff I’ve learned at camp was from those electives.
Merroo seemed like a small campsite but then if it could accommodate 500 people it must’ve been space efficient rather than small. Also there seemed to be other campers like on the other side of the campsite; so I guess Merroo was rather large, it was surrounded by grazing fields full of cows and sheep. There weren’t many facilities on site but then that’s not what Merroo was for; it’s not a recreation centre of course.
Moving on from the campsite as a whole; the rooms were fairly nice; the heaters were a bit weak but at least we managed to survive through the chilly nights with them. The toilets and showers were a bit strange because the doors had broken locks; at least they stayed closed. And one thing I was really thankful for was hot water; at least our showers were hot. You have no idea how back a cold can make the night seem; but a hot shower changed everything around for me haha!
Onto food, like I’ve said in the other posts the food was relatively good compared to next gen food; that was the worst haha! But the food here at MYC was manageable; thinking back, the food wasn’t even close to “gourmet” and another problem was that it didn’t always fill. I remember nights where I was cursed with a small plate of meat with other vegetables that I didn’t like and had to go back for seconds and even thirds to get full. The dessert was on most occasions alright, just remembering that the first night was mediocre; apple crumble that was really watery with apple juice. The best food at camp the entire week would in fact be the gravy on Wednesday and Thursday, it tasted really nice and make our average food heaps easier to stomach haha!
Their morning tea wasn’t too bad either; they made cake for us; it’s ordinary but it tasted pretty good. And there was like chocolate cake as well, that was really nice hehe. One good thing about the dining area was that there were many stations to get drinks and tea and coffee; they had stands at every corner of the room that had a variety of tea bags, with milk and sugar, etc. People would just go over there to grab a cup of coffee, the now standard norm of university life haha!
Well I suppose that’s all the major components of this camp. I think I find weird as I reflect on this camp is that I can’t find a theme song for it; not one that stands out. I normally do; perhaps I’m becoming older and I’m changing. But there’s more to this camp; I’m talking about the aftermath and I suppose that will have to come in another post regarding the start of university this semester. The camp was as enjoyable as people said and I got enough out of it in terms of what I expected I guess. I’m definitely going again next year; and also glad that I missed my Actuarial camp for MYC; it was a heaps better choice to build up strong Christian connections rather than with people from my class, I don’t think that those people would really be helpful in the long run. But I know the people I’ve met at MYC will.