Mid-Year Conference 2010 – Monday

Following on from the Sunday evening post, the story continues with me getting to bed around 11:30pm on Sunday, waking up at 4:30am on Monday to watch the FIFA finals; it was a complete disappointment, no goals up until like the last 15 minutes of extra time. Anyway, with all that time wasted, I quickly rushed to have breakfast; Brandon came to pick me up promptly after 7am, the game had barely ended before he came.

 

Brandon gathered with the rest of the Hills people at Matt Lam’s house where we set off with our convoy. Brandon drove everyone from my church and everyone else piled themselves in the other cars. Luckily none of us had any luggage left, since we all gave it to Rebecca the day before, except Nat who had a massive bag of…whatever girls need to bring to camp (eg: 3 extra pairs of shoes, thongs, ugg boots? o.0” are they really necessary). To spite Jess for making fun of my non-compactable bag that I normally bring to most other camps, I brought a smaller bag plus a few extra hand-held things, such as my black Yoshi, which later became a mascot for the duration of the first couple of days.

 

Skipping the car trip which was full of a restless Nat and her voice of excitement, we got to Merroo Conference Centre before 9:30am where we quickly moved in to help with setting up our Commerce registration desk. I guess we needed to be there early in order to help welcome the first years. We were told that there was going to be as many new first year students as there were of us second-years; now that’s a lot. In addition, it also means that the attendance from Commerce had nearly doubled since last year, since last year us first-years at the time pretty much dominated our Commerce CBS faculty.

 

Cabins

One of the things that didn’t seem to be going well at the start of camp was that cabins weren’t organised in the way that we had hoped it to be. Cabins of 8 bunks were split between multiple faculties, 4 from one faculty and 4 from others being the most common case. I guess it would’ve been better to split the cabins so that each room was full of only people from the one faculty for obvious reasons that people get along better that way. The other reason why it would’ve been better is because of sleeping arrangements; since groups of friends are happy to all sleep at the same time, then a whole cabin could coordinate the time they would go to sleep, rather than having to cater for the person who wanted to sleep the earliest. This caused some problems for the first couple of nights; some people couldn’t sleep, etc.

 

One of the more unruly things was that the first years (from our faculty) weren’t as self controlled as we would’ve hoped they would be, and so our entire faculty got a scolding after the first night when a bunch of people kept everyone else awake. Don’t really know all the details behind it and all but yeah, there were some minor issues with the cabins and all. Some of the girls also had dorms which had en suites; that’s quite…saddening for the rest of us who were stuck with the small toilet block that we normally have to use. The toilets here in Kurrajong were slightly better than the ones back up in Katoomba; the shower water was generally warm and the toilets were generally clean. Of course being small means that we had to share the toilets with everyone, resulting in long queues in the morning with the multitude of people lining up to have a shower.

 

Key thing to bring to every camp is a power board. It proved to be quite an important object last year; boys and their toys…all of which need recharging and all. All the cabins had heaters and they were normally enough to keep everyone warm through the still-winter nights. The beds themselves weren’t as clean as they appeared I suspect but they were comfortable enough, which is probably the most important thing.

 

Monday’s Program

To kick things off,once we settled into our cabins we came back to the auditorium to get into faculty groups and start off the formal introductions. We played a few icebreaker games at the beginning: we played the coin game again (just like at the start of last year’s MYC) – each gender is assigned a monetary value and everyone needs to get into groups of a certain monetary amount; a slightly maths type game. After that we played King Caractacus again; I got called up to run the game for the 80+ Commerce people that were there,another chance for a little impromptu work – somehow I always get called up at the last moment haha!

 

After the games, Alan (our MTS leader) introduced himself alongside Charles and we got into groups, sat down at a large number of tables (I swear we stole all the ones from the auditorium) and started our first group seminar. Our topic this year is

 

The Holy Spirit – God in Us

 

So to start things off we looked through the Old Testament (the first half of the Bible) for references to the “Spirit”, which wasn’t necessarily the Holy Spirit, but at least implied God’s Spirit, or someone else’s spirit (lower case ‘s’). In a span of two and a half hours, we looked through pretty much all of the Old Testament to learn that God’s Spirit was something that would fill His people – the Israelites – and change them from their sinful ways to become righteous people again. We learned that this “Spirit” thing will come upon people, and will grant certain people with “gifts”, eg prophetic powers. But its primary purpose was to represent God and change them to be able to live under His rule.

 

We had lunch in between this. I honestly can’t remember what it was, but I can say that the food here is occasionally better than the food say up at Katoomba, only occasionally.

 

Later in the afternoon we moved into Bible study groups. Not sure how they sorted groups out; they were smaller this year and gender based as well (aww!). My group was comprised of Jacky, Daryl (an older guy) and two first years, a fairly well mixed group. This year’s BIble study was based on the Book (or letter realy) of Colossians – the entire letter. But that’s okay since we were going to go through it over a period of 5 days. Still, it’s slightly challenging when you have to read it the “original” way. No verse numbers, no headings like in the Bible, no paragraphs either, just one piece of flowing text.

 

At night, we had out night session (duh!). The organizers made a few parody videos of Avatar to convey certain camp regulations and other related announcements. They were funny in many ways, but having already watched Chonny’s Avatar parody, I’ve been a bit put off from them since. The band played a variety of music, nothing especially new though, but a couple of old ones that I’ve never heard of. I would never have believed that Paul Grimmond himself was playing the Saxophone as part of the band; interesting in many ways, but the one that stands out is that he literally does stand out, being the oldest of all the other musicians haha!

 

Carl’s talk was on Acts 2:1-41 which describes Pentacost, the event after Jesus ascends into heaven where the Holy Spirit descends upon many people. If there was anything strange about the Holy Spirit that we didn’t understand, it would be best found here, when it first appears in the Bible (in an upfront way). Carl talked about how the Spirit was related to salvation, that it was prophesied in Isaiah that the Holy Spirit will be brought by God’s chosen one (Jesus) to redeem His people. When Jesus talks about baptizing with the water in the Spirit, the water was to represent the act of being cleansed from sin, while the Spirit was to be the tool of renewal for those who were cleansed. And so the process of salvation could sort of be summarised in two steps: that we need to be cleansed from sin and then be changed by God’s Spirit (most names of the Spirit are interchangeable with each other, just depends on where they are at the time of reference: in us, in Jesus, or it is God, etc).

 

Best to leave Monday’s post here.

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