Well, it’s been exactly a year since I made the decision to apply for my Gap Year with Taste. It was at The Mix last year that I met with Andy and Joy and started talking to them about how I was considering applying. I went along to The Mix to be a young leader on the team, and this year I was even more involved throughout the weekend! It was a really special weekend for me because it reminded me a lot about what happened there last year.
The Mix is also known as ‘Spring Camp’, run by North Breckland Youth For Christ, and for the past few years it has taken place in Eaton Vale Centre (Norwich) which is an outward bounds centre with plenty of activities available for the young people but also offering a really good venue for us to use as our base for the weekend. It felt good to be back on Norfolk soil!!!!
We arrived on Friday afternoon and had a big task of setting everything up! At these weekend events, we not only set up our musical equipment but we also have a Sanctuary area and other gear which we use for workshops such as my art stuff. We got it all set up and ready and had dinner with the wider team; Ang Fox who heads up North Breckland YFC and her colleagues Dan and Gabi were all people who I had met previous to this year and it was great to be back working with them.
The young people arrived and settled into their dorms ready for us to kick start the weekend with a brilliant first session on friday night. The theme of the weekend was ‘Who Cares?’. Reece spoke on Friday night looking at ‘Where do we belong?’ He looked at Joseph in the Bible and how he would have coped with how his brothers treated him and sold him into slavery. The hurt, rejection that would have come with that, but how God calls us into his family. It was a great first session. The group we had over the weekend was about 20 in size and the majority of them were un-churched. It was really significant what we did during the weekend and the topics we were looking at hopefully would have really spoken into their hearts.
Our amazing Mix Dance made its debut appearance to the crowd at The Mix on friday night; we had so much fun putting the dance moves together! They always love doing The Mix Dance!
Where as the young people and leaders were staying at the centre for the nights, we had been given hosts for the weekend which was lovely because we had un-disturbed sleep! (sorry for rubbing it in!!!) We travelled to the venue ready for an early start and a prayer meeting with the rest of the team on Saturday morning. I was pretty nervous… I had never spoken before and Saturday morning was my time to shine! I had been given the topic of ‘Who Am I?’ and myself and Elliemae were going to be leading the session together. I had planned to speak about how David was Unique; God chose him because he knew what gifts and talents he had given David, which would be what he would need to later become king, but to do everything in between. I said about how God knows everything about us, He has made us, He has made us Unique, we have a purpose and He has called us to do things for Him. Off the back of that, Elliemae shared her testimony about how she struggled with feeling that she had purpose whilst she was in school in Sweden. But how God has really changed her mind since then and how she feels being used by God during her time with Taste. Together, we then led an activity which involved them working within their small groups, to discuss how they feel about themselves. We used a selection of random pictures and asked them to use the pictures to explain how they were feeling about the question. It worked well and for our first time leading a session, we really enjoyed it!
Over the weekend they had the opportunity to use the facilities on site and so some of the site staff took groups to do activities such as Jacobs Ladder, Sledging etc which was fun to watch and encourage them on. There were also workshops available which were run by the leaders of Spring Camp. We had three Mix sessions on Saturday to make the most of the time that we had with them. Andy spoke in the afternoon session on Saturday about the world being in Gods hands. God has placed us in the world to do things for Him but He has His hands on the world. This was the session which I was going to be able to use my artistic skills in! The previous weekend I had prepared a painting on a rather large scale which showed the world, minus the land, and I had left space for me to complete the painting during Andy’s talk.
I had mixed the paint up before hand and so really quickly whilst Andy was talking I painted on the hands to show Gods hands on the world.
As part of the response, we invited the young people to come and place their fingerprints on the ‘land’ which I had left blank so that it could be filled in during the response. It was to signify them saying they were willing to say yes to God using them to do things for Him.
The evening programme had more worship, games, brilliant hosts, a testimony from myself and Josh spoke about how God goes through our hurt and pain with us. The after hours programme saw a ‘Mix’s Got Talent’ hosted by Josh and with a selection of brilliant acts which were amazing to watch. Some great talent from the North Breckland area! The winner was a great guy who was spot on with doing accents and he made us all laugh so much!
Saturday had emotionally exhausted me! Thanks to God the tiredness hadn’t taken its toll on me and I managed to plough through the finally day there. Sunday only had two sessions; the first one in the morning after the leaders prayer meeting was by Dan and Gabi who are the YFC workers. It was excellent; who is Jesus? It showed some of the opinions of those in the room to see what they thought about Jesus and we discussed whether they would deny knowing Jesus like Peter had done.
I also was able to get arty again during the workshops on Sunday morning. Joy and I held the art workshop which we had a nice mixed group of girls and boys and we created some amazing art work, using the canvas idea that I had previously done at a TCC’s Boys Brigade evening. It’s another great way that I am being able to use my artistic skills amongst my year with Taste.
Our final session of the weekend was so good; we got everyone up, dancing, worshipping God. Such a brilliant end to a fantastic weekend. God was really moving in the lives of those who were there and it’s really exciting know they have heard God through us over the course of the weekend.
It took a while to pack everything away but then we were on the road back to Essex…. or so some people thought. We ended up stopping in Lowestoft to meet Ali, Joy’s sister for a meal at the Harvester BUT THEN I was very sneaky and arrived on the doorstep at home and completely surprised my family by turning up out of the blue to spend the bank holiday monday with them. It was brilliant, thanks to Josh for filming the whole thing because it will be an evening I will never forget! What an EPIC weekend! Roll on BA!