Well well well, our FINAL ever Taste tour had arrived. I was so sad yet so excited to be going away with this amazing bunch of people for the last time.
Livit Camp has been running for 10 years, so this week was a special birthday for Livit and we LOVED hanging out with them all over the course of the week. There were young people from all over Manchester who had come either with strong or very loose connections to a church. There were more un-churches young people there this year than they had seen for a while so we were excited about the potential for the week.
The theme was ‘The truth will set you free’ and so the morning sessions were based on looking at ‘truth’ and the evening were looking at ‘freedom’. We arrived on the friday night and set up our tents (yes, we were camping!) and then began setting up and decorating (should I say, transforming!) the venue. We finished it off on Saturday and the campers arrived on the Saturday afternoon. There was a real buzz about the place and when it came to Saturday evenings’ session, it felt great to kick start the week, with myself and Andy hosting and us all playing our favourite games such as Jammin’, with some brilliant worship and Paul speaking on What is Freedom?
Saturday was also a special day for us as it was our last ever Taste gig. Obviously our year with Taste had come to an end and we were getting ready to pack up our things and move on back home after Livit, but it was also a significant night because in September, Taste will become ‘The Sense’, officially the YFC touring band. Therefore, it was the end of an era! We performed for the last time, and some of these songs probably wont be sung again so it was strange, and quite emotional especially for some members of the band who found it hard to know it was our last performance!
But having the gig on the first night was brilliant because it gave the kids a chance to get to know us and it broke the ice, meaning for the rest of the week we were able to build on those relationships with them. We had been given small groups to lead and so I felt I got to know my group quite well and was very blessed by them and their input to the discussions!
Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too great all week and we barely had a fully dry day which was a shame because it put a dampener (!!!!!) on the week slightly! But we made the best of it and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves this week!
I chose to speak on the subject of ‘Freedom from sin and guilt’. I chose it because I loved the thought of having the chance to speak about Jesus and what he did for us, and I wanted to do it in a creative way. I had seen the sketch ‘sin in a box’ on youtube, and wanted to adapt it into my own take of it. I spoke about us humans constantly letting God down, and being trapped in this sin that we couldnt get out of. Becky came and helped me and stood inside this cardboard box. I asked the young people to come and write on it some ideas of some sins so that the box was covered in things which would hurt God.
I told them that they cant get out of the box on their own. We are trapped. Becky looked like she couldnt get out and was struggling to cope, so much so that she had to give up. We then turned the lights off Becky and they were able to focus on me, and what i was explaining. I told them that a price had to be paid for those things we were doing wrong. God knew something had to be done about it. And that’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus is the only way that we can get out of our boxes. Simon came on with a pen knife and cut down the 4 sides of the box, and it revealed as the box opened out that it was in the shape of a cross. I told them because of what jesus did on the cross, it is finished. There is no need for us to be guilty of our sin, we are free.
But I also gave them the opportunity to respond and I asked them if they wanted to, they could pray a prayer with me to invite Jesus into their lives and to say sorry for the things they have done to let him down. With every eye in the room closed, I then asked them to make that courageous step of putting up their hands if they had prayed that prayer as a step of faith to say that they are ‘in’. As hands started going up around the room, it was incredible, my heart began beating so fast and I could feel myself welling up with tears. So many young people responded that night, and only on day 2! It was so encouraging to know that God would want to use me in such way that night! Hallelujah!
God was really moving last week at that camp site. We had also been praying for protection over the site and God really blessed us with no hospital visits or major illnesses! Monday we took a trip into Northallerton to have a treasure hunt in our teams; it was a good opportunity to get to know the group better!
Some of the other talks that week were looking at ‘freedom from fear and addiction’ , ‘freedom to know God’, ‘religion is not the truth’ and they were often opening up touchy subjects which were really challenging/ speaking into the young peoples’ lives. On Monday night I was asked to lead the worship and I stood back from the mic and let them sing out ‘and if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us’ , it was very powerful!
Tuesday we headed to Lightwater Valley, a local theme park for the day. The rain unfortunately didn’t hold off but we had a brilliant day! I got a chance to speak to some of the campers who I hadn’t chatted to already that week so it was great!
And our final day was Wednesday; I was anticipating a brilliant day, and it was! The tiredness had begun to kick in but God strengthened us and gave us the energy to finish with a bang! By the time it got to the evening meeting we were ready for a praise party! I have never jumped around so much! But all the same it was a bit emotional because it was our final meeting together as a team and we performed a Taste song, Turn Back for the last time! As it got to the praise party at the end everyone was really enjoying worshipping and jumping around. There was a brilliant atmosphere there!
So much to be thankful for this week. God’s protection and safety, him providing energy and strength to us as a team, but also the way God spoke to so many lives in both the meetings and out of the meetings. Thank you God for the many people who gave their lives to Jesus! It was an incredible week and a brilliant way to end our year with Taste!