Soul Survivor 2012.

On Wednesday we got home from Soul Survivor A with 23 very tired but happy young people.  They weren’t  the same kids that said good bye to waving family five days earlier.  They are changed.  My mind and my heart are so full because, together with our family at Emmanuel, we prayed for God to meet with them all in a powerful way – and God  surpassed even our imaginations.

We do that don’t we? We pray for something, feeling like we’re pushing it if we ask for more than is necessary.  Like it’s impolite or something.  I thought I was being pretty wild asking God to meet with them.  I forgot that we serve an Extravagant God!  Why limit Him with mediocre prayers??  Thankfully, despite my limited prayers, God not only met with these young people but turned their worlds upside down.

One young girl who we’ve only known for a matter of week, gave her life to Jesus and is desperate to be baptised.  Jesus began a healing journey with at least three precious girls, stirred a passion in hearts that had previously been blocked in by self-preserving walls and placed anointing and specific dreams with individuals as they worshipped Him.  Words of prophecy were spoken over some of these people as they surrendered to Jesus’ sovereignty.  They were quicker off the mark than the leaders and we’d turn to pray for someone only to find that some of the teenagers were already praying over their friends. Awesome.

Its’ not possible for them to ever be the same again.  And praise God for that!

And me? I’ll never be the same again either. One of our girls marched straight up to me and asked if she could pray for my back.  She prayed the most simplest prayer you could possibly think of…..and I’ve not had pain in my back since.  Four day’s (I think) and counting.  I’ll have to have her pray over my legs too, ha!  Another time some of the girls’ prayed over me when the young people were asked to pray for their leaders. God met with me in the most powerful way and has commissioned me with something I’m just trying to make sense of before I share.  Time and time again throughout the week I’d watch, with tears running down my cheeks, these young people that I love so much worshipping Jesus with all they had.  I’ve never felt so honoured to be part of something as I did those days on that Showground.

To sweeten the week we had such a laugh together.  The Husband had them playing chair football despite my pleas not to have them all go home with bruised shins!  Friendships blossomed, some more than others (right Molly and Lawrence??!)! Our team of leaders worked SO hard while keeping a really chilled out atmosphere at base camp for everyone to come back to.  I have never seen my two little girls (3 and 6) happier and that made me love the leaders and the teenagers even more.

So here’s to building on what God began in all the YPs’ hearts.  Here’s to standing with them as they live to love Jesus.  Here’s to daring to pray extravagant prayers.

SAM_0305

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a girls’ survival guide to camping.

In nine days, yes NINE days, we’re taking a group of over 30 people to Soul Survivor, a Christian youth camp.  Having camped time and time again at Soul Survivor as a teenager myself, I promised all my girls I’d post a girls’ survival guide to camping.

When I told one of my girls I would do it she said that she was used to camping with cadets – then it struck me that expectation of this information may not meet reality.  So here’s my DISCLAIMER! When I call this a girls’ survival guide, I suppose the term ‘survival’ can be quite subjective…!  I am not so fussed about the thickness of sleeping bags or best kind of torch (though wouldn’t a head torch be so cool!?) .  I wouldn’t be able to tell you actually ‘useful’ stuff – but still stuff of great importance – this one’s for the girls.

Survival tip #1:  Flip-flops. 

Easy to slip off when getting in and out of the tent, the classic flip flop is perfect for camping. There’s nothing worse that stuffy hot feet and with these babies you’ll be fresh fresh fresh. And you can get like a gazillion different styles. I have some gold glittery ones, what kind do you have?

If you have pretty plain plastic flip-flops you can also take them with you to the showers…!

Survival tip 2:  Wellies.

Flip flops are a no-no in really wet weather.  I wore some last week when it rained and I tripped over.  No, really.  When it’s wet, the only way is wellies.  You girls have a seriously amazing choice of wellies – Sparkly, flowery, stripy, spotty, you name it.  These used to just be for pre-schoolers but now everyone can release their inner-child.  I have a pair of old green hunters that I’ve had since I was a teenager and though I’ve been tempted by the cute patterned wellies to stray, mine are just too comfy.

So I was thinking that they choice was great, and then I discovered…..The Wedge Welly!! Wellies with a sturdy heel? I’m loving it!

These wellies will be ridiculously expensive so I’d advise maybe stick with Asda’s finest, ha! But a girl can dream, right?

Survival Tip 3:  Dry shampoo.

This has to be a camping girls’ best friend. As much as I will be embracing the cold slightly suspect showers at Soul Survivor, the more I can avoid dipping my whole head under, the better. Plus you have the absence of a hair dryer and that’s a whole other story.

I have this one from Tresemme and it’s great. Some quick sprays into the roots and a good roughing up of the hair and you’re set to go a little while longer before the great washing of the hair.

 

Survival tip #4:  You’re hair can still look great with a little creativity.  Honest.

You could go all Gwen Stefani on us and braid up your hair…

Or you could make use of hairbands, head scarfs and a whole load of clips and grips!

And well, at the end of the day you can always hide bad camping hair in a hat.

If I head to the showers before breakfast, I tend to do this and pop The Husbands brown woolly hat on!

Survival tip #5: Baby wipes.

Since having two babies I’ve become a little obsessed with baby wipes and they can be a life saver at soul survivor.  I confess that when I’m camping my skin care routine involves wiping one of these bad boys over my face when I’ve tucked myself into my sleeping bag.  They can help make you feel a little more awake in the morning and if (please Lord!!) we have warm weather, a baby wipe can freshen you up throughout the day.  It’s pretty much a shower on a cloth!

Survival tip #6: Shades.

They hide dark shadows from lack of sleep and can be used on your head to disguise bad hair.  Sunglasses.

I love aviators but look absolutely ridiculous in them, but if you can pull them off, go for it! I stick with the over-sized variety.

Survival tip #7: Bag

Walking back and forth between ‘base camp’ and main areas carrying your purse, phone, bible, notepad will get a little annoying if you don’t have a lovely big bag to throw it all in.  I’m the number one fan of over-size bags – I’ve not moved on from the ‘changing-bag’ size despite my youngest girl starting school in September.

No photo’s for this one though, because its’ not important – if you have a bag to hold your stuff and you like it then you’re onto a winner.  For my birthday last year I bought a big yellow bag which was nicknamed my ‘sunshine bag’ at last years’ Soul Survivor.  I loved that bag.  until the zip broke…!

Survival tip #8: Head torch……ok just a regular torch then.

When your dying for a wee in the middle of the night you’ll be glad of it trust me.  Those Guy ropes!! Enough said.

Survival tip #9: Hoodies and fuzzy socks.

If you have them take it.  Even on the warmest of weeks, the nights get cold and a hoody over your PJs and fuzzy socks can keep you cosy, and well, you’ll probably need that warmth during the day too.  And who doesn’t look good in a hoody??

Survival tip #10:  Fight the urge to ‘forget’ your anorak!

They’re not the coolest things in the world but if we get rain you’ll be thankful for it by the end of the week I promise.  Staying dry is a lot easier that trying to get dry when you’re camping.  Hey, mine is a sickly shade of lavender.  It was definitely one of those end-of-the-shopping-mission-grab-the-first-one purchases.  But I’ll be sporting it in all its’ purple glory should the rain start.  Who’s with me?!

So there you have it. Ten steps to a truly wonderful camping experience!

You’re going to love every minute.