Venue: Kimiad Christian Campsite
- Preparation for the journey
As early as 10am on the Friday morning of 20th of June, people were all ready and excited about camp and started arriving at the Richard Ward building at the University of the Witwatersrand to drop off their luggage as the journey to the long awaited themed camp Praise and I was about to begin in a few hours.The bus left the Centre of Origins at exactly 1:40pm, heading to the Kimiad Christian Campsite, just outside the southern Gauteng town of Heidelberg. There were three scheduled t rips, all at different times to accommodate everyone as some people were still writing and others at work.
The total number of individuals who attended camp was 120 of which 12 were sponsored for the fee of R450.
Figure 1: Journey to the campsite and joy on arrival
Upon arrival, the bus couldn’t enter the gates of the campsites such that one of the windows got broken, but even a broken window couldn’t take anything away from what was about to happen in the atmosphere and presence of the Lord.
We were greeted by the silence of nature, the beauty of the brown autumn grass. In a country side peaceful and away from the city buzz. What a better place to reconnect with the source of all life, joy and peace.
Figure 2: Kimiad Christian Campsite fields
Males and females were grouped and then divided into groups of 6-14 and then placed in different houses. Uplifted Life unites nations, people of all races, coming from different aspects of lives and all doing different things with their lives. The shared living quarters made it more possible to for social interaction within the campers, which is the ultimate goal of Uplifted Life, to bring about a movement of unity, for the greater mission of uplifting each other, for together, a lot can be accomplished than alone.
- The Amazing Race
After the last trip was made and all campers had arrived, we gathered around the dining hall, mingling and meeting new faces. Grace, the games coordinator handed out name tags which she explained had instrumental symbols (drums, guitars, saxophones, flutes, microphones, trumpets) assigning each camper to a team. The teams would proceed to compete each other throughout the camp by means of riddles which were to be solved in the quickest amount of time, hence the theme “the amazing race”. This was a team building exercise- an analogy of conquering in unity and working together to achieve a unified end. Everyday at camp a team member collected an envelope containing biblical riddles which we’d solve and then submit. Many thanks to Google for helping us with this task. On Saturday late afternoon, however, we were given another challenge which, too, in the form of a riddle instructed us to ‘do to our place of worship what the children of Israel and Joshua did to the walls of Jericho’. Although marching around the meeting hall seven times was tiring, it was definitely memorable as on the 7th round each team sung and rejoiced triumphantly, clearly the theme of the camp inspired this.
Figure 3: It’s supper time!!
Supper was scheduled for 6-7pm each evening and served as not only as a time of eating but a time of fellowship. We gathered around tables (about 10 people per table) and chatted about anything ranging from the day’s activities to our individual talents, shared quite a few laughs and tried not to eat each other’s food, which was hard because it was that good. We often had hot beverages with our supper meals on account of the cold weather, but juice was also abundantly available.
- Praise service
Figure 4: Praise service and joy
The praise service took place directly after supper and lasted for about 2hours. We opened in intercession followed by praise and worship songs where the impeccable energy was apparent. Visiting musical acts such as Chiqo Kabasu and Henry took to the stage alongside the JTL praise and worship team and revved up the crowd having us dancing, jumping and singing out loud for Jesus. We then received the Word from sister Tshegofalo reading from the book of Psalms 150.
On Saturday morning, the first prayer was held at 5am for leaders and at 6am, there was a prayer for everyone else led by the charismatic evangelist Mduduzi. We interceded according to the given prayer points and received the Word of teaching ministered unto us between the prayers. Best way to start off a day!
The business workshop was very instrumental to the young uplifted campers and their many ideas. The mentor and facilitator of the session was Nathan Gaggs who made his first million while still in varsity at Wits university! This news alone was an inspiration because his story is quite simple. Nathan explains how the greatest resource a student has is time, something he was able to harness and utilise. He further gave a brief explanation of the nature of his business and how it has developed. This information was key in addressing the concerns that Uplifted business men and women had. There are certain ideas that can be shared and implemented while still at university! This really inspired the students who had many questions and who had been seeking a form of direction in their respective business ideas. Some are just starting, some have started, all are inspired! What was most striking about Nathan was his ability to come down to their level in modesty. He displayed a humility that made people easily talk to him, something that may be a rarity among business moguls. Finally, some Uplifted members are going to pilot their business plans at Wits university under the watchful eye of Uplifted Life in partnership with Nathan! Watch this space!
o Missions in excellence
The Missions in Excellence workshop was run by Annalize Mynhardt of Wycliffe, a missions based organisation. She shared her vision for excellence in the areas of finances and administration, all for the glory of God. She has had a history with Ernst and Young and all the skills she has acquired over the years are now useful in her occupation as she serves Christ in the finance department of Wycliffe. The exciting thing about Annalize is that she has undertaken to work with the JTL Administration team who’s next major event is the “Women of Influence” Conference. One of the tools that she is using to collaborate and work with the different members of the team is the “SHAPE” tool that was developed by Rick Warren. Each letter represents a combination of qualities that are key in discovering where each person fits. ‘S’- Spiritual gifts, ‘H’- heart, ‘A’- abilities, ‘P’- personality, ‘E’- experience. This is a helpful tool and as the event approaches everyone is excited to not only be working towards a unified goal, but to be discovering their gifts as well! All the Uplifted Life campers who attended the workshop even though not a part of the JTL Admin team were uplifted and found deeper significance in balancing school and church life, all for God’s glory. They were greatly encouraged and edified, also, Annalize has made herself available for consultations should anyone need her support. We look forward to having Annalize with us in future camps!
o Music and choir
The music and choir workshop was presented by the worshipper Henry. Most of the teachings in this workshop was focused on worship and praise, defining and differentiating between these two ways of exalting God. They were taught about the three elements of music, namely; rhythm, melody, harmony. It is important that a singer to do well in all these three elements. During the workshop, the spirit of God came into their presence, and many people were crying, many healed. It is beyond belief to see what God does, when he wants to do it.
This workshop was presented by Evangelist Mduduzi and Pastor Daniel. Among the many tools that they gave the individuals who attended the workshop, they gave them five things that every preacher should know and do; 1.Know your audience, 2.Know your message, 3.Know the kind of church that you are preaching to, 4.Read your bible, 5.and PREPARE. They were also taught about a vessel, the beauty of this object and its unrecognised value, for people only see the garbage inside it such that no one is interested in it. At the end of the workshop we had four individuals from this workshop demonstrating what they have learnt by preaching to the congregation, based on the given topics. There is a ministry of preachers rising.
o Woman of Influence
Presented by Sister Elise and Mam Georgette, this workshop focused on teaching the young women in who attended the workshop the importance of being a modern woman in God. A woman of influence is most influential at the heart level, considering how the woman in the bible all made an impact, had a story to their names. As a woman in Christ, it is important to also tell a story, in God. It is also important to work, serve, that is how one gets the crown, recognition. It is important not to only be a Christian on Sunday, worshipping in church yet not seeking to influence people from outside the church. They were taught about the importance of being humble as a woman, knowing the Holy Spirit, to be able to move with Him.
o Men of Influence
This workshop was more concentrated on the developing the man of influence in God’s image. Highlighting the things like the character of the co-worker of the man, who would be Jesus Christ. For Christ’s attitude is to complete the work. Allowing faith to convict the self as to be able to finish the work. They were also taught about what God has begun with the man, He will continue until the end of the man’s physical end of life. Lastly that vision comes before execution, meaning that it is important to trust God to do things through us, even before we can why He is doing these things.
- First session
The first session of the Uplifted Camp theme, “Praise and I” was given by Pastor Joshua of JTL. His preaching was entitled “What is Praise?” in which he dissected the meaning of praise for us as well as discussing the source of praise, its families, its war-like spirit, and it being a command from God. The beauty about this session is that whether or not you were a Christian something in you was evoked. There was an inspiration to praise, to acknowledge the existence of greatness beyond what the eye could see. Indeed there was an ability to recognise that we carry greatness within us.
Figure 5: Pastor Joshua preaching and his interpreter Gabriel
- Baptism in winter and the support
After receiving teaching, 7 dedicated individuals were baptised that afternoon by Pastor John Smith and Pastors Ebenezer and Joshua Kiluba. The support was massive as choir singers, some church leaders and congregation members got into the water to show their support as we bore witness to this event. We sung songs of praise as we thanked God for the steps of obedience the baptised individuals were taking.
Figure 6: Praise arising as individuals got baptised.
Below is a list of the individuals who were baptised:
* Hope Mabusela
* Merriam Matli
* Boineelo Molokoane
* Fortunate Mooketsi
* Mpho Ramokgopa
* Sihle Ngcobo
* Shongwe Nkululeko
* Michella Babalola
Figure 7: Baptism in Winter
- Pastor Franco and the youth group – healing ( demonstration of God’s power)
That night Pastor Franco and the “Revival Valley Youth Club”, his youth group joined us. The group took to the stage and blessed us n numbers as well as a skit depicting the life of a teenager who loses her way then with the aid of others ends up under the Lord’s wings. It was so amazing that even though these kids come from unprivileged homes, they still have the zeal for life and are informed about their futures, trusting on God to lead the way for them.
Figure 8: The Revival Valley Youth Club act – giving a voice to the uheard
Pastor Franco took part in this skit, too, displaying his youthful side; after which he ministered the Word of God unto us. He shared his testimony of how God has been using him in the area of healing and he prayed for many of the campers with several physical problems. In the atmosphere of worshipping the Lord, miracles were enabled by the power of the Holy Spirit and faith.
- Talent show
The talent show displayed diverse creativity with written pieces ranging from singing and dancing, as well as acting under which JTL Arts fits in as they performed a play which had the crowd laughing, gasping and praising. No winners were chosen as this was more of a praise session than a competition, and selecting a winner would be impossible.
Figure 9: Dancing at the talent show
Expression in the arts is the most free where one is usually lost in the Praise for the Lord was amplified, and we were entertained. The greatest lesson learned was the when situations arise, when the devil bothers, God is still God, He loves.
Figure 10: JTL Arts play
A link to video of Arts Session – Uplifted got talent:
- Last service
Figure 11: Pastor Ebenezer preaching about identity and his interpreter pastor Joshua
In the last service, we had a teaching about identity and the importance of one to understand their identity in God. To understand God’s identity is vital for a Christian for one who doesn’t the identity of God is insulting Him.
- Amazing race winners
The top 3 teams with the highest accumulative scores were announced and received gifts which included pretty pens for those in 2nd and 3rd place and for the winners a CD and a bag of goodies. Certificates were also handed out to the baptised individuals as well as to JTL Arts.
- The journey back
Some had come sad, some had come uncertain about everything; some had come battered by life, but the praise! The Lord and only His presence has the power to revive one and bring back the light in their lives. As we left everyone was euphoric and vigorous to eternally praise the Lord. Their faces were singing “Hallelujah” and it is true that the Lord will retain the joy.
Figure 12: Joy in praise at camp
The journey back was a smooth and quick one – much to our dismay as we couldn’t believe camp was already over. We boarded our respective buses around 3pm and headed back to the University of Witwatersrand where it all began.
Figure 13: New friendships formed through Uplifted Life and families connecting
Figure 14: Union through Uplifted Life