Recently our church’s youth department hosted a Tai-Kadai weekend campout in the woods. But nothing ever happens easily or as planned. The truth of the matter: God’s ways are always the best.
We have been planning this campout for several months but location loomed as a dark cloud. Because of political restrictions, we needed to choose a place where our local church group enjoys a good relationship with the village. Finally, a few weeks prior to campout weekend, Caiden selected a place and took a list of attendees to the village chief. He got verbal permission and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Thursday night, the night before we were scheduled to leave (after many youth had traveled 12-24 hours by bus to the capital), Caiden got a call that our permission had been rescinded. What a major blow! (We experienced the same situation two years ago. After planning programs, inviting young people and buying 30 tents, the government shut down a youth campout at the last minute.)
We were not going to give so easily so our team gave it to God. We prayed hard for God to open up a way. We considered a field that was not yet cleared as well as sleeping in someone’s backyard near town, but ultimately, we just asked for God’s blessing.
About 7:00 Friday morning (the day we were scheduled to leave) we got a call from a church leader in another district. He had visited his village chief and gotten verbal permission for us to stay one night on his land. Though this was an answer to pray and we praised God for it, we kept praying. Our campout was a 2-day event and we knew God could make a way.
We arrived Friday afternoon, set up camp and started worshiping. Here’s how Caiden described the campsite: “it was a peaceful place, there were not other people around, it was beautiful and quiet, only birds were singing.”
All day Sabbath we wondered: Should we take the tents down and start packing up? Would the village elders let us stay another night? As the close of Sabbath neared, we again began praying. And God again showed His plan. We were allowed to stay another night without any opposition. Praise the Lord!
Caiden says, “Nothing can stop Him when it is His plan.” Well, He proved that throughout this event. The new site was exponentially better than the original site we had picked: two bathrooms (which still isn’t a lot for 70+ people, but its better) and electricity to hook up our projector and other equipment.
It is the hot dry season here right now. We had been praying for a little rain to cool it off. But God provided something better: a cool, dust-free, shaded field (the original site was an open field along a well-traveled dusty road) for camping and a church member’s house nearby where we could worship during the hot part of the day.
The theme for our weekend was Jesus’ soon return as revealed in the toes of the Daniel 2 image. We focused how to live now in readiness for heaven. Breakout sessions featured practical Christian living skills including managing finances Biblically, sharing Christ at home, giving a Bible study and living healthfully. While these subjects may seem basic to western Christians, our youth come from a radically different cultural and educational background. Many are the first in their family to read and write, to work at jobs (instead of being subsistence farmers), to learn about Christianity.
God didn’t just answer location prayers prior to the campout. His hand was over us all weekend, answering prayers we hadn’t even prayed. The electricity flickered off and on throughout the weekend, but was always available when we needed to cook rice or use the projector. Moving over 70 people and camping gear is a major undertaking even in the States but our transportation issue somehow resolved itself. Since many youth would be unable to afford the campout, we wanted to provide a completely free weekend; God resolved the financial issues. Our prayers for rain were answered in a better way by providing us a cool, shaded location (even cold at night).
We bathed this camp in prayer and God bathed it with His blessings. Our youth have now returned to their home villages, so now we’re praying that the blessings they experienced will be multiplied in their churches and homes. We always think of the youth as the future (and they are) but among the Tai-Kadai, the youth are the present, spreading the message of Jesus’ love and soon return. Equipping them to lead effectively is the most important work Caiden and I can do.
Become a part of Adara and Caiden’s ministry to the Tai-Kadai with a one-time gift or become a monthly supporter at https://give.afmonline.org