Rachel Norman was 14 when she attended her first PYNSW Summer Camp – and she’s hardly missed a camp in the decades since!
Rachel was the child of a minister and remembers spending much of her time flying ‘under the radar’. While she was a ‘good kid’, she didn’t have a genuine personal faith in Jesus. But on camp, she remembers seeing other kids who did.
“I knew more about the Bible, but they knew Jesus personally. I could see that – it was obvious to me – and I knew I wanted that same relationship,” Rachel recalls.
It took a few years, but with the discipleship of leaders on camp, and spending time in community with young people who did have faith, the gospel worked its way from Rachel’s head to her heart, and she became a Christian at age 17.
Every year, kids and teenagers become Christians on PYNSW camps.
Some of these young people have never heard the gospel before, but another group, a group Rachel particularly relates to, have heard it many times before.
She loves seeing how PY camps enable young people from Christian homes to step out of their comfort zone for a time, and actually get a chance to consider what they believe for themselves – not just following what their parents believe.
Ministry to everyone is important. But ministry to youth is at an age where they make decisions about what beliefs they want to live their lives according to. Rachel is particularly passionate about ministry to the youth and kids in the families of parents who are ministry workers. “These are the kids that can slip through the cracks because they can give all the ‘right’ answers”. But Rachel asks the tough questions, “Are they right? Has their knowledge moved from their head to their heart?”
It is the critical ministry of PY Camps that allow for youth from ALL backgrounds to be challenged and ministered to in a focused and intentional way – to encourage youth to take on their faith for themselves.
Rachel shares, “I now see the same benefits I had from camp in the lives of my children (1 leader, 3 campers) who have grown up coming to camps – making friends from all over the state, being challenged in their faith and encouraged to follow Jesus for themselves, and for my oldest now getting the opportunity to be trained and given experience in leading… And as a parent, I love having another place (besides home, school and church) where both peers and older Christians are presenting Jesus to them and calling them to respond to him.”
This Christmas, please prayerfully consider how you can financially support the life-changing work of PY in raising up the next generation of young people to be biblically equipped for sharing the good news of Jesus.