UYC 2011: Lagos, Nigeria
September 2, 2011
Camping on the Sea Side!
Forty-five staff and campers had a wonderful, exciting and inspiring time at the United Church of God’s “UYC Nigeria 2011″—with everyone strengthening or developing fresh, strong bonds of fellowship and friendship. Camp was attended by brethren from three countries and two continents—Nigeria, Ghana and America; from the continents of Africa and the United States respectively!
Steve Arner, a Youth Corp volunteer, arrived in Lagos, Nigeria, on Wednesday, August 10, for the sixth United Youth Camp (UYC) in Nigeria. He was met at the airport by Oludare Akinbo, the resident Elder in Nigeria, his wife Oluwatohungbogbo Akinbo, and by a member of the Lagos congregation, Paul Ogundipe. Two staff and three campers also arrived on Friday from Accra, Ghana; two staff and eight campers from the Owerri congregation in the Eastern part of Nigeria; and eight campers from the Benin City congregation in the western part of Nigeria.
Mark and Michelle Mickelson, through what we believe is a special miracle and grace from God, arrived Sabbath evening. Michelle had to be rushed to the hospital on Tuesday, the morning initially scheduled to leave for Nigeria, and by God’s intervention she was able to make the trip after rescheduling for Friday, August 12.
On the Sabbath in Lagos, attired as the native Nigerians mostly are, Steve Arner gave a sermonette titled “Attitude,” encouraging all to have a positive attitude to all they encounter in life and to be the kind of people God wants us to be.
Camp was held on a little stretch of land dividing a lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Campers and staff slept in five ten-man tents (with eight persons per tent including gear) and six four-man tents (with three per tent with gear).
On the Sabbath during camp, some brethren from the Lagos congregation also took the half-hour boat ride to join the campers and staff (total attendance 66) for a truly picturesque and inspiring Sabbath in a natural, relaxing and serene environment—adding to the richness of the fellowship and the inspiration in hearing the message delivered by Mark Mickelson, regional pastor for West Africa.
Camp was so much fun with activities ranging from the morning compass checks, daily Christian living classes, team challenge (combining various team building activities), archery, swimming (with water pumped from the ocean into a swimming pool built by some of the oil companies that keep a beach hut by the ocean there), rope bridge (tyrolian traverse), volleyball, craft class and learning the Philippine national dance, Tinikling!
The last night of camp was a Hawaiian themed night with the serving staff attired as Hawaiian men and women complete with grass skirts for the women and neck garland leis for the campers and staff.
Camp ended August 21 with many of the campers from Lagos, Owerri and even Ghana shedding tears when it was time to depart for home. All were happy camp ended and were going back home, but sad the one week of fellowship and friendships discovered and strengthened with brethren sharing the same faith and goal was finally at an end. They would be going back to their respective church areas and homes to continue living as examples of God’s children in a world where to be different and standing for the truth often makes you walk alone or not with many deep close personal friends.
Oludare Okinbo—Pastor, Lagos, Nigeria