By: Sister Esthemoa (Elaine Caparan)
Before regular academic sessions for this year rolled in, youths of the Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus joined forces at Hermosa, Bataan for their biennial nationwide summer camp.
Held last May 29 to 31 at Ephpheta Seminar Center of Brgy. Culis, the summer camp of the church’s youth group Kapisanang Alpha Omega was a perfect event for members to form stronger bonds, get physically active under the summer sun, and achieve a greater perspective of their role as youths in the spiritual battle. Bearing the theme Uprising: Spiritual Revolution, the summer camp aimed to rally the youths to become rebels for Jesus Christ and rise against the god of this evil world, Satan (2Co 4:4 NLT). To achieve these goals, the camp’s itinerary was filled with activities enough to buff a youthful soul.
On the first day, the camp kicked-off with a getting-to-know activity as the youths were tossed into ten random groups – purposely mixing youths coming from different provinces in the Philippines. After groups were formed, leaders were chosen, and names were coined, the youths, assembled in the conference room, were blessed with a spiritual message delivered through Bro. Cordero (Josiah Pascual).
The spiritual message bore a title with the camp’s theme as namesake – Uprising: Spiritual Revolution. Through this message, the youths were enlightened as to what the revolution is (a spiritual revolution), who the enemy is (Satan and the evil he spreads in the world), why there is a need to revolt (a duty of the children of God), what the revolution aims for (to free the people of the world from Satan’s shackles), what youths need in battle, and what the outcome of the revolution entails.
Afterwards, ‘What revolution doesn’t have a battle chant?’ was just the question in mind for the youths’ the last activity of the day. The ten groups were tasked to each craft a battle chant fit for the revolt then perform the chants group by group. As the performances progressed, the seminar center’s conference room was filled with hoards of laughter after every group performances became testaments to how scant time can affect the production of ultra-powerful and polished battle chants.
The next day proved to be the most jam-packed with activities out of the three camp days. After a quick and fun morning singsong exercise of yepo-itay-tay (spreading a song syndrome that lasted long after the camp ended), the youths sat down for the activity called ‘the ball of change’. In this game, a paper ball was passed from person to person while music played. When the music stopped, whoever held the paper ball must unwrap a sheet and answer the question written on it. The paper ball was passed – tossed – thrown by frantic youths avoiding contact with the ball that may change their lives – from sitting peacefully to standing in front of the crowd. Those who were lucky enough to be chosen by the paper ball mustered their wits and confidence with mic in hand.
After the riveting morning activities, the youths fell in the previous groups and faced a flurry of games that tested their wits, tact, unity, agility, and swiftness. In the first game called ‘Kaya ko ‘to! Promise!’, the groups advanced their five sharpest minds in the battle of wits – a game filled with mind-boggling puzzles and brainteasers. The next game ‘Pipeline’ called forth group unity and tact. They were tasked to form an effective connecting line of half pipes where a marble will come rolling to the end point. The group that sped the marble to the end the fastest won.
The youths faced another test of tact and unity in the next game called ‘Shirt Relay’. The groups were given one big shirt each then were instructed to form a line consisting ten people. The shirt must reach the end of the line – from being worn by the person in front then passed to the next member and the next and so forth – but with a catch: passing the shirt from person to person requires holding hands. If they disconnect while passing the shirt, the pass becomes invalid. Tensions were high per group as competitive members aimed towards winning the game.
The last game the groups faced was a spin-off of the classic tic-tac-toe – ‘Running Tic-tac-toe’. As the game’s name suggest, this is not an ordinary game of tic-tac-toe. The groups advanced their nimblest and most agile five members in this spin-off where, in order to win, the group must form a row of three balls of cloths placed in flat basket compartments. Before they can place their cloths in the compartments, members must sprint towards it versus another group with the same goal in mind. The group who was swift enough to sprint towards the baskets and tactful enough to form the rows before the other group won the game of ‘Running Tic-tac-toe’.
After every two games, the youths sat down to reflect on what the games intend to impart. For the first two games, Bro. Ezri (Manuel Valerio) led the youths to reflection. The first game (Kaya ko ‘to! Promise!) taught the youths how wits and tact comes in handy not only in brainteasers and puzzles but also in overcoming the hurdles hurtled by the enemy of the spiritual revolution. The second game (Pipeline) simulates the tact, unity, determination, and dedication needed to guide fellow youths towards the goal of joining the ranks of rebels in the spiritual revolution.
In the next two games, Bro. Elimelech (Dennis Romero Santos) steered the reflection. The game ‘Shirt Relay’ showed how youths must be there for one another in order for them to truly achieve triumph in spiritual battles. The last game ‘Running Tic-tac-toe’ taught the importance of planning, cooperation, and execution among youths – especially when speeding towards a task of prevailing against the enemy of the spiritual revolution.
Before the sun set on the second day of the camp, the youths sat down once again to hear a spiritual message tailored to their age group. Through MK Regem (Ephraim Valerio), the youths were enlightened regarding entering a relationship that is spiritually responsible.
The spiritual message covered the stages of courting, pre-marital relationship, and marriage, and how a youth of God must handle every stage. After the illuminating message, the youths took oaths to be spiritually responsible men and women when it comes to relationships and be the pretty (Pure Receptive Enlightened Thoughtful Trustworthy Yearning for God’s wisdom) and pogi (Pure Obedient Gentlemen Intense) children of God they were made to be.
As night fell on the second day, the youths embraced solemnity in the lighting of the bonfire. As the dried woods crackled and turned to ashes in the bonfire, so did the pieces of paper the youths threw in – papers where they wrote their promise to change practices, habits, attitudes, or behaviors that veers from the path of the youths of God.
On the third and final day of the camp, the youths were graced with the presence of the Most Holy Church’s General Bishop MP Hiel (Isagani Capistrano).
Through the General Bishop, another spiritual message was imparted unto the youths. The youths were reminded of the first rebel in the ranks of the spiritual revolution – none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord was the first to rebel against the false spiritual teachings prevalent in the world – teachings that failed to enlighten people towards spiritual salvation. Through the spiritual message, the General Bishop rallied the youths to embark on the spiritual revolution with renewed spirits and perspectives. The youths, with fists held high, pumping with courage, joined in a powerful battle chant – ‘Makisangkot, h’wag matakot!’
Before the camp came to a close, each and every one of the youths swore their allegiance and promises upon the Book of Century (Akat ng Siglo) – symbolized by their red handprint on white cloth.
The KAO Summer Camp of 2017 proved to be worth the wait for the youths of the Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus. As they leave the three-day camp behind, they march into the world with fresh perspectives, renewed spirits, and fuelled wills. They now enter the battlefield fully-equipped for clashes and fights – determined to face the enemy head on and win the spiritual revolution.