Voices from the Field Julie Stone Get to know Julie

Youth Gathering – A Collaboration of Cultures

Published on August 15, 2017

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Dear Family and Friends,

For the last several months I’ve been on Home Assignment. While in North America, it has been a privilege to connect with many faithful supporters of the Cameroon ministry.

Rene and Eric at The Gathering

Last month, I had the opportunity to work as ‘camp nurse’ for “The Gathering” – a youth ministry event held triennially by the NAB. The venue for this year’s camp was the Chapman University campus in Orange County, California.

Interestingly, this was a work camp for youth. After breakfast each morning, campers boarded buses to head to various work sites in the surrounding community. Student assignments included clearing park trails, painting fire hydrants and trash cans, removing graffiti, maintenance work for a local school, teaching children of refugees, assisting the homeless, and cleaning trailer parks. One of the women helped by the trailer park crew, who had been a hoarder, was able to trust the group sufficiently to allow them access to her home – which they systematically helped her to clean, filling several dumpsters in the process.

A pleasant surprise during the week was the opportunity to meet a Cameroonian friend and colleague, Rene, who was invited to the camp along with Eric – a recent seminary graduate. For over a decade, Rene has been working with Cameroonian youth – concentrating in the area of sexual purity and HIV prevention. Rene came to encourage the campers as well as to learn from the NAB youth, even as he also participated in one of the community projects.

One evening Rene addressed the assembly, appreciating the collaboration between the Cameroonian and NAB youth. Rene explained how that last year he had taken this example of volunteerism back to Cameroon where he enlisted hundreds of Cameroonian youth in clean-up projects for communities in Buea, a city in the Southwest Region. Local officials there were amazed that the Cameroonian youth would work so arduously with no expectation of remuneration. Rene testified that these youth activities in Buea afforded an inroad to share the ultimate message of the One Who came not to be served, but to serve.

Thank you for standing with us –

Julie Stone