Each May Bank Holiday we’d go to a bible camp called CCCF, I think this is the closest I got to anything like Spring Harvest or Greenbelt bunch but I loved it and it was good fun. Each year we’d learn new songs and at the end of the week you could buy a cassette with the songs on it. I think we got this nearly every year and it would get played over and over on the way home.
I can’t pinpoint the exact year but I remember one year when it was raining so heavily that we had to take the ground sheet up in the awning because a river of rainwater was running straight under the sheet and the caravan, another year we had to go and sit in Grandma’s caravan which was opposite ours because it was hailing. I’m not exactly sure why our caravan wasn’t good enough on that particular day but it was good fun trying to cram me, my parents, my brother, my grandparents and some others who had joined us in to my Grandma and Grandad’s caravan.
One thing I can pinpoint though is when I gave my life to Jesus…..
It was May 1995, I think it was the 25th but I always get a bit muddled with the date. I’d been at middle school for almost a year. We were at CCCF just as normal. I don’t think there was anything particularly special about the day just I had a feeling. That gut feeling when you just want something more or you know that you’ve got to do something or you just explode. I wanted to know that Jesus was my best friend and that he’s there for me through thick and thin.
Rich and I had gone to the kids work meeting as normal. At the end there was an “altar call” and I decided today was the day and I had to do something about this feeling. I went up the front and got prayed with. When I opened my eyes, my brother and two of our friends were stood across the front of the marquee all giving our lives there and then. I remember one of the friends was called Matthew but I can’t remember his brother’s name.
Following the meeting, Rich and I ran/walked as fast as we could back to the caravan to drop off our camping chairs and find Mum and Dad. We had to share what had just happened. They weren’t at the caravan so we ran to the campsite shop (My Parents and Grandparents volunteered most years with running the shop). We found them at the shop and while trying to catch our breathe we tried to spit out the story. I remember my parents and grandparents all being really excited. I don’t think it really clocked why they were so excited until my best friend became a Christian when we were about 14.
That was then. Between the camp that year and returning again the following year, I had a really bad time of it. I’d moved up to Year Six and fitting in was really really hard for me and along the line, I made some very bad choices. The punishments were mainly threats if I did something again which I didn’t and I think seeing my Mum cry (or at least walk through the foyer at school with a red face like she’d been crying) was enough for me to know that I was in serious trouble. Also the teachers were concerned that my actions were borne out of something like a educational need like Dyslexia or Dyspraxia (like my brother was later diagnosed with). I’m not really going into what happened any more as I don’t think it’s relevant any more but the thing I know is that we, as “older Christians” have to look after the newbies because I think the devil attacks in that period when you’re new in the kingdom and you’re not necessarily strong. (Does that make sense?)
So that’s part two, hope you come back for part three soon.