THE sky was the limit when 160 teenagers took part in Emmanuel Community’s “Zero Gravity” camp in January on the Sunshine Coast.
Numbers almost doubled last year’s tally with young people arriving from as far as Hervey Bay, Gympie, Dalby, Bundaberg and Adelaide for three days of fun, faith and friendship themed “The Quest”.
“This year’s camp was about the journey of discovering our purpose in life and what the treasure is for us,” organiser Luke Plant said.
“Young people were really changed … when they left they were very different.
“Many stated how they had experienced the Holy Spirit in a way they didn’t know they could.”
Zero Gravity included Mass, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, prayer, reflection, worship by award-winning group emmanuelworship, talks, testimonies, small groups and outdoor activities.
The theme of “The Quest” was presented under the titles of “What is the quest?”, “Preparing for the quest”, “Embarking on the quest”, “Who is the Holy Spirit?”, “Power for the quest”, “The way of the quest”, “Living the quest” and “Continuing the quest”.
Luke said the power and presence of the Holy Spirit was tangible.
“I think one of the indicators of how God worked at the camp was that we had an optional Mass at 7am on two of the mornings and about 100 young people attended each morning,” he said.
“High school aged teenagers were involved in many areas including being part of the band, assisting small groups, sharing their testimonies and experiences of faith and by creating an ‘Indiana Jones-type’ movie that was shown in episodes on each day of the camp.”
Five priests and 40 leaders joined the teenagers for the experience, welcoming many returning Zero Gravity participants.
Further “fruits” were evident in the final thoughts of the teenagers.
“Zero Gravity 2009 moved my faith to a higher level, giving me more confidence, trust, hope, reassurance in my faith,” Brittany Carter, 14, of Hervey Bay said.
“Getting prayed over by a prayer team opened my eyes to God and His love and power that He has for me.
“My goal is to keep this feeling going throughout the year,” she said.
Oliver Holcolmbe, 15, of Dalby also said the trip was time well spent.
“I experienced God in some way every day on the camp, whether it be through song, personal prayer or listening to people’s experiences of God,” he said, as did “first timer” Madeleine Gardner, 15, of Bray Park.
“The speakers were so inspiring and they have opened me up to God,” Madeleine said.
“(The Sacrament of) Reconciliation lifted some of the weight that was holding me back and now I am just a happier person … the band were out of this world … I never knew that singing about Jesus would be so cool.”
Luke said the number of teenagers present “exceeded expectations” and were mostly “a result of World Youth Day”.
“We were just blown away by what God did at Zero Gravity … the change in people’s lives is paramount,” he said.
Luke and other members of EYO (Emmanuel Youth Outreach) are now organising the first “Fuel” initiative for 2009 on February 15, previously held in Fortitude Valley but this year offered at Sacred Heart Church, Rosalie (corner Given Terrace and Herbert Street).
The community celebrates Mass at 5.30pm and Fuel commences at 7pm.
EYO’s other major event for the year is the Ignite 09 Conference from September 24 to 27.
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