We asked Judith, a CEF first-timer, to write about her experience at SOTC (NI) last year.

I had never been involved with CEF until this summer when I first attended the CEF Training Week (Summer Outreach Training Course) in Kilkeel. My friend had asked me earlier on in the year if I would like to go with her and I never say no to a camp so I signed up straight away. To be honest I wasn’t overly excited about it because I thought it would just be a lot of boring classes about things that I already knew but I was definitely wrong.

I can honestly say that Training Week was definitely the best camp I have ever been on and I promise I am not exaggerating. The classes ranged from how to teach a Bible lesson, how to lead children’s praise (which of course involved a sing-along), right through to child protection. There were even classes about the Roman Catholic and Islamic faiths, these were great because it meant we ourselves had a better understanding of these faiths and we would know more about the cultures that some of the kids attending the clubs/camps might be from.

I had two assessments to do, one involved teaching a memory verse and the second involved having to teach a Bible lesson. A lot of work and preparation went into both of these assessments but the leaders were always there to help you out for whenever you got stuck. I was pretty scared about these assessments but they really taught me to rely on the Lord because we are weak without His strength. We had a couple of hours of free time each day when we could either catch up on sleep, go outside or on one day we all went for a wee walk at Silent Valley.

Although the free time was always great fun, the highlight of Training Week for me was the praise time in the evenings. It was so amazing to be able to worship with a group of believers who were a similar age. You could really feel the Lord’s presence and everyone was genuinely praising our wonderful God. Overall, training week really impacted my walk with God and strengthened my own faith.

The next week I was then a leader at the North-Eastern camp.  Here, what I was taught from Training Week was put into practice. I thoroughly enjoyed my week and had great fun with all the campers and the fellow leaders. I especially enjoyed having quiet times with the kids at night because it was so encouraging to hear them tell us what their favourite parts of the day were and to even hear them pray for their friends and family, as well as for themselves.

I am really thankful that I was on these two camps this summer and God-willing I will be going back again next year. I didn’t only get to know new people but more importantly I got to know more about God.