This weekend our church had a camp at Willow Park Christian Camp, with the aim of getting the congregation to get to know each other a lot better.
Due to our flat tyre ordeal we had to pack in a rush and impressively managed to do that in just under an hour! We were supposed to have dinner before arriving there but we ended up just having a bite in the car on the way there.
Because one of the car tyres was a temporary tyre, Aonghas had to drive no faster than 80km/h, but somehow we managed to get to the camp on Buckland's Beach just in time!
Everyone else was there already of course, but at least we weren't exactly the last! We unpacked all our bags, signed in and were directed to our cabin upstairs. There were two sets of stairs opposite each other, with the girls' cabins up one set and the guys' cabins up the other. Us three Anderson brothers shared a cabin with Jireh and Andrew, two guys from our youth group, as well as two adults.
While we waited for camp to kick-off, a few of us went over to the trampolines to play on. Jireh was showing off his somersaults while I...gave up and just lay there!
The bell finally rang and that signaled the start of camp! We all filed in to the hall where we were welcomed and given the camp booklets which had the timetable and the church concert lists. It looks like most of us Oddfellows would be in the same group!
After the introductions and welcomes, we played a few ice-breakers, including one where all of us were divided into two groups by a curtain. One person in each row would sit on either side of the curtain and as soon as it dropped the people would have to try be the first to name the other. If they didn't they'd have to go up on stage for punishment. I got an easy one - Ada one of our church pastors! Those who found themselves on stage ended up having to spell their names with their backsides!
We all then got together in our concert groups to discuss what we'd do for the concert. Half of the groups were given a song to perform while the other half of the groups were told to perform a skit on a certain topic. Ours was 'welcoming new people to church'. Originally we came up with a bit of a rhyming musical where one by one, a person with a unique background/situation came to church and they'd all be welcomed in the same way.
We didn't really decide on anything before it was supper time. During supper time we just sat around trying to flick a pen like how you see Asians do it, and I showed a few people my Community Pharmacy textbook with all those gory pictures!
I was told by my youth group leader Gabrielle that I was in charge of making sure that everyone had left the room by midnight, and so as we were approaching midnight I started shepherding everyone upstairs. The older fellowship stayed downstairs a little later, and so I thought I'd just leave them there.
I didn't really get much sleep at night due to a combination of reasons. It was so uncomfortable in a sleeping bag and there were quite a few loud snorers in my room!
Aonghas and I had to wake up early so that Aonghas could drive me back to West Auckland to teach music. Before I went to teach, we went through a McDonald's drive-by for breakfast.
Teaching didn't actually go too bad, a whole lot better than the week before! All the students were attentive and followed what I taught!
At the end of lessons as I was locking up the classroom, I was drinking the remaining of my hot chocolate when I felt something hard and thought maybe it was just a clump of sugar or chocolate. I decided to spit it out on the lid, and it turned out to be...
A BLACK BEETLE!
That was going to be the last I'd go to McDonald's!...or so I thought....
We got back to camp just in time for lunch, which consisted of burgers with pork ribs, which tasted really nice!
After lunch we had some spare time where we went to the gym to play around for a while. Some of us played badminton, while others played a bit of indoor soccer, some even played on the piano and others played with the small gridiron ball.
Free time soon came to an end when the group games began! We were put into random groups and then had to compete against other groups in games such as one involving blowing flour in a plate to try find a lolly and get it to another table with only your mouth, moving as many balloons from one place to another with a partner, balloon hockey, shifting water between containers with your hands, shifting rice between containers with only your face, building the highest tower with plastic cups...you get the picture! Unfortunately our group (group 1) almost lost every game!
After the games we had more spare time where we had planned to have our inter-fellowship soccer game. The only thing was...the other fellowship never showed up! Therefore we just formed random teams and played against each other. It got a little brutal at times with several injuries! I also kicked the ball up into the balcony, but fortunately I didn't hit anyone! It was quite even at the beginning but the other team scored a few more times after a while.
We were all pretty exhausted by dinner time. There wasn't much time after before it was the evening concert! We had half an hour to prepare our group's skit. We probably only spent five minutes sorting everything out!
The evening concert got underway in the hall, with a few of the groups leading songs, getting the audiences to join in. There were also skits but they were in Mandarin so I couldn't understand much of what was going on.
We were the sixth group to perform. In our skit, I was the minister preparing for the Sunday service, when different groups of people came in and I welcomed them all the same. There was Gabrielle the loud talker on the phone, Amelia with her Atheist friend (Eva), Ben the emo, James, James and David the geeks, Rebecca, Fiona and Nadine the druggies, Hamish and Aonghas the homeless people, and Jireh the fobby Asian tourist. After that skit I had people telling me I should become a minister! I'll have to consider that...
During supper we had to sit with our game groups to get to know each other and enjoy our snacks.
After supper we were free to do anything we wanted. I was given orders to keep an eye on the Oddfellows youth group, and to ensure they went to bed as soon as the older fellowship went to bed. They stayed up for a while as they were celebrating one of their members' (Shirley) birthdays and ended up playing Uno with this machine!
Some from our youth group just sat around a table talking. I went upstairs to my room to practise a couple of children's songs I had to help Gabrielle lead at the service the next morning, when some of the younger guys came in and started sharing jokes. I have to say some of them were quite random!
We all eventually came back downstairs to play cards for a while before some of them went back upstairs and I joined the others from my youth group who were just sitting around. It was approaching 1am when the older fellowship went to their rooms upstairs. It was now up to me to try get my youth group back to their rooms! They really wanted to stay up late though and some had even suggested switching off the lights and staying downstairs all night! I really didn't want to let Gabrielle down and tried to get them back upstairs. Claire started drawing a picture of me as a 'party pooper'! I ended up making a bargain with them that they could stay up till 1am and then they'd have to go upstairs. Even at 1am they were a bit unkeen to move until they heard some random noise which scared them!
I have to say I did feel slightly hurt, as if I was being blamed for everyone not being able to stay up late, but I guess that comes with the responsibility, and hopefully they'd eventually get over it...
Once again the sleep wasn't great. It took me ages to go to sleep, and when I woke up at 5am I couldn't get back to sleep, so I went for an early shower.
We had breakfast before Jireh and I went over to the trampolines to play around. Everyone else soon followed, before I was called in to rehearse for the church service. I discovered that while I was there, everyone else had gone down to the beach without me! I was a little gutted about that!
By 10am the church service started. Some members of the congregation showed up just for the service. Besides leading a couple children's songs with actions, the service was pretty much like any other church service, except we were in a different environment.
After the service we had a big group photo out on the field before going back into the room for some group games, which involved dressing up one person in the group with random objects we had to find. We ended with a fashion show before we all went back into the hall for lunch. Our cabin group had to prepare lunch so we had to put out the plates and the cutlery.
Lunch was nice, we had corn and lasagne! I had a second serving, not realising there'd be dessert afterwards!
We had a final clean up after lunch before the final prayer and then everyone began leaving. We finally left after a while, but not before taking one final walk along the beach with Nadine and her mum.
We were so exhausted after the weekend that as soon as we got home we all went to sleep!