The adventures continue for the NBC Youth Group as we begin to wind down Plant Camp in Salt Lake City. All week the teens have listened to great preaching, and they have worked hard to assist Gospel Grace Church in reaching the local community. It has been encouraging to see their dedication to the work, all while putting in long hours each day.
Thursday our teens took on a service project as Gospel Grace Church held a free car wash for the community. The three youth groups split into teams, with some cleaning cars while others helped clean out a portion of the church. During the course of a few hours several locals were treated to snacks and conversation while their vehicles were washed. It was a nice way to serve some of the people of Salt Lake City with no strings attached.
Later in the evening we joined the youth groups from Wisconsin and California along with Gospel Grace and Plant Camp staff for a bonfire dinner in Wasatch Mountain State Park. The park is nearly 23,000 acres and hosted events during the 2002 Winter Olympics. The teens were able to explore some of the terrain and have a time of fellowship. Each group was asked to bring different chips as part of a contest, leading to quite a few different flavors to sample. We also had a time of music and testimonials while enjoying the beauty of the mountains. Arriving home around 9 p.m., it was nice to wrap up a day slightly earlier when compared to the opening part of the week. After a few hours of downtime at the house we turned in for the night.
Friday we began wrapping up our Plant Camp experience. In the morning Will Galkin led us in a time of studying God’s word at Ensign Peak. We started with a time of instruction at the base of the peak before setting out on the hike to the top. There, we held our Power Groups and enjoyed the view of Salt Lake City. It is breathtaking to view the entire valley and enjoy God’s masterpiece. After the hike we traveled to Gospel Grace Church and ate lunch before setting out on another round of canvassing neighborhoods in the surrounding community. It was another hot day, so we stopped at Sonic for refreshing drinks when the work was complete.
The sponsors had a chance to meet with Galkin and Jon Kopp, one of the pastoral team at Gospel Grace, to learn more about the church, its mission and plans for the future. One of the statistics they offered reinforced the need to canvas and try to reach out to the community. Galkin said that if 33 new churches were started, all averaging attendance of 400 each Sunday, it would still only raise the fraction of Evangelical Christians in Salt Lake City by one percent based on current population data. One percent! When you hear numbers like that, it’s easy to understand their burden for the area. There is much work to be done here, and a great need for servants ready to answer the call.
Upon returning to the church, we regrouped and headed across the street to Liberty Park. There our teens conducted more surveys of the local community and invited any teens they spotted to the Cola Wars event that kicked off in the early evening. The Noblesville teens had put in so much hard work this week, Friday night’s Cola Wars event was a rewarding opportunity to play for a few hours. And play they did, competing in a number of intense games before eating pizza and listening to a 15-minute message given by Galkin. We traveled back to the house afterward, arriving a little after 9 p.m.
After Friday’s hike and the Cola Wars event, there is no doubt some will wake up in the morning sore from the activities. But it will be a good kind of soreness, reminding us of the great day of events we experienced.
Saturday will be our last activity with Gospel Grace Church. They are hosting a carnival at Liberty Park in the morning, and we will help with that effort. The plan is to pursue some fun activities in the afternoon, and on Sunday we will attend the church service before driving over six hours to Las Vegas in order to stay overnight before departing for home on Monday.
It’s hard to believe Plant Camp is winding to a close, but this can serve as a catalyst for our teens, sponsors and pastoral staff. There can be much taken from our experience here. Please pray that this week will have a great impact on all involved. Pray that we are burdened to do more in Noblesville and greater Hamilton County to reach the lost. In the coming days we will be traveling once again. Pray that we are protected while on the road and that we arrive at our destination safely.