Highlights from the Teenager-Camp of the Olten Vineyard Church Switzerland,
October 7-14, 2006, in Riffenmatt
by Annette von Lerber Nyffenegger
Between October 7-14, 2006, my husband Jean-Jacques and I participated in a teenger camp. We were leaders of the Olten Vineyard Church and the Reformed Church in Switzerland and spent an exciting time with 16 teenagers aged 12 through 16 in a remote forrest house in Riffenmatt/Switzerland. We are overwhelmed by our experiences there! This is the comment of one of the teenagers: "It was a doozie!"
One sample: On October 10 in our morning devotion, we were talking about God's love for us. We also talked about how we feel in the presence of people that we know love us, but also in the presence of those that don't love us. As a reminder, we scribbled of the names of those we feel loved by and those we don't into our little devotion booklets. Independently of each other, my husband and I each wrote down the names of my brothers as an example of those who we feel don't love us a lot.
October 12, Jean-Jacques and I were shortly outside to clean up some things from the evening before. Exactly the moment we came to the bend of the mountain road, 2 bikers came riding past us and I said to Jean-Jacques, "Hey, this guy sounds like my brother David! And the other one - like my brother Adrian!" Very surprised yet joyously, we said hello and invited both Adrian and David into the house, where they got just in time for lunch (only on that day we were eating at 1:30pm, usually we ate earlier!).
After lunch, the teenagers sang us a Swiss fun tune. Animated by this song, I could get my two brothers to sing along with me another little tune in our Swiss dialect. The teenagers nearly died laughing!
This same evening, Debbie (another lady leader of this camp) gave an input of the working of the Holy Spirit. She told about her experiences in New York where she had ministered among ghetto-kids with Bill Wilson. Then she asked Jean-Jacques to tell about his experiences with the Holy Spirit. He actually wanted to tell something he had experienced two years ago. But instead, he stood before the kids with tears in his eyes saying, "I don't want to talk to you about something old but about something that has happened today and you all have witnessed it!" He held his devotion booklet up and said, "Two days ago, I wrote 'my brothers-in-law' in here when we were talking about not feeling loved by others. Exactly these two brothers of Annette came today without prior notice - you all have seen them. And they were so nice to me! One of them even hugged me twice tightly and I felt - that my former impression was wrong. This is a sign of God for you! He knows you and loves you! And often, people are caring more for you more than you are aware of."
Then Debbie asked if anyone wants prayer for healing. A 15-year-old girl asked to pray for her bad hip. We gathered around her. Her 13-year-old sister prayed first, "Lord, I'm hurting when I see my sister in pain because of her hip. Please heal her!" Other kids also prayed. When asking her afterwards if she had felt something in her hip, she said, "no, but my sister's prayer has done some real good for me!" I could confirm that also I had the impression of this prayer being pleasant for her. I also knew that both girls had their sick brother at home on their hearts and asked whether they wanted prayer for him. Both sisters sat by their side, hugged each other and all of us started praying for their little brother. The sisters shed many tears - and so did we! All of a sudden, this prayer was not about the little boy anymore, but about reconcilation among the two sisters. Afterwards, the elder sister said, "This reconciliation feels so great - you all should experiment it! I know that there are others of you here in the camp that are having difficulties with each other!"
We divided the sisters into two groups and gathered around them for prayer. There were tears everywhere, encouragement and hugs. Tearstained hankies came flying from everywhere and filled a whole bin!
Afterwards we burned them while standing around the bonfire singing happy songs - once again animated by the song my brothers and I had sung at lunch time.
The fact my brothers came biking passed our camp site without prior notice exactly on this October 12, 2006, was like a sign of God for what He had in mind doing this evening.
Another thing that has to be mentioned:
During the night from October 10 to 11, we had a special prayer night (on a voluntary base), where the teenagers could pray for half an hour or more in a room specially decorated for this event. In shifts, they prayed eagerly the whole night through. When the next morning, I read the diverse note papers they had pinned to the cross or to the "wailing wall", the number one concern was "reconciliation among brothers and sisters!"
On Sunday October 15, back at our Olten Vineyard Church, I told some people of our camp experiences and learned that several prayer groups independently from each other had the same impression of praying in particular for unity among the brothers and sisters during the camp.
Thank you God for YOUR work!!!