Last weekend over 200 of Hills Bible Church Family attended our regular camp location of Phillip Island Adventure Resort. This was our biggest attendance yet and, thanks to everyone who was rostered on for duty and assisted in some way, it was a smooth weekend.
Campers were welcomed on Friday night by our fearless leader Pastor Andrew Edmonds with Hannah Langlois and Sonia Sires who presented the multitudes with local pizza ahead of the first session in the auditorium. The brightness of the screens nearly matched the brightness of the smiles. Andrew Reid commenced his teaching journey through “the book of covenants”, Malachi, with his first session: ‘The God Who Loves His People (Malachi 1:1–5)’.
Board games, table tennis, and fellowship of all kinds carried through night one. Before the rooster crowed, a couple dozen of Hills’ toughest were in the water at Smith’s Beach to commence day two – God appeared to have rewarded the early risers with a brilliant show as the morning sun cast pink across the consistently clean sets of waves. Thank you Josh Lyddy for establishing this new permanent fixture of the camp schedule.
Prayer meeting and breakfast set the tone for the biggest day of the camp as full-time campers were joined by another 30 or so day visitors. Melody Tan, Hannah Tay, and Ernest Tay took the stage to prepare our hearts with singing ahead of Session 2 ‘Responding to God’s Great Love (Malachi 1:6–2:16)’. Sonia Sires and the Children’s Program volunteers encouraged the children with camp songs and study before we gathered again for morning tea. We were nourished in the Word again in Session 3 ‘Practical Atheism: What It Is (and How to Avoid It!) (Malachi 2:17—3:12)’ before a hot lunch on a somewhat chilly day. The rain held out and we spread throughout the grounds to enjoy the many activities PIAR afforded us – archery, giant swing, flying fox, canoeing, drone corella mustering… there was no shortage.
Late in the afternoon, men, women, and children each headed off to designated sessions – Andrew Reid leading men, Heather Reid leading women, and Sonia Sires leading the children. A logistics delay in the men’s session presented the need for some filling – Simon Kepert stepped into the void with the help of David Schwab to lead the men in a spontaneous rendition of ‘How Deep the Father’s Love’. We again joined together at the ‘Great Food Hall’ for dinner before Daniel Riad, Tim Lyddy, Isabelle Lee, Isabelle Baxter, Micah Lyddy, and Phebe Langlois steered us all through a Games Night to be remembered. The record books will show that the ‘Even’ team won, but the controversy will echo louder than the renditions of ‘How Great Thou Art’, Simon Kepert’s cajón playing, or the rain on the metal roof for years to come. The rain washed out the campfire, but the giant screen lit the auditorium with a digital version – there was no controversy to speak of here: a real campfire is unanimously better than a screen version. Guitarists Joshua Lim and Mark Ng supported Pamela Lim, Sarah Ng, and Ee Ling Ng in leading those huddled around the pile of marshmallows in worship songs (and even continued on with their own private jam session once the digital flames had expired). Unofficial Games Night continued late into the night in the hall where members of the ‘Odds’ team contended in chess, arm wrestles, Dutch Blitz, and Appletters in an attempt to regain the glory held earlier in the night. It was not to be.
Prayer meeting and breakfast on Sunday morning led us into the Lord’s Day service. This joyous morning was not hindered by the hushed murmurs among the musicians and AV team of ‘where’s Hannah Tay?’. Instead Simon Kepert, yet again, stepped into the void alongside Melody, Isabelle, Ernest, and Mike Guo who commenced worship seamlessly on Hannah’s arrival supported by Ken Yeap, Calvin Tong, Stewart Dobrzynski, Jiri Hrabal, and Matt Hunt on the desk. We concluded the camp teaching in Malachi with Andrew Reid delivering his fourth and final session: ‘Responding to a Faithful God (Malachi 3:13—4:6)‘.
Rev Ben Nelson led the service at MST with ‘Justification through Christ Alone’ from Galatians 2:15-21, supported by Daris Thomas, Kynan Tairi, Braeden Tairi, Joseph Magara, and all the volunteers in Wantirna. Whilst we were all physically apart, we were singing and worshipping at the same time in the same Body.
Thank you sincerely to all who contributed to the camp – whether by attending, actively volunteering, or ensuring worship could continue at MST. We truly hope the weekend was edifying to you, that you were able to engage with others within the Hills Bible Church family, meet those you haven’t before, and ultimately were strengthened and encouraged in serving our glorious Saviour Jesus Christ whether at camp or MST.
The sessions were recorded and will be available by next week’s bulletin. You can review them or watch them for the first time if you weren’t able to attend.
Until next year!