Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Winter Camp: A Note from Mark

I was in the middle of a week of meetings with church leaders and pastors in Hong Kong. I checked email that afternoon and received a message from Andy asking if I would consider leading worship for the winter youth retreat. 'Winter Camp' was less than 2 weeks away! Yikes! The worship leader who was slated for the event was called away to a family emergency - songs were already selected, the band was rehearsed and my head was totally light years away from thinking Youth Retreat!
It's exactly what God had planned for me since the beginning...through the miracle and speed of technology, I was able to review songs from earlier university gigs we did in Beijing, send the chord charts & mp3's to my friend Don McCaleb. He posted them on the youth winter camp web site for the band to download, practice and 2 days before camp - I was sitting on a stool on the stage of Woodmen Valley Chapel, leading a rehearsal. Two days later (and in the middle of jet lag) I was leading 350 students in worship with a very competent and focused band around me.
The Spirit of God was like a fresh wind that blew through that place as students worshiped with abandon! There's something about youth that is 'free' in their worship, no inhibitions, no pretense - just simply "child-like". (Matthew 18:3) It was a refreshing 3 days hanging out with students, hearing their stories of renewal, commitment, brokenness and determination to live the life for Him! I am grateful to God for the opportunity. Honestly, I was ill prepared, jet-lagged, didn't really want to do it, but the Father in his loving ways, always knows what's best for us even when we don't. Note to self: to obey is better than sacrifice.