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ISMNZ Lower North Island Regional Camp 2022

24-26 June 2022 Forest Lakes

Taking advantage of this year’s new Matariki long weekend falling after Massey exams finished, we started camp on Friday afternoon, and drew on some of the ideas of Matariki for our camp theme: Matariki: New Beginings, New Life, You were made to shine!

37 attended including a few recent graduates and a couple of university staff; about 14 of us were ISM staff or volunteers, a high student to staff ratio- it’s typical these days to have less students but deeper connections! This camp also had lots of deep connections as the majority had attended last year. Some students and graduates came from as far as Dunedin, Auckland and Hamilton to reconnect. The camp always buzzed with chatter.

We began with some explanation of Matariki including games and a quiz. Bible study groups discussed John 1, 9 and 11, and Dianne led a reflective session on Psalm 19, all passages following the theme of stars, light and life. Plenty of time in small groups enabled good discussion about our understanding of Jesus in the gospels and time for students’ and grads’ to share their hopes and challenges regarding faith in the midst of study, work and thinking about returning home.

We also enjoyed some glimpses of the stars through the clouds as we toasted marshmallows over a bonfire and had fun with dancing, table tennis and games.

Some comments: “Everything about the camp was wonderful” “Psalm 19 really spoke into my life” “Relationships were deepened and strengthened through this time together over a long weekend. I see graduates taking the initiative to support and care for students and each other after the camp.”

Personally I was so happy to meet a student from IPU, now studying in Hamilton, that I hadn’t seen for a few years. It was very encouraging to see how his faith had strengthened, how he could relate the Bible to his home situation and talk realistically about the challenges of returning home. And I had a great discussion with another student considering returning home.

See you there next year! Ben Poulton Palmerston North ISMNZ Campus Worker

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