Every year, hundreds of families, teenagers and young people go to De Betteld campsite. A beautiful conference center and holiday park with everything that goes with it. A lake, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a shop… De Betteld is a household name for our family. From Royal Mission we have been leading the children’s and teenagers’ work there for years called Megakids and Royal Adventure. Our daughters have been with us for many summers and are my best helpers. It is the place where they made friends and had wonderful moments.
Many teenagers and young people sign up to work with the kids or teenagers for one or two weeks. They are then coached, challenged and make good friends. They lead a group of kids or teenagers and are allowed to participate in all the games and competitions. All weeks are led by a wonderful team of coaches. So special that the coaches spend their holidays with this.
This year we had a team of 25 leaders in our week at Megakids. On Sunday we divide the tasks among them and that is the time to step out of your comfort zone. Because who is going to play Pinky and Binky? Who will tell the story and who will play in the band? Exciting challenges if you’ve never done this before. The great thing is that everyone wants to do something, they all want to commit themselves and belong. Because at Megakids you get friends and you don’t have to stay alone.
It’s the holidays and yet everyone is putting in a great effort. Every day at 8:30 am we are ready to pray and discuss. No one stays in bed, no matter how hot or cold it is and everyone is looking forward to the day. That’s really special, don’t you think? Teenagers and young people who give weeks of their holidays to make it a party for the kids. That is something of God, that is what God does in us. Vision sets people in motion. Vision for children’s work is so essential. You know, we’re not babysitting, we want to give children an encounter with Jesus. We’re not babysitting, we’re changing lives! That’s what happens at Megakids and that’s why they’re so keen to participate.
The leaders practice hard, the rap is memorized and movements for the songs are rehearsed. The football tables and the air hockey table are set up, the countdown is on and the shelter is ready outside to receive the kids.
The buddies come running at 9:30 am, they are the kids from groups 7 and 8. They are our youngest helpers! They help prepare everything and keep order, tidying up and cleaning. Something special again. These children often feel too big for Megakids, but are still too young for Royal Adventure. But working as a buddy is of course much more interesting! Then you are a kind of leader. You can no longer sit around and chat, but you have to be an example. How fun!
And then, the time has come. The children come running from all sides. Everyone chooses their own game or activity, indoors or outdoors. But then something very special happens.
I am standing in the room near the stage and see a number of children running forward, taking off their shoes and running back to the games. The same thing happens on both the boys and girls sides. I see big and small boys and girls doing this.
Then it dawns on me. These kids are the first to enter the room to reserve a place for themselves in the front row. It moves me, the kids are so pure and so enthusiastic. They want to sit close to the stage, close to the narrator and the song leader. They want to be able to quickly participate in the games or the movements at the front. Wow, what motivation. They want to be close to Jesus!
How beautiful to see and how much we can learn from it. I like those shoes in the front row. Maybe an idea for you if you go to your church next Sunday…