Dear fellow young people,
Greetings from our new home, New Zealand, the Land of the Long White Cloud. It has been a while since there has been a youth report from New Zealand, but I'd like to share with you all a little of the conference we had here over the Easter 2005 weekend. The campground is situated on Clarks Beach, across the Manukau Harbour with views toward Auckland. The cabins, the meeting hall and the dining/kitchen all face toward the beach, and at night it was a beautiful sight to see the moon shining full over the bay. The theme of the conference was "A Cry at Midnight," focusing on the ten virgins, and the coming of the bridegroom.
As usual, there were many meetings, which we all attended, but on Sunday afternoon it was planned to have a special youth activity. Unfortunately, my dad had been so busy, that he didn't have anything planned, but sometimes that is a lot better. It was pretty much left up to us young people, Caleb Kingston, Micah Bayne, Krystle and myself, to decide what we wanted to do. Trying to keep it practical, hands-on and still to the theme proved a little difficult, but we eventually got a bright idea. Being so close to the beach, we thought it would be good to illustrate something with a similar wise/foolish theme, logically the foolish man's house built on the sand. We all trooped off to the beach, and chose the site for our house, close enough to the water, so that the tide would cover it when it came in. Because the tide was out at the time, the mud flats were exposed, with plenty of rocks available for our use. With a lot of participation from all, we designed a 4-room house, with a decorative tower at one corner, and optimistically tried to put a roof on it. We were all very aware that we were building the foolish man's house, yet were quite sure that it would stand the test, just like the foolish man thought his house would stand.
We had a lot of fun building the house, and saying that we were like foolish people trying to design a beautiful house on sand. Finally, our house stood, complete with a roof and above it we wrote a sign in the sand, "Do not touch, foolish man's house!" After the adults were finished in their meeting we called them down to have a look at it, and all tried to predict how long it would stand. Unfortunately, Caleb and Micah had to leave at teatime, so they didn't see the end result.
After tea and evening worship, Krystle and I got a cup of herbal tea, and then decided that we would like to see the house again. We ran down there, and sat on a rock to watch the tide come in. It had already started to come in, so we knew it was only a matter of time. At 9:50pm, the first wavelet touched the corner of the house, and we sat in tense silence to see how long it would take to collapse. Little by little, rock-by-rock, each part of the house started to crumble, and by 10:10pm, just 20 minutes later, 'the foolish young people's house' was flat. It left us with a sense of disappoint-ment, even though we knew it was inevitable. We left for bed then, but took with us a very useful lesson.
If we, as young people, build our lives on the 'foolishness' of what the world offers, it won't take long for our 'character' house to fall. Our only hope is to place our trust upon the rock, Jesus, as this is the only thing that is solid enough to stand against the temptations of the devil.
We were all very encouraged by the spiritual lesson we took from this practical application, and hope you will be too. I pray that each one of you will make sure that you have a solid foundation in your lives, and please remember us over here in your prayers.
Absent in body, but not in spirit,
Your sister in Christ,