“It’s Closer Than You Think”
24-29 September 2021
For the past couple of years, the WA Field Conference has been held at the Barbers’ farm, but this year it was inaccessible due to flooding. So instead, it was held at the Lausevics’ property.
Those that were staying overnight started arriving a couple of hours before sunset on Friday, and there was a bit of a scramble to set up and find enough extra blankets, because it was just as cold as predicted, and no one pays attention to the weather report nowadays. We were thankful for the hastily built fire courtesy of Johnny (thank you Johnny). Sabbath was opened with a prayer instead of the planned worship as the title “Closer Than You Think” appeared to be prophetic, both for those taking the worship, and for those listening.
Sabbath morning started with a health segment by Catherine Robles, focusing on things to drink immediately after waking up (besides water) that help start digestion and aid in overall health. The first one was nice, cold lemon water for the nice, cold morning. Then worship was held by Chris Newman on “Reasons for Christ’s Return.”
After that was breakfast and Sabbath School and looking for more blankets. Divine Service followed and was presented by Jacques Payet on the topic of “Pre-Pentecost Preparation.”
We then had a combined lunch and enjoyed the sun while sitting around the fire. Sometimes the official meeting area of a camp is different to the social area, but the cooler weather from Sunday onward meant the fire was universally appealing, and there was much toasting of toes.
After that was Young People’s meeting. The Children’s Treasure Sabbath School class had prepared an activity where the children gave out squares of paper that had a number on it. Once the number was called out, the person with the number answered a particular question. There were some very good questions, and it was interesting to hear other peoples’ answers.
After some more items we were divided into teams and given painting supplies and a canvas. The instructions were to paint what we pictured when we thought of Heaven. There were many and varied interpretations and styles, with several overarching themes, and some things that only a couple people thought of. I noticed several paintings of the Tree of Life, along with many mansions, and streets of crystal and gold. In our group there was a lion and the lamb lying down together, a river, and an attempt on my part to represent the glory of God, which we can only assume was lacking the brilliancy of the original. The meeting stretched out longer than intended due to some artists needing to complete their paintings to the fullest realisation. After everyone was done, the groups went up front and explained their paintings and what their team had suggested. Everyone enjoyed the chance to release their inner artist, as well as to think about what we have to look forward to.
As has become the custom for camps in WA, youth activities planned for the evening morphed into discussion around the fire. The rain held off in the evenings, so we had plenty of opportunity to talk.
On Sunday morning there was another health segment, this time with probiotics as the drink of the hour. There was a bit more hesitation for this one, and much ruminating on the flavour profile from the bacteria, with some concluding that it had an aftertaste of molasses. After that we had worship held by Catherine Robles on “My Readiness for Christ’s Return,” which was very interesting.
Children’s activities on Sunday were organised by Chloe Brown. In the morning the activity was making clay oil lamps to go along with the lesson of the 10 wise and foolish virgins. Many were the shapes thereof. After a break the hot glue gun was brought out, and the kids and the hot glue assistants got to work making small tree houses out of circles of wood and small logs. There was a plethora of designs far beyond what Chloe had imagined, which included ladders, many different levels, and in one instance a crane/swing fusion made of hot glue string with a honky nut at the end (I’ve been informed that honky nuts are a WA thing, so that’s gum nuts for everyone else). Towards the end there was a movement to add bracken fern leaves to the houses, which grew until each house had a bit of greenery or a leaf on it. After lunch there were boats made with wine corks and toothpicks, along with little cloth sails.
At lunch the tables that the kids were using were moved out from under the gazebo and loaded up with food. The optimistic and those that didn’t want to move the tables again, assured the doubters that it wasn’t going to rain. When it started raining there was a scramble to put the tables back under the gazebo, and make sure everyone could fit underneath. It was a bit of a squeeze, but we managed after some shuffling. If there were complaints, no one heard them through the downpour.
It cleared up in enough time so that thankfully, the fire didn’t go out. The kids decided that plain watermelon simply wasn’t good enough, so they decided to roast it on the fire. Not to imply that they ate it afterward, of course. The fun was in the roasting, not the eating.
There was another kids’ activity in the afternoon led by Johnny. He got them to change a tire and demonstrated how to fix a hole in it, as well as how to pump it up. Everyone got a turn loosening the lug nuts to take the old tire off, after a search for an appropriate wrench. There was also a special commendation to Josiah for sticking around until the very end.
On Sunday night everyone was a bit reluctant to leave the fire to go watch the planned short film, so it ended up with Luke bringing the projector, laptop and whiteboard out by the fire. The whiteboard was unused, because the film ended up being projected onto the side of the Kneebone’s caravan awning. There was a great deal of talk about angles and resolution from the seats around the fire. It was much appreciated, and everyone enjoyed the outdoor theatre experience.
On Monday morning the health segment concluded with carrot and celery juice, which wasn’t much of a surprise because it is hard to hide the presence of a juicer. After that was worship on “Preparing Others For Christ’s Return,” by Jhana Lausevic.
A large part of Monday involved recording the audio and filming for Jade’s Scripture song for that week. The audio was first, so that the kids would have something to sing to when they were filming. We usually just see the end results of what we watch and might not realise the amount of time and detail that goes on behind the scenes. Participating in it definitely helped me gain a new appreciation for how much work Jade puts into her videos—particularly the audio! A great deal of work was also done by the guardians of the children, to keep everyone clean and out of puddles before the filming even began.
Everyone eventually made their way down to the orchard for the filming, where they were organised in as orderly and picturesque a way as possible. It was cloudy when we started filming, but the sun soon came out, to the joy of those behind the camera, and the great displeasure of those in front of it, who were facing the sun. Many were the directives to “look at the camera!” that resulted in great tribulation. Despite that, there were lots of laughs and smiles because Shadow, the Border Collie, was determined to capture the drone, which was buzzing tauntingly just out of her reach. For other shots the kids enthusiastically obeyed the instructions to climb up and down the pine-needle-covered walls of the dry dam. Afterwards there was a bit of a discussion as to whether Luke had “landed” the drone in a pine tree again, but we were assured that it wasn’t the case.
The rain held off long enough to get the necessary footage and was polite enough to give lots of advanced warning of its approach. Nevertheless, we were still occasionally taken by surprise, rather aptly demonstrating the theme of the camp! Despite the sun and rain, we were reliably informed that filming of the video was a favourite part of camp for many of the children.
On Monday evening an impromptu conference occurred to help Cameron figure out the camp fees, taking into account that not everyone stayed the night, and some only came one day, and how much the amenities cost if the showers didn’t work until Sabbath.
On Tuesday those left at camp proceeded to pack up. Blankets were returned. The oil lamps that had been drying for most of camp were distributed to their respective owners, and when they were filled with oil and tested the following Sabbath (in a safe and supervised manner) they burned very well. After packing there was cleaning up and sorting out who owned the cutlery that was lying around, and who was willing to take them if their owners had already left.
I found this year’s Conference to be a great blessing, and I enjoyed the meetings and worships that I attended. It’s always nice to have the conference as an outdoor camp, despite the rain, and the extended camp meant it was more relaxed, with plenty of time for fellowship. Many thanks to the Lausevics for the use of their property!
~ Reported by Hannah Lausevic