May 17, 2017
West Coast Youth Challenge
The 2017 West Coast Youth Challenge was held April 28-30 at a campsite near Sutherlin, Oregon. This year, attendees came from California, Oregon, and Washington, and also the East Coast and Canada. The weekend theme was “Experience the Fullness of God” and the key Scripture was from Ephesians 3:14-19, which includes, “That ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” The weekend was a time for the young people to explore the vastness of God and experience His fullness.
In the first group session on Friday evening, there was time for singing and a few testimonies, and then Andy and Tina Chasteen of Medford, Oregon, led a session titled “Why Me?” They spoke of the need for each person to be born again and how Christians are spiritual lights in a world of sin and darkness. They read verses about being saved and verses about the importance of spiritual light, such as John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” They also did an activity in which every attendee was given a light to demonstrate the difference they can make in the darkness, both individually and collectively. The session ended with a time of prayer.
After breakfast on Saturday morning, the first session of the day began at 10:00. Erik Calhoun and Trent Paulsen, both from Portland, Oregon, led a discussion titled “Exploring the Vastness of God.” They spoke and used projected media to teach about the deeper experiences of sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and discussed how the names of God reveal His vastness, mightiness, and unlimited power.
In the afternoon the attendees were divided by age for separate sessions. Alex and Lorina Wilson of Seattle, Washington, spoke to the high school group about becoming spiritually established and seeking to know for themselves what they believe rather than assuming that what others say is correct. Florin and Jill Baros of Port Angeles, Washington, spoke to the college age group about the need to be determined not to turn away from the Lord, not treating their relationship with Him casually but making it their first priority. Those who were older than college age participated in a session led by Ryan and Iudita Trotter of Chehalis, Washington. They referenced Ezekiel 22:30 and urged the group to stand in the gap and be ready to answer yes when God calls them to service.
For a few hours before dinner there was free time for playing sports or other games, going for a ride on the camp zip line, or just hanging out with friends. Since the young people live all over the country, they don’t see each other often and it was a good opportunity to catch up. There was also a session divided by gender where leaders spoke about God’s design for marriage.
The final session of the day included an extended time for testimonies with many young people telling how God is helping them with daily challenges they face. One powerful testimony was given by Jill Baros, who was left fighting for life last summer due to complications during childbirth. Prayer was made and her life was spared, and she said she is grateful to be alive but is not afraid to die; she looks forward to meeting her Savior someday. Following the testimony time, John Baros of Roseburg, Oregon, spoke about “Experiencing the Fullness of God.” He said indulging in sin leaves souls unsatisfied, but those who hunger and thirst after righteousness are satisfied with the Lord’s provision. He again referenced Paul’s prayer in the theme verse, “…that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God,” reminding the group that the following verses promises that God is able to do “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”
The final gathering of the weekend was held Sunday morning. This session was led by Randal Lee of Medford, Oregon, and he began by holding up a photo of his son Oscar with a very expressive look on his face. Brother Randy compared the photo to the Bible, saying that the Bible is like a portrait of the Lord, revealing His personality and character. It was expressed that the Holy Spirit, the indwelling Word written on the walls of hearts, unlocks the breadth, length, depth, and height of Christ’s love and the fullness of God.
There was a lot for the young people to learn during the weekend, and prayer time after each session when they could seek the Lord personally and experience more of His fullness. Many of them returned home and testified of blessings received during the weekend, and we pray the impact will be long lasting.
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