On Friday evening 29 GIG teens and leaders met at Granshaw to set off for a special weekend at Cornmill Quay in Annalong. We arrived at Annalong and after unpacking, enjoyed supper and a session getting to know one another and our speaker for the weekend, Louise Michael. Later that evening, after the sun had disappeared, we headed outside for our very own version of the Hunger Games and Alien Capture the Flag. I will leave that to your imagination. The rest of the evening was filled with music, dancing and late night discussion, most of which complete nonsense!
On Saturday we woke up and after some quiet time, Louise spoke to us for the first of 3 sessions. We looked at our own identity and how God has created us the way we are, and loves us that way. Along with some praise, this was a great way to begin the day.
After lunch we headed to the beach for some surf lessons with 'The Surf Project' (to find out more visit them on Facebook or their website www.thesurfproject.org). We all had a fantastic day on the waves, and absolutely everybody was getting the hang of it by the end of the afternoon. The team at the The Surf Project were absolutely amazing and we are very grateful for them coming up from Co. Clare for us (and also for the free t-shirts they gave us!!).
You would think that after a late night and a day of surfing people would have dinner and collapse into bed with exhaustion. But not on a GIG weekend! The party was only beginning. We had our second session with Louise, were we looked at how God wants to produce in us the fruits of the Spirit. Then, after a time of praise we enjoyed praying together and sitting in the presence of God. This was a special moment in the weekend, and one in which I will treasure for a long time.
After this session Ryan and Katie took us for their very own version of THE CRYSTAL MAZE-GAME SHOW-BIG FAT QUIZ-SATURDAY NIGHT TAKEAWAY-SUPER FUN EVENT. The guys did brilliantly to put this together and the night was filled with laughter. The night/early morning was completed with some impromptu raves and pranks and I apologize to any Annalong residents for the constant playing of 'Shut Up and Dance with Me' throughout the night (and whole weekend).
On Sunday Louise spoke on the 'the armour of God' for our final session. Our challenge as we left the weekend was to live lives filled with the fruits of the Spirit, helped by the armour that God has given to us. All the teens are so grateful to Louise for coming along, not only because God spoke through her, but also because she got stuck into the whole weekend and fitted in as if she had always belonged to GIG.
After lunch and tidy up we stopped off in Newcastle for a few hours before heading home for a shower and some catch up on sleep.
The weekend again highlights how fantastic the bunch of teenagers that make up the GIG family are. It is a privilege to call these guys brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is a blessing to be able to laugh, sing, learn and cry together. I want to thank all the teenagers for making the weekend so special. It is watching their love for one another that inspires and challenges myself and the rest of the leaders.
I also want to thank all the leaders who came along on the weekend. Our leaders pay to spend time with these teenagers, not because they have to, but because they want to. I also want to say a special thanks to Caroline and Gary McGaughey who also pay to come along and serve GIG by doing all the food and tidying up. The weekend runs smooth because of their service. Finally I want to say thank you to Louise Michael for coming along to speak to us this weekend. We all really appreciate the time that she has sacrificed to come and speak to us, and I am certain that the impact of her words will be enormous in the life of GIG.
Bring on the GIG weekend 2016.