Junior Youth (Badaniatz) Camp 2008, in Anjar

Thanks be to God our Father, for He is the creator of all things and the giver of life and all blessings that are in heaven. And we thank Him especially because He gives us the opportunities to have spiritual retreats, through which different young and old people come to the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ, and grow in this knowledge by the power of the Spirit. So we are grateful to Him because, this year also, we had the opportunity to have badanyats hamakumar. We thank also the kortzateer who organized this camp and supported it financially.

The camp took place in Anjar from July 21-26, 2008. 76 teenagers participated in the camp with 10 leaders including the speaker and the general leader. The leaders were: Silva Chilingirian, Sevan Apelian, Zepure Tumberian, Asdghig Kasparian, George Sherbetjian, Jano Baghboudarian, Hagop Akbasharian, and Jiro Ghazarian, and the general leader of the camp was Bodveli Elias Ousta Jabbour. The speaker for the badanyats hamakumar 2008 was Badveli Hrayr Cholakian, and he presented a very interesting and relevant topic for the lives of our teenagers.

Front, from left: Asdghig Kasparian, Pastor Hrayr Cholakian, Pastor Elias Ousta Jabbour, Silva Chilingirian.
Back, from left: Sevan Apelian, George Sherbetjian, Zepure Tumberian, Jano Baghboudarian, Jiro Ghazarian, Hagop Akbasharian.

The title of the hamakumar was "Indifferent" or "that teenager is Different" (Undarpere yev Un-darpere), which the teenagers repeated saying it before the start of each talk. Badveli Hrayr, in four sessions, presented this topic explaining how the Christian teenager is called to be different and make a difference in the relationships with himself/herself, with his/her friends, with the environment, and with God. In addition, he led the nvirman bashdamounk (the worship for dedication). There, many teenagers were touched and reevaluated their lives and their relationships with God and their friends; many felt guilty because they never cared for some other teenagers who were present in the camp and who were alone without friends. And in the prayer time that followed the dedication worship, many teenagers prayed with the different leaders about their different decisions. In fact, some other lectures and practical activities that involved the teenagers strongly supported the theme of the camp and helped to settle it deeply in the minds and hearts of the teenagers. For instance, one of the general knowledge lectures was presented by an Armenian Social Association called the "Horizon" that fights drug addiction and help those who are addicted; they raised awareness in the minds of the teenagers about drug dealing and addiction. Another general knowledge session was presented by YASA . They also challenged the teenagers about the serious risks in careless driving, and explained for them how they can help best in situations of car accidents on the high ways. On the other hand, the third general knowledge session was about photography, which was presented by Rev. Vicken Cholakian. This lecture was of a big interest for the teenagers, and it presented the different techniques and basic guiding steps in taking successful photos. Moreover, the teenagers had as usual their recreational activities in the afternoons; they had water and tele-match games, hiking in the mountains of Anjar, and a swimming day. However, one of these activities was strongly and deeply related to the theme of the camp; in fact, it was the practical side of it. This was the idea of Badveli Hrayr. Each playing team was given 5000 L.L. and was asked to utilize this amount of money in the best way possible in any kind of service in Anjrar. Therefore, one of the teams went to visit some elderly homes and bought food and other stuff for them. Another team cleaned the church and its surrounding. And the third team went to visit the camping center of the Armenian Apostolic church in Anjar to do a program for the kids there. After that activity, we had our prayer time with the teenagers, and they were really glad for the things they did in the service of God, the neighbor, and the environment; thanks be to God.

The camp lasted from Monday till Saturday noon, and we (the leaders and the teenagers) felt God's presence and grace that accompanied us throughout these six days in spite of all the circumstances. Honestly, we felt in the beginning that this camp was not going to take place, or that it was not going to be a successful one because we lacked leaders. However, God is good and generous, and He provided us till the end. Continue to pray for our teenagers and for the decisions that they took so that they may keep faithful to their dedication and make a difference wherever they exist, for the glory of our God and Father.

Pastor Elias Ousta Jabbour