One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First (Grand Rapids), Grandville, Hope (Redlands), Kalamazoo, Lynden, Pittsburgh, Southeast, Southwest, Spokane, and Zion.
The week began on Monday afternoon with the conventioneers boarding two coach buses at Grace church and arriving at the camp around 4 p.m. There were donuts and free time until Professor Dykstra’s speech on the apostle’s words “Let no man despise thy youth” (1 Tim. 4:12). This topic was expanded on more fully each night during group devotions and was accompanied by a variety of speeches on several notable figures from Old Testament history.
Following the speech, the first team game, a boat-building competition, was held at the beach. At the whistle, each team was asked a list of Bible trivia questions. With every correct answer, a player was sent out to grab a supply of their choice from a massive pile of kiddie pools, cardboard, and pool noodles. After assembling the makeshift boats using duct tape and rope, the teams walked to the water for the relay races. While some boats floated better than others, everyone had a great time cheering the players on!
On Tuesday morning, Rev. Joe Holstege spoke on Judah, the son of Jacob known for both his evil ways and his later repentance. Team games were held again, this time in the style of an “Amazing Race” that was continued on Thursday afternoon. Games included giant beach volleyball, broomball, and Bible trivia. Later in the evening, Professor Dykstra spoke on David and Goliath, after which yard game tournaments (volleyball, Spikeball, and 3-on-3 basketball) began.
Wednesday morning the chaperones woke up early to make breakfast for all the conventioneers and the camp staff. The meal consisted of French toast, hash browns, breakfast sandwiches, and made-to-order omelets. The amazing homemade breakfast was definitely a highlight of the week! Later that morning, Rev. Bruinsma gave a speech on Jael, while the rest of the day was kept open for unscheduled leisure time. There was much more free time compared to previous years, and it was often used for playing Spikeball and beanbags or canoeing and spending time in the game room. That night, there was an optional question-and-answer panel about the current church controversy, which lasted several hours. It was an appreciated time of discussion and was very well attended by campers and chaperones.
Thursday, the final full day of convention, began with a speech on David’s mighty warrior Benaiah from Rev. Kleyn. After the speech, teams finished off organized games and then had time to go tubing on the lake. This was something unique to a smaller convention, and the young people really enjoyed it! Banquet was later that night, with delicious brisket as the main course and cheesecake for dessert. After-banquet games were a success with pin the tie on the minister, jeopardy, and the ministers competing in a hot dog bun eating contest (pictures are worth seeing!) By Friday morning, everyone was packed up and ready to head back to West Michigan.
God undoubtedly used this “mini convention” for the good of the young people. Not only were the speeches clearly biblical and applicable, but the precious communion of saints was experienced powerfully, something that perhaps has been taken for granted in the past. Overall, the week was a wonderful and spiritually edifying time. As young people, we give thanks to God for this opportunity to fellowship with one another!
Leah is a senior at Covenant Christian High School and attends Zion Protestant Reformed Church.
Originally published Vol 80, No 11 November 2021