Last year, IYF Thailand received the words to hold 4 more camps which led to 6 camps and experiencing God’s works of preaching the gospel to over 10,000 students. While preparing for this year’s camp however, there were students cancelling participation due to internet sites that posted baseless slanderous comments about the IYF. Despite this, there were more students who opened their hearts towards us and there were more number of participants than last year.
From January 28th to 30th, 2016, the first World Camp began at Thammasat University with over 4,000 students, more than 50 VIPs, and the opening declaration of the IYF Thailand Branch Manager, Hak Cheol Kim.
Congratulatory messages were given with the vice president of Thammasat University giving a welcoming message, Governor of Pathumthani Province giving an opening speech, and Deputy Minister of Social Affairs giving words of encouragement.
The performances of Rio Montana, Lincoln House Ulsan School, and the Gracias Music School students captivated the hearts of the participants.
Pastor Ock Soo Park who was invited to this camp as lecturer delivered a message saying that young people fall into despair easily when they face small difficulties but, it is important to look towards hope from inside the darkness when such things arise in our hearts.
The Education Leaders’ Forum and Christian Leaders’ Forum was simultaneously held with the World Camp. Various university presidents, deans, professors, etc. educational personnel from countries such as India, Romania, etc. excluding Thailand gathered to discuss the future education of youths.
On 28th, the first day, the students spent a joyful time forming a united heart with each other and learning one another’s hearts through the Scavenger Hunt game.
In the morning of the 29th, the students had language academy time. The language academy comprised of Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish provided the students with the opportunity to learn the language they wished to learn.
Each morning at this Camp, special guest lecturers were invited to share their story.
The participants were mesmerized by each country’s cultural performance and various music performances prepared every session.
On the second day, experts were invited to carry out the academies. This Camp’s academy session was special. Cooking, barista, first aid, K-POP, beauty, Taekwondo, Thai kick-boxing etc. 30 different types of academies were held. The academy session was even more special this time because of the new academy classes that are usually difficult to encounter. Rare academies such as candy-making or flight attendant classes were popular with students and we could see them rushing to get seats before the session even began.
The main Lecturer Pastor Ock Soo Park spoke to the students about the foolishness of believing in one’s own thoughts through the story of the Prodigal Son and John, who lost an arm, leg, and eye in war. He lectured on the wisdom of listening to people above us in thought even though our thoughts may be different from them.
In the afternoon of the 30th, the last day of the Camp, the ‘Culture’ that introduces cultures of countries was held. Countries in America, Africa, Europe as well as India, Philippines, Korea, China, Vietnam, Japan etc. with various cultures gathered in one spot to attract the students’ attention. The culture booth was prepared by Goodnews Corps alumni of 1st to 9th class in the Good News Mission Bangkok Church. Each volunteer decorated their booths with photos containing the experiences and memories from the country they had been to. The students experienced diverse culture through the traditional clothes and food that the volunteers prepared.
The reason this Camp was particularly filled with grace is because we were invited to many other schools after the Thammasat University Camp and we held three more World Camps in three more schools. The Camps that followed after were able to deliver joy and hope to 2,300 students in two colleges and one high school.
God, who allowed a total of 6 World Camps last year, sent us even more students for this year’s first Camp. We could see the work of the gospel fulfilled in Thailand, a Buddhist country that never seemed possible, through faith inside the plan of God. Whenever we see students receiving salvation and going for overseas volunteer through the World Camp, we look forward to churches being established in every city in Thailand and the work of gospel arising in every one of them.