Coleg y Bala Weekends Part 2

The Coleg y Bala Youth Course was held on the weekend of November 9-11th.  And it was an historic event, as this was the biggest weekend )numerically) that had ever been held in the college since it became a youth and children’s residential centre, with 87 young people attending from every corner of Wales!  And there was also a significant number coming from Arfon, with 28 young people from Bangor, Felinheli, Llanrug, Llanberis, Deiniolen and Waunfawr sharing a bus to Bala (17 of them being young people who attend Cynllun Efe youth Groups).  Thanks to the Lord for his faithfulness in this regard.  What was particularly great to see was the number of young people who had previously attended the children’s courses experiencing the youth course for the first time.

Therefore we arrived in Bala just in time for the opening sesiwn.  However before this everyone was sorted into teams that weore different coloured caps with their leaders name on (for example the best team of the weekend was Andrew’s Team!)

HAving been sorted into teams everyone went down to the school hall for the opening session were different fun games were played, the rules were given and the theme for the weekend was introduced, namely ‘Encounters with Jesus.’  Following this there was  an opportunity for the young people to experience Coleg y Bala’s multiplex cinema, with three films on offer.  However before this We had to have our supper (as we had arrived late no thanks to the driver!)

After the films it was bed-time – and this meant a 5 minute walk to Bryn-y-Groes for the boys as there was not enough space in the college.  It was a nice staying in Bryn-y-Groes instead of having to drive the whole way to Glan-Llyna s we have had to do on previous courses.

Following breakfast on Saturday morning it was time for session 1 in the care of Gwilym Jeffs who took us through the account of Jesus turning the water into wine and challenged the young people if they had really seen the splendor and glory of Jesus like the disciples did on that day for the first time.  Small groups follwed a short coffee break.  I must confess  I was expecting my group of lads to be shy and quiet, as can often be the case, but praise God nothing could have been further from the truth!  We had a great time over the weekend with lots of difficult questions being asked and insightful observations being made.

Lunch followed small groups before we yet agin set off for the school where this time a Winter Wonderland was awaiting us.  I my opinion this was one of the highlights of the weekend, with lots of different christmassy stalls and games on offer  and Santa himself showing up!  I think it’s fair to say that the young people enjoyed it very much also.  After the Winter Wonderland there was a couple of hours of freetime for the young people to play games,watch the rugby or just sit around doing nothing (my personal favourite!)  However there was also an opportunity for those young people who wished to go deeper in their relationship with Jesus to attend ‘Boot Camp’ which geared up to help them grow as Christians.  It was really encouraging to see so many coming of their own free choice (this was an optional session) to consider how they could ‘shine like stars in the universe’ in a crooked generation (Philipians 2:14-16 was the theme).

After supper Gwilym delivered his second talk, this time centering on John the Baptists doubts about whether Jesus was the one they had been waiting for.  This session was a great comfort to those of us who tend to have doubts from time to time!  Following this session there was an opportunity for the young people to attend an (optional) time of extended worship in the college chapel.  Once agin it was immensely encouraging seeing the chapel full of young people hungry for God.  Saturday finished with ‘Bala’s Got Talent’ which is a regular fixture on these weekends.  This time the boys and the girls competed against each other, with the scores even at the end of the night.

The theme of Gwilym’s final session was Jesus calling Peter, concentrating particularly on how Peter saw how much of a sinner he was in the presence of Jesus and that this is something that we need to realize about ourselves as we draw near to him.

Before lunch the award ceremony was held and there was a note of sadness to the proceedings as a big goodbye was said to all of those in Year 11 who would not be coming back as they were now of the age to move up to the ‘Souled Out’ weekends.  They will i’m sure bring with them pleasant memories of their time on the youth course.  We returned to Arfon in good spirits having thoroughly enjoyed ourselves once agin.  Thanks to the staff of the college who organized it all and mostly to the Lord for his great faithfulness to us.

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