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2024 West Coast Youth Summit

On Friday evening, April 19, young people and staff gathered at Kellogg Springs Camp, near Roseburg, Oregon, for the 2024 Youth Summit. Attendees came from as far south as Richmond and Sacramento, California, and as far north as Yakima and Port Angeles, Washington, as well as places in between.

The theme for the weekend was “A More Excellent Way,” and the texts studied at five sessions were all taken from 1 Corinthians 13. On Friday evening, Randal Lee, from Medford, Oregon, opened with an overview of the chapter, which was written by Paul and is all about God’s love. That passage also mentions God’s gifts, and Brother Randal brought a gift that his wife, Ashley, had always wanted: an A-frame cabin in the woods. While she would probably prefer a life-size cabin, the one he presented was made of Legos. When he opened the box, he found instruction booklets and several bags of tiny pieces. Making an A-frame from those pieces seemed overwhelming. Several observers offered a “better” way to build the cabin, but in the end, it proved best to just follow the instructions. Brother Randal encouraged the group to build their lives according to God’s plans, as He truly knows the best way.

The session on Saturday morning was about the importance of charity. Florin Baros, from Port Angeles, talked about how God gives each person gifts, but they are only valuable when they are used through His unconditional love. After a short break, Sister Ashley talked about “The Impeccability of Love.” The objective was to distinguish the difference between true charity (or love) and worldly imposters. Everyone separated into groups, and then each group made a poster about charity that included facts and characteristics, examples, and a seven-word definition. All of the posters were hung around the chapel so that everyone could consider and appreciate the ideas shared.

On Saturday afternoon there was a couples’ panel of Chris and Jessica Oilar and Rob and Alicia Parker, from Portland. They answered twelve questions about love and marriage and gave practical advice about serving the Lord with a spouse. They discussed the importance of making sure that a potential spouse shares a biblical worldview. They also described how being in love is a wonderful feeling, but love is also a choice and a daily commitment, just like serving the Lord is a daily commitment. Love in marriage should be sacrificial.

Alex Wilson, from Seattle, spoke on Saturday evening about “The Indestructibility of Love,” focusing on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12. He referenced Psalm 90:2, where it says that God is everlasting, and 1 John 4:16, which says that God is love. Combined, these verses indicate that God is everlasting love. The material gifts received from God will all eventually dissipate, but His love will remain. In small groups, individuals had to come up with a thirty-second pitch to convince the rest of the group to do something that he or she enjoys. Brother Alex's wife, Lorina, then asked questions of the entire group, causing all to consider the hobbies they had advocated. Are they things that can be used to spread the Gospel or be done to the glory of God? Are they prioritized over serving God? The activity was a good reminder to keep all things in perspective, and to always keep God first. Brother Alex went on to point out that one day, God will bring perfection and completeness. To demonstrate, he led everyone in a game of charades. He noted that the audience was guessing based on limited information, and people today also have limited information and understanding about human existence. However, someday, all will be clearly seen and understood. Until then, everyone must accept God's love, stay in it, and grow in it.

For the final session, Erik Calhoun, from Portland, spoke about “The Invincibility of Love,” referencing 1 Corinthians 13:13. In small groups, the young people talked about the words faith and hope. Definitions of the two words were often intertwined. For example, one person pointed out that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Another said, "Hope is the engine that drives faith." While faith and hope are among God’s greatest gifts, love is the greatest gift. Brother Erik discussed different situations that can come along as young people are at school or work and said the most important thing is to show Christ’s love, whatever the circumstances.

A number of the young people lingered in prayer after each of the evening services, and there was also time throughout the weekend for visiting with friends. On Friday and Saturday nights, snacks were served in the cafeteria while people played games and talked. Basketball games were happening in nearly every free moment, and the zipline was open on Saturday afternoon. Since the weather was so nice, with no rain all weekend, the camp set up a bonfire Saturday evening as well. The young people enjoyed a wonderful time of fellowship and spiritual challenge, returning home encouraged to continue pressing forward.

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