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What a great experience!

PUBLISHED: 21:23 22 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:07 05 July 2010

MORE than 100 young people from Lowestoft have taken part in a Christian camping experience.

Newday attracts 6,000 teenagers each year from around the country and is organised locally by Jodi Davis, children's and youth team leader from Lowestoft Community Church.

MORE than 100 young people from Lowestoft have taken part in a Christian camping experience.

Newday attracts 6,000 teenagers each year from around the country and is organised locally by Jodi Davis, children's and youth team leader from Lowestoft Community Church.

The summer highlight, which gives students a chance of taking part on a number of outreach projects was a popular event looked forward to by sisters Claire and Jenny Stoddart before their tragic deaths in July 2006.

Both wrote about it in their diaries and some of Jenny's thoughts about New Day are published in their father Phil's autobiography A12 to Heaven.

Here, their sister Amy, 15, and other budding writers Amy Willis and Josh Wicks give their account of this year's experience.

Amy Stoddart

Monday, August 4

I'VE now been at Newday at Uttoxeter for two and a half days and we've already had two morning meetings and two evening meetings. The morning meetings so far have just been really interesting and informing for the preacher who in the morning meetings is Steff Liston, just shows us how to live our lives and avoid painful encounters and how to live as a Christian. The evening meetings are just simply awesome and indescribable to be honest. The first meeting I went to just completely touched me personally, for the meeting was about anyone who felt guilty, shameful, was blaming god for events that happened in their lives or people who were keeping hold of things that they should really let go. I hesitated at first, but then than just decided to go for it. It was also touching the 6,000 people around me at the same time. I couldn't stop smiling, I felt so free and happy like a huge weight had been lifted of me and I still feel that way right now.

Thursday, August 7

THE morning meeting has just finished were there was an offering, the money raised will go into the nations and help the people who need it, it will also help the people who are missionary's out in the furthest places of the world. Our aim is £100,000. We then went back to the campsite, which is really peaceful at the minute. There's a group of people playing cards, the boys playing football, Frisbee's flying around and many guitars can be heard, there's also many people just lounging around enjoying the sunshine. If I thought the first evening meeting was going to be the only powerful meeting, I was wrong. The last two evening meetings have been so inspiring and just incredible. The evening meeting on Tuesday was the most powerful experience I've ever felt, it was focused on the future and about going into the nations. It affected me when Steff asked for anyone who felt that their heart was set on the poor. I was one of the many who then stuck my hand up. I must have felt round about 20 people praying for me. I've never cried so much in my whole life and considering what I've been through, that's saying a lot. This Newday has been so awesome, even the toilets and showers are decent this year.

Friday, August 8

LAST night was the last meeting and Newday and it was absolutely amazing, from the offering, for the nations we raised a staggering £110,944 approximately, which from teenagers and young people with a lot them very limited amounts of money is just outstanding. Before the meeting though we went on outreach in to Derby, basically we just cleared up a walkway and talked to the people who went past. Actions like clearing up places, helping people and giving up our spare times are done on outreach to demonstrate God's love and nature through us. My last night was so much fun as well, because let's face it no one gets any real sleep camping, but last night basically the whole campsite was awake, and everyone was just having a laugh and all acting really hyper. In the morning the atmosphere changed rather quickly for there were very mixed emotions. There was people crying and people laughing. For although, everyone is happy to be going home, you just miss the friendly, safe feeling of Newday.

Josh Wicks

Saturday, August 2

ALARM goes off at 5:32am. The usual zombie-like morning routine follows, ending in the short car journey to the church building. Only when pulling into the car park and the growing group of people comes into view do thoughts turn to the week ahead. Personally, it's year four of going to the annual youth Christian event that is Newday and until this point not a lot of thought had gone into what I was expecting from this year. Stepping out of the coach after an uneventful journey the barking orders rang out from those in authority on our site, myself particularly as I was on the washing up rota that day. When back from emptying the waste water I had the chance to take stock of the situation. Looking across the campsite a feeling of mild contentment breezed through, I was finally here.

Sunday, August 3

IN a collective fit of over-enthusiasm, myself and a half dozen others had volunteered to take part in the days outreach. This basically means going out from the campsite to the nearest city, in this case Derby, to take part in various activities. This encompasses various things, including practical things such as painting, things that need to be painted or clearing up fly tipped areas to make them all nice and lovely again, or going onto the streets and telling people about events happening at the local churches and talking through any questions they may have. On this occasion was the latter of the two and it was our aim to invite people to bring their children along to a children's holiday club that the church in Derby were holding later in the week.

Friday, August 8

THE final day arrives with a slight twinge of deflation creeping in, the penalty shoot out drama of our football tournament loss still playing on the minds of those involved.

It was the morning after the meeting of the night before, a meeting different to all the others. This is because it was concentrated on two things; non-Christians there and physical healing, both of which are fairly big deals. The healing part took up the first part of the meeting when those there with physical needs were invited to be prayed for, so that they could be healed. Even for those who are accustomed to it, the whole thing is still an unusual occurrence.

The second part of the meeting was aimed at those who were yet to become Christians. This then ended with an invitation for those who wanted to make a commitment to do so. In this instance it came to the exact number of 300 new Christians, not bad from a crowd of around 4000.

Amy Willis

Saturday, August 2.

JUST got back from the first evening meeting and my excitement and expectations towards this week have been heightened. It's such a surreal feeling joining together with 6000 other teenagers from around the world in the middle of a racecourse, all present for the same reason. All in some way desperate, curious, willing and hungry to meet with God in a powerful and life changing way. I can safely say that I have never, in the four years of attending Newday, gone home without being personally and powerfully affected by God in so many positive ways. I have no doubt that this year will be the same and am fully expectant of what's to come.

Thursday, August 7

TODAY, me and six other people from our campsite went on a clear-up outreach into Derby. We went to a path that delegates of Newday had been clearing up all week in order to do the finishing touches and any final clearing. As-well as doing this type of practical clearing up, Newday also goes into the city centre to invite people to local Alpha courses to find out more about God. It's so rewarding to know you're making a difference, however little, in the lives of other people. Newday impacts so many more people than just the 6000 on the campsite, it spreads into the city it's based at and the cities and towns the thousands of teenagers are going back to.

Friday, August 8.

HOME time! The Newday week is over and as I expected I'm not going home the same way I came. God has in a sense given me a slap around the face this week. He's reminded me that I know all he has done for me, and all he wants to do through me and that now it's up to me to act on that. It's my own choice to follow those plans he has laid before me and to live a life that's pleasing to him and that can only strengthen me. That does not mean it's going to be easy, at least this I have learnt.


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