This year, 614 Vancouver and The War College had the opportunity to partner with St. James Anglican church, the oldest church in Vancouver, BC situated in the heart of the Downtown Eastside, to host RAW 2013: Kingdom of God. RAW is a conference put on by The War College during spring break for Salvation Army youth to come to, and bring their friends, to encounter God in Canada’s poorest neighbourhood.
This year was really something special. A great group of teens showed up ready and willing to hear from God, to be changed by Him, and to encounter Christ in new ways. There were many familiar faces, but there was also a lot of new faces which was encouraging for those of us who have been going to R.A.W. for a while. There was an awesome atmosphere between the different youth groups, lots of new friendships were made.
In the spirit of new beginnings, we took a new approach to our mission times. The missions were split into four streams: Music, Sports, Art, and Prayer. Each person got to choose which stream they wanted to do and that’s what they stuck with for the rest of the time. This allowed us to be more intentional about our missions time, and allowed the youth to put more passion into because they had more time to engage in their respective streams.
The focus of the music stream was to aid evangelism by going out on the streets and playing worship songs with the hope of starting conversations with passer-bys. Members of the music stream also had the opportunity to lead worship at Harbourlight Recovery Centre and Halfway house for their morning devotions.
The Sports stream had a similar goal of facilitating conversation and relationship by meeting people on the court, or at the soccer field. The girls of the sports stream got to lead and participate in a Zumba class open to the public; it was very clear that everyone involved had an awesome time.
The Art stream took a more prophetic and encouraging approach with the goal of creating prophetic Art and handing it out to encourage people they meet while walking the streets.
The prayer stream had the goal of walking the streets and asking people if they wanted prayer. I was personally surprised the popularity of the prayer stream as it takes incredible boldness to pray for strangers on a street corner.
We were blessed with some awesome speakers for RAW this year. Aaron White and Jonathan Evans, two wonderful men who have been speaking at RAW for years and never disappoint. Beth Malena, from Jacob`s Well, who has spoken a couple times at RAW returned with a vengeance and spoke a strong word on becoming powerless to be able to reach the powerless. Award winning Singer Songwriter and Poet Cheryl Bear performed for us and spoke to us about the First Nations perspective on Christianity and how our theme of Kingdom of God does not translate so well because Kingship is not a theme throughout First Nations history. Throughout the week we were also blessed with powerful testimonies from friends of the 614 community; Martin Stone, Chrystal Kell, Robert Doe, Rob Alexcee, Bethany Nelms, and Chris Barnes.
A BEAUTIFUL ENDING
To end the event, The War College students put together a Love Feast for all everyone involved with RAW and the youth groups were sent out to invite people from the neighbourhood to feast with us. It was a beautiful time spent together with lots of laughter, lots of love, and a chocolate fountain.
R.A.W. was an incredible experience, no one left disappointed and everyone who was willing definitely encountered Christ in new ways. R.A.W. is a great time to bring so many together to seek after Christ as a group, to pray for each other, and to leave encouraged ready to spread the love of God to the rest of the world.Share this: Tweet