Sowing into the Harvest
by Eitan Shiskoff, Executive Director, Tents of Mercy Network


The national Israeli Messianic teen magazine recently featured an article about Katzir ("Harvest") youth conferences. Here are translated excerpts of the interview with Eitan Shishkoff and Vanessa (the Katzir administrator), along with counselors and campers:

What is the vision that stands before your eyes in the Katzir activities?

EITAN: To equip the youth to be the workers and leaders in the last harvest before Yeshua's return.

VANESSA: To equip them spiritually - in our connection with God, and practically - in our daily life.

Prayer circles at the recent Hanukkah conference
How do the conferences work?

EITAN: We have been focusing for many years now, on training the younger generation of leadership: the camp counselors ...

VANESSA: We also take the teens' feedback very seriously. They fill out questionnaires at the end of each conference.

Do you see an influence on the teens as a result of the conferences?

EITAN: Teens are exposed to peer pressure and temptations ... Part of our job is to help strengthen the relationship of the teens with Yeshua and to equip them with the help of the Scriptures, to persevere in faith and holiness, in the midst of the world. The conferences give them both knowledge and alternative, positive friendships with others their age.

VANESSA: We don't always see the changes right away ... There are moments I think to myself maybe they are not listening or receiving ... Then I hear them happy at the end of the conference telling how much the conference helped them, or I see changes on facebook and in their day to day life.

How have you experienced God's involvement in the conferences?

EITAN: Wonderful question! We can see God's involvement clearly changing the hearts of teens. At the end of every conference we devote time to testimonies, and then we hear them telling how God touched their hearts in different ways - in the lesson times, nature hikes, talking with counselors, praise and worship, etc.

WE ALSO ASKED THE COUNSELORS QUESTIONS:

As a counselor what do you most like in the conferences and what makes you come back?

YOSEF: I most like being able to serve the teens, because when I see them - I see myself ... I also wrestled with the same problems and temptations, and now I can help them and share with them things I learned. I also love to just hang out and have fun with them.

Katzir Hanukkah hike in the Golan
HANOCH: First of all, I feel God is calling me to serve. Second, I remember myself as a "camper" and how much these conferences influenced my life for the good. Now I am happy to give others the same thing I received.

What message would you like to impart to the teens?

ALON: Don't let people define God. Let God define Himself.

ALICIA: It is worth it to get to know Messiah! A connection with Him is the best thing that could ever happen to me or you! Make this faith your own, and not just something you have been told about.

ELONA: Don't be afraid to change and to ask God for help. He is always listening and ready to help. Choose to follow in His ways.

AND WHAT DID THE TEENS SAY?

What do you love most about the conferences?

NATALIE: I like the atmosphere, worship and messages.

RUTH: The fellowship, the worship, and the fact that everyone is concentrating on God and not on what is happening around them.

Did this conference add anything to your spiritual life or your daily life?

MASHA: Every conference God makes sure I get blessed and encouraged through one of the counselors. God works in many different ways: sometimes through the worship and sometimes the messages.

Would you like to serve as a counselor in the future?

DEBBIE: Yes, obviously! I want to give of myself and serve the youth like others are serving me now. When I was younger I had doubts about the Lord and the faith, and I really want to help the "gang" who are dealing with doubts in their heart.

"The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38)

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