Friday, May 4, 2012

Kragerø: Painting The Town Red

     This past weekend we took a team of twenty YWAMers to the Kragerø Russ Festival in the south of Norway to help out with the event. The festival brought in over 900 graduating high school seniors (called Russ in Norway) for teaching, worship, and a whole lot of fun. As the Russ head into their last month of school, there's a nation-wide expectation for them to go absolutely crazy. They pull tons of insane stunts, cause some playful mayhem, and generally enjoy their last weeks together as classmates. It's a lot of fun, and truly good-intentioned, but in recent decades the typical theme of this season have moved toward "drink as much as possible, have as much sex as possible, and experiment with anything and everything." This festival in Kragerø gives the Christian students an alternative to the typical Russ festivals happening around Norway in the weeks that follow. It's really an important time of strengthening as the students prepare to be Salt and Light among their non-Christian friends. 
     As a part of YWAM's involvement in the event, I was asked to put together a 24/7 prayer room in the concert hall. This was a quiet place, away from the chaos of the festival, where the students could come to pray and be prayed for. Many came there to meet with God, to worship, to lay down their rights, to commit to live abstenant and sober lifestyles during the graduation party month and beyond. We also had staff there around the clock interceding for the festival, praying through requests written by students, and lifting up the weeks leading up to the graduation and the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of these youths. It was such a privilege to be apart of this, and all I can say is I CAN'T WAIT FOR NEXT YEAR! 

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