Mar 08, 2024

Camp MoVal Alum Marcus Engel Featured Guest Speaker

Camp MoVal provides ideal setting Feb. 17-19 for hearing powerful message about our ability as servant leaders to do God’s work just by showing up and being fully present.

During President’s Day weekend, 17 high school students and adult volunteers gathered for Conference Youth Event 2024: The Power of Presence at Camp MoVal.

Keynote speaker Marcus Engel, who has been involved in Camp MoVal’s ministry for many years, first as a camper and then as a counselor, joined them to lead discussion on the necessity of compassionate prayer and empathy.

After a terrible accident resulting in the loss of his sight and a subsequent long healing process, Marcus turned his experience into a way to teach others about the necessity of compassionate presence and empathy. Our high school students engaged in his ideas with vigor and brought incredible discussions to our time together.

The weather was quick to change, which allowed them to partake in several different camp activities. They did some sledding Saturday while it was snowy and cold, plus gathered around the fire to make s’mores and keep warm. When warm weather arrived Sunday, they hiked some very muddy trails at Camp MoVal and conquered the high ropes course together. During downtime, they threw around the frisbee and the football and played board games in the evening.

They also completed a prayer path and worshipped together each night, talking about faith and its role in their lives in today’s complicated world. They shared meaningful stories, gained new friendships, and strengthened old ones. They  journaled their thoughts and participated in guided meditations and breathing exercises, too.

At the end, the only thing that they wished they could do was stay longer!

All in all, the youth had an exceptionally fun and spiritually nourishing time together. The Youth Ministry Working Group is already thinking about plans for next year’s conference youth event. They hope many will be able to attend in 2025!

Jay Wiesner
MMSC Youth Ministry Resource Coordinator

A special thanks to Columbia UCC, Columbia, Mo.; St. John UCC, St. Charles, Mo.; St. Paul’s UCC, Oakville, Mo.; and Zion UCC, Union, Mo. for sponsoring our speaker.
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