In the world of Messianic young adults, opportunities to socialize and learn with Messianic peers are some of the most highly anticipated events of the year.
Every spring the excitement starts to build as the weather gets warm and students of the 12-21 youth track prepare for a weekend full of praying, learning, and relaxing together. With a variety of familiar and new events, the 12-21 track of this year’s First Fruits of Zion Shavu’ot Conference was one of the best yet.
While the adults attend lectures and discussion groups at Beth Immanuel, young adults between ages twelve and twenty-one meet in a separate building with counselors and teachers. The curriculum and lectures for this year’s 12-21 track laid out lessons on the Torah and its role within a person’s life. In a mixture of lectures, open discussion, and group work, students were given a beginner’s overview of what it means to receive and follow the Torah, as well as how Yeshua perceived and interacted with the Torah. Some of the questions discussed were “Is the Torah’s wisdom outdated?” and “How do Yeshua’s teachings expound and expand on the Torah?”
It’s wonderful to see students engaging with the Torah and wrestling with questions during the class time, but there’s no doubt that the 12-21 youth really come alive during the social events following the lectures. Despite the heat and length of the days, they had endless energy for activities both planned and spontaneous.
After the first full day of lectures, students and counselors alike gathered at a local arcade and bowling alley for an evening of relaxing with old friends and getting to know a few new ones. The competitive team spirit stayed alive even after the night of bowling had ended and resurfaced throughout the next few days as spontaneous volleyball games filled the long summer evenings. For those less inclined to jump into a volleyball match, there were sunset walks along the beautiful St. Croix riverside.
The highlight of this year’s event was undoubtedly the 12-21 carnival. Students and counselors staffed various Israel-related games and activities as a fundraiser to support Camp Tzadi. The carnival was accompanied by live music from Troy Mitchell and culminated in an auction for beautiful paintings provided by a few talented 12-21 students and counselors depicting the giving of the Torah. The carnival was a wonderful opportunity for conference attendees to relax, enjoy themselves, and support the 12-21 community.
12-21 is continually blessed by the opportunity to grow as a community of Messianic young adults through events like the 12-21 track at the Shavu’ot Conference. The value of events like these are apparent from the positive feedback of 12-21 students and parents, the growing number of participants, and the obvious joy and connection throughout each activity.