Amplify is The Salvation Army’s annual territorial creative arts camp, welcoming people between Year 11 at school to age 30 from Salvation Army centres around the territory.
Delegates each chose a major and minor to learn over the week (such as drama, spoken word, sports ministry, dance, preaching and much more) along with enjoying night church, daily Bible studies and heaps of fun activities and workshops.
Excitingly, Amplify attracted a record attendance in 2021, with a bunch of young people turning up for the first time! Held at Silverstream Retreat in Lower Hutt from 11–17 January, people travelled from all over New Zealand to get creative, form close friendships and go deeper with God. Unfortunately, due to border restrictions, no one could travel from the Pacific Islands this year, but that didn’t mean young creatives in the Pacific missed out on the fun—funds were specially allocated for Fiji, Tonga and Samoa to run their own activities on home shores.
Kudos to the Amplify organising team and everyone who served—whether by running majors, minors and workshops; volunteering in the café; speaking at night church; leading worship; or working tirelessly behind the scenes—for putting on a great week of connecting with each other and with God.
The Big Game
It wouldn’t be Amplify without the annual Big Game. The 2021 edition began with the ‘Amplify Cup’—a race that’s been compared to the Melbourne Cup, with one difference: instead of actual horses, riders galloped the course on the shoulders of young people wearing horse masks.
Following the Amplify Cup, three teams were formed—The Salvation Army, The Salvation Navy and The Salvation Air Force—to face off in a large military competition. ‘I’d summarise it as a big, chaotic game that involved lots of smaller games and lots of water,’ Territorial Youth Secretary Captain Mat Badger says. Following physical challenges, heaps of water and plenty of cheating (policed by guest military officer, Captain Doug Newman), The Salvation Army prevailed as the victors!
Here’s what the campers had to say about Amplify!
1) What has been your standout moment(s) of camp?
2) How has God used this week to speak to you and what will you take out of Amplify?
3) What’s the best meal you’ve eaten at camp?
4) What made Amplify special in 2021?
Mahina | Christchurch City Corps | Major: Preaching | Minor: Event Management
1) x Night church—especially the second one. It was a very emotional moment for me. The first night church there was a part of the sermon which was like, ‘don’t wait around, take the initiative to start your own journey, go down the path that you want’. A part of my journey that I want to work on is being more vulnerable and surrendering myself. Then, when we went to night church on the second night, one of the lyrics in the very first song was ‘I surrender myself’.
2) He’s been helping me open up to people more and it’s allowed me to do a lot of firsts. I shared my testimony for the first time with the preaching group and I performed for the first time.
3) Bacon and egg pie or the enchiladas.
4) Being able to form relationships with different people from complete opposite places to me. It’s special how stuff like Amplify can really bring people together.
Cheyne | Blenheim Corps | Major: Preaching | Minor: Dance—Hip-hop
1) Going to Booth College of Mission to look in their library for preaching—that was really cool.
2) The messages in the night services have definitely hit home. I’ve felt the presence of God a lot in them. I’m hoping to go back home and preach some sermons, and my corps officers are already looking forward to hearing some.
3) Bacon and egg pie.
4) Being such a small group from Blenheim this year, we’ve had to reach out and hang with other people, which has been good—getting to know more people.
Anita | Johnsonville Corps | Major: Filmmaking | Minor: Dance—Hip-hop
1) I’ve really enjoyed the night services. The music’s been really good.
2) In the night churches, talking about freedom and love and what he wants for me. After camp, with my filmmaking, I want to do some more videos for church.
3) Spaghetti Bolognese.
4) Having a good Bible study group to hang out with and meet new people.
Nelson | Porirua Corps | Major: Sports Ministry | Minor: Cultural Art
1) Meeting new people from all over New Zealand.
2) Through Bible study—connecting and sharing. You can be yourself and express your feelings. To be more open is what I’ve learned from Bible study.
3) Butter chicken.
4) The people—it’s all about the people.
Siobhan | Winton Corps | Major: Preaching | Minor: Dance—Hip-hop
1) Our Bible study—hearing other people share their testimonies and connecting with our leaders, Joe and Jeannine (Serevi).
2) I took away that I need to forgive myself and forgive others. I’m hoping to go back to my church and preach, and also to share my testimony. Most of my friends aren’t Christian, but I think it’s good to share testimony so that they can see that even through my struggles, I’ve kept my faith. I’m going to become a senior soldier; I made that decision after night church. And my friend, Sammy, had a vision for me which really spoke to me. It was a tree and it was growing strong and sheltering people. I want to be a human rights lawyer, and I hadn’t even told her that. I was like, ‘that’s kind of perfect’.
3) Bacon and egg pie, and the enchiladas.
4) The people! Seeing so many Christians who believe in the same thing as you, connecting with God and connecting with them through God.
Luke | Johnsonville Corps | Major: Filmmaking | Minor: Dance—Hip-hop
1) I’ve loved the worship. You can really get into the moment and have great experiences with God.
2) Through meeting a whole bunch of new people. I’m moving to Auckland, so I’m going to continue meeting with the amazing people I’ve met.
3) Well, I’m a vegetarian and they keep lumping me in with the crazy vegans! But they had some veggie samosas that were mean as.
4) Definitely the campers. You’ve got the learning from the majors and minors, but it’s really the people you spend it with.
Jyra | Invercargill Corps | Major: Drama | Minor: Dance—Hip-hop
1) The comfort of this place. You always feel included.
2) It’s a bit of a challenge, but I know that after this camp, there’s something that’s going to change about me, like my attitude and my point of view in the world.
4) The people and their energy.
Erin | Johnsonville Corps | Major: Music Performance (singing) | Minor: Songwriting
1) It’s been really cool to hear people speak at night church.
2) Definitely new friendships and some new skills on how to write songs.
3) ‘Jim’s Nugs.’
4) We are missing a lot of people due to Covid-19 restrictions this year, but I feel like we’re all a tighter group.
Ellen | Porirua Corps | Major: Music Performance (singing) | Minor: Songwriting
1) Bible study.
2) I want to learn more about God and the Bible.
3) Cream chicken.
4) Knowing different friends around New Zealand and being close to God!
Anthony | Johnsonville Corps | Major: Music Performance (bass guitar) | Minor: Songwriting
1) The Monday night church service. Playing on stage was really fun, and we just genuinely had time worshipping God.
2) I feel like throughout the week God’s been telling me to go with the flow, and he’s got a plan for me, so I can trust in that. I want to keep developing my musical ability and start writing my own music, then put it out on Spotify and music platforms, hopefully in the next year or two.
3) Spaghetti Bolognese.
4) The fact that we’ve had the biggest turnout so far is cool. It’s been really good to see everyone again and meet new people.
Luke | Napier Corps | Major: Leadership | Minor: Photography
1) The church service was pretty epic for me. The Holy Spirit came over me and told me to walk up the front, let everything go and be a soldier of God. I’ve been thinking about becoming a warrior for God for some time now, so that really spoke to me—as well as getting to pray for three people.
2) I’m looking to start a trade. I prayed for it in church, to get a job, and then within 45 minutes, I rang my partner and she said, ‘Steve has come over, he wants you to call this person, they’ve got a job for you’. I was like, ‘Okay God, you can work fast, and you can work slow, you can work whenever you want to with me. I’m in the midst for you!’
3) Lolly cake.
4) Meeting new people, being able to open up to people and share my testimony. I used to be a shy person, so I think coming to Amplify has opened my mind up to bigger and better things.
Heta | Johnsonville Corps | Major: Sports Ministry | Minor: Craft
1) Meeting all the new people and building new friendships.
2) Probably at night church, when everyone was told to go up to the front and embrace God. That really stood out to me … that’s something I’ve never experienced before. I really hope I can get closer with God, especially because I’m new to this stuff. I want to experience for myself the things that I’ve heard other people talk about.
4) The people, the atmosphere and everyone making this camp really enjoyable.
Josh | Tawa Corps | Major: Preaching | Minor: Spoken Word
1) Spoken word has been great. Learning a different way to unfilter how I think and get raw and honest with myself, then express that with others and be vulnerable is awesome. And in preaching, the work that goes into it is amazing. Learning about that has been awesome, to see the depth you can go into.
2) Being able to take those preaching skills and use them for myself to dive deeper … and then with spoken word, it’s definitely a way to keep my heart in check with God and stay vulnerable. I love it!
3) Steak—it beautifully fell off the bone, so props to the cook.
4) It’s just God breathing on people.
Te Wetene | Napier Corps | Major: Leadership | Minor: Songwriting
1) Church has been pretty good. You can feel the Holy Spirit a lot in there.
2) That sometimes he puts fears in the way so that you can become stronger, break those barriers down and unlock those chains.
3) Last night—we don’t know if it was chicken or fish, but it tasted good!
4) As long as Jesus is here, it’s special.
Samoa’s First Amplify
By Misipati Niusulu
There was excitement in the air as 21 youth and 7 leaders gathered at Taumeasina Resort on 14 Jan to 16 Jan for our first-ever Amplify. Yes, it was truly a memorable event for most of our young people who have never been to Amplify or a creative arts camp before. The promise from 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT), ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him’, was our key verse.
The regional leaders, Lt-Colonels Rod and Jenny Carey were the special guests, together with seven other speakers. Sessions included gender groups, leadership, education and development, dance and drama, music/leading worship, sports, and addictions. The presenters inspired and challenged us all to make a difference in our world for Christ.
Thursday afternoon started off with worship and Lt-Colonel Jenny Carey bringing God’s word about our identity in Christ. The young people were asked to place their names on God’s tree as a reminder that we are all part of God’s family.
The youth music team, led by Viki Kisila, brought much encouragement and led us in awesome times of anointed worship. The Bible study groups were led by Aitu Fesuiai, Larafina Tanielu Stowers and Viki Kisila (Amplify attendees 2019). The youth really got into the word with passionate discussion about how it applies to their daily lives. During the evening Major Miriama brought a message on ‘presenting our lives to God’. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully, with many re-dedicating their lives to the Lord. The talent show night was full of laughter and some surprising talents from our youth and leaders.
The camp was brought to a close on Saturday afternoon by Lt-Colonel Rod Carey who challenged the youth with a message from John 15:16, ‘You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…’ Again, most of our young people came forward for prayer. God is moving mightily in the hearts of our youth. Viia le Atua!
For all our young people, this will be a lifetime memory. The transformations that took place and the testimonies at the end of camp were amazing. Wow! God is faithful.
We are very grateful for the ongoing support from Youth Mission Resource Developer Vanessa Singh and the generous financial support from Salvationists and friends in New Zealand. Faafetai tele lava. A big thank you to Misipati Niusulu (Youth Leader) for all his planning, organising and hard work, as well as Major Miriama for her leadership and oversight.