“Hope is..." Reflections on Forest Edge Music Festival 2014
Over the Labour Day weekend, the Hope Movement team headed to Forest Edge Music Festival near Melbourne. After attending the festival in 2013, we expected great things and the guests, volunteers and patrons did not disappoint. Here are some thoughts on the weekend from a first time HM volunteer and our Assistant Director Anna.
As we finally pulled into the campsite nearly 5 hours after we left home, memories began flooding back. I leapt out of the car, stretched my legs and pulled bags off the trailer onto the familiar grounds. Forest Edge is my jam; well, amazing live music is my jam. It was going to be my third year at the music festival, but this time would be different: not only would I be camping amongst different people and meeting new bands, but I would also be serving with Hope Movement.
It was so great to be part of the team at Forest Edge this year, an honour really! In the days leading up to the weekend I sat down chopping up countless newspapers for the ‘Hope Wall’, I could see those piles of paper being stuck up on the temporary wall, with variations of what hope is to other people.
Hope is a second chance.
Hope is having a future.
Hope is life.
Hope is faith holding its hand out in the dark.
Hope is that little voice that whispers ‘maybe’ while the rest of the world screams ‘no’.
It was very encouraging to see the delighted faces of people flowing in and out of the Hope Movement stall reading the Hope Wall, adding to it, and hopping in the photo-booth with friends and some crazy props. Girls and guys of all ages were genuinely interested in our cause; even some of the artists (much to my utter joy) were keen to get involved! First hand, I found that Hope Movement’s presence at the festival created a comfortable environment for people to come together and share their experiences; it showed me that I wasn’t alone. Not only are there people who I can relate to, who understand what I go through/ went through and who genuinely care about me, but there is Almighty God, the Creator of the universe, who boundlessly loves and cares for me so much!
So many people lose sight of hope, and that breaks my heart. Amongst the many lovely people I could take the opportunity to talk to, there was this one girl who stood out to me. She and her friend came up to the stall and I greeted them, asking if they were enjoying the weekend and if they’d heard of Hope Movement before. They hadn’t, and when I explained that the organisation basically works to share and to offer support for people going through different tough things in life, this girl was taken aback. People actually care? Yeah, they do. Laughing she said, “If only I’d heard of you guys a few months ago when it was tough”. On the outside you wouldn’t have been able to tell this girl had been struggling, but she had been, and she was willing to tell me this.
I’m so excited to see how God is going to use this organisation. The unheard will be heard, the unreachable reached. People will know hope. They’ll see the love and hope of Christ shining through. The gap will be bridged.
“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” – Hebrews 6:19
Hope is Jesus.
When asked to write a blog about our time at Forest Edge Music Festival- I don’t know where to begin! Words aren’t enough to describe how amazed I was at the amount of support people have for Hope Movement in the community. Usually our time at large events is focused primarily on getting our name out there and raising awareness of life changing issues in the larger community, but this time we were really moved to have a deeper focus. After a few deep and meaningful chats with my friend and Director Rachel, we decided we would go with the idea to ‘impact the one’.
We wanted to build hope in people face to face, to let the one person who follows our Facebook hear it directly from our mouths that we genuinely do care about their journey and progress, that we want to see them enter into a life of consistent, beautiful, healing recovery; but mostly we wanted people to ‘feel’ loved, important, individual. We wanted people to come away- not just with a stack of amazing practical resources for help in times of need, but with knowledge that we are real people, who really care. Often people ask us why we are doing this, there are slot of non for profit organisations out there seeking good will for people. My answer to this is a personal one: I do it because I know hope. I’ve had a personal moment where hope reached out in my darkest hour. It went beyond my amazing counsellor and my support network of friends. Hope held me up in the low times, the maintenance times and the highest of highs. Hope is Jesus. I loved that our focus at Forest Edge this year was to be the arms and legs of God, embracing people without judgment.
One of the most amazing moments for me was getting to tell people about what we do. Seeing young guys and girls come into the tent wanting to have a photo taken in the photobooth just for fun, and walking away inspired to have conversations about the tough topics. Seeing someone come to buy at shirt cause they’ve seen people wearing it and its ‘cool’, to actually hearing the heart of the message; I tried to ask every person if they knew what we did and why.
Forest Edge propelled us forward! We have made connections with people that will further what we are trying to achieve, we had a great team building time, welcomed a person to our up and coming ‘street team’, found out what hope means to hundreds of people – through our ‘Hope Wall’ and most of all, shined God’s love and light.