Who could imagine that this would be the third straight year we would be taking a team, sponsored by TeachBeyond, back to Moldova to share the Gospel and run an English Language Camp for teens? And, though we were a small team of five, four of the five had been to the Moldova camp previously.
The preparations were well thought out and we did a 40-day devotional called Before You Go as a team prior to leaving. This set us up for God’s plans to be our plans once we arrived.
We were thrilled to be in a newer and different facility for the camp duration. The biggest blessing and advantage was that it is now run by a Christian staff and pastor. We immediately felt God’s Presence upon arrival and as we prayed room-to-room for God’s favor and protection over all who came to camp.
Within a day the entire staff, North Americans and Moldovans, was together again. What a homecoming! The following day the kids began showing up early morning. After that, it was non-stop for the next eight days! We began with interviews to determine language abilities and to place kids in groups. We set up teams, did activities for the mind, body and spirit, and ate amazing Moldovan food prepared by a selfless staff of five women in the kitchen. We had fun language classes, worship and teaching, discussion groups at night after dinner, hikes and games, watermelons, watermelons and more watermelons!!! At our fabulous, final BBQ, we thanked each one and marveled at how we’d become a large family.
Quite a few of the kids were new, but there were also returnees that we were so happy to see once again. They too felt the “family” connection! We were delighted with how they’d improved their English skills over the past year. Especially meaningful was seeing former campers stepping into leadership roles as junior staff members. God is using English camp as a way to develop future leaders in the Christian churches as well as Christian leaders for the country of Moldova. Three years of camps are already bearing fruit in these young people! Praise God in His faithfulness to the believers in Moldova!
It was a great honor to partner with the Holy Spirit and pray with one of my girls a prayer of repentance and acceptance of Christ as her Savior. Alina almost missed camp and arrived a couple of days after it had begun. She had not previously signed up for the camp, yet there she was! The Lord’s purposes prevail (Prov. 19:21)! Other kids responded to the invitation at the final evening service by coming forward and entering the Kingdom of God for the first time. All left knowing they had a choice to make Jesus their Savior and to believe God was for them.
At the end of the week we had an auction where “tickets” (which we had handed out all week for each good thing done or attempted) could be spent. Hundreds of items were brought in extra suitcases by the North American staff. The joy and mayhem was worth every extra dollar spent at sales and dollar stores here in the US and Canada. One girl, who had been asking God for a suitcase, was overwhelmed when she got the winning bid on one: an answer to her prayer!
We left understanding and strongly feeling the truth of I Chronicles 16: 23-25. My desire is to return with more North America team members. The vision is to go from 53 campers to 100 next year. We are praying for new hearts to be responsive to the call to Jesus’s words, “Go, make disciples of all nations”…especially in Moldova!