Camp season is upon us and the reports are coming in from the Philippines, Argentina, Central Asia, and Serbia. God is at work and He invites us to be His ambassadors, proclaiming His great love and grace and seeing lives transformed.
Mark Barner, Philippines camp director, reports:
My wife, Carol, along with Leighton and Jennie Helwig and our team of volunteers welcomed 32 students and four teachers from a Manila high school from June 11 to 16. Camp supervisors were Jigs Gonzales and his wife, Jovi, and Jigs also was our Bible teacher. This was our first experience with a public school and with having a 24/7 camp. The Lord not only provided the tuition and finances for the students but also provided an international staff. We had adults from Canada, Germany, Myanmar, India, Philippines, and our local TeachBeyond missionaries.
Each day the students had four hours of English instruction plus chapel, games, and team discussions. The students greatly improved their English skills. There were very intense discussions after each chapel about relationships, family, and knowing the love of Jesus. The students knew of Jesus, but for most of them this was their first time to know they can have Christ in them and the assurance that they are His children.
We finished the last night of camp with an evangelistic talk. Jigs, who was our Bible teacher, said that at the campfire that night, nearly all of the students prayed to received Jesus. We pray that the seeds planted fell on good soil. One of the high school teachers plans to start a Christian club on campus to continue what camp started. One of the counselors plans to come regularly to the school to help the students grow in Jesus.
Jigs Gonzales, Philippines camp supervisor, reports:
Our camp in the Philippines ended with such an amazing movement of the Holy Spirit. The week went by so quickly. We had fantastic cabin leaders, English teachers, leaders, and, of course, our support team.
The students loved the activities and lessons. As important as the English lessons were, more important was the acceptance of the message of God’s salvation. The night of the campfire was the pinnacle of our week. We heard heartbreaking stories, revelations, and the desperate cry for hope. Students just poured out their hearts. There were so many tears and sobbing. The unbelievable amount of hurt and challenges they have to go through is a reminder that the Philippines need God. We prayed for deliverance and laid hands on most of the students.
We concluded the night with an invitation to receive God’s offer of salvation. I wish you could witness the harvest that was the greatest I have ever experienced in all of my mission trips. Each of the students accepted Jesus as their Savior. God arranged for this camp to bring the Gospel of Jesus and that was accomplished in such a way that I will never forget. This trip reminded me of how much God has blessed me. Most of the students’ stories are my story, and what a fitting testimony and encouragement for them to see that God can indeed move mountains. I was hopeless and desperate, then God came and saved me. He changed the trajectory of my life and gave me future – a beautiful one. Students went back to their respective places with new perspective, purpose and meaning in their lives. Our prayer is that they will continue to navigate the journey of faith they have found in Jesus.
My wife and I are truly grateful to be part of such and amazing organization that is true to the core of the Great Commission.