The end-of-summer reports on the 2018 camps and programs are now coming in. This year our camp supervisors trained nearly 100 short-term staff. Working alongside our local national staff, they served over 900 campers and students in 10 countries at 25 camps.
In all of our camps — whether they are in Latin America, Europe, or Central and Southeast Asia — a consistent trend has been that many, many students come from homes and communities where there is despair, hurt, loneliness, depression, suicide, addiction, and more. Together, the short-term teams and local staff work to create a safe, warm, loving environment. Over the course of the camp week, students hear, see, and experience the love of Jesus. They learn about their identity in Him and truths from the Bible. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, they experience forgiveness, grace, faith, hope, and love.
Here are a few of the reports — and why we are praising God for what He has done!
In Brasilia we held a camp for 55 campers in July. Teacher Bonnie Tew wrote, “Among the English classes, [we had] laughter, games, normal camp escapades, sports, crafts, great food, an ocean of love, and challenging Chapel messages. In less than 24 hours it became clear the strongholds of anxiety, depression, and peer pressure were waging war in the hearts of many campers. We heard stories of suicide, self-harm, deep family struggles, fears, and more. Their burdens were heartbreaking and yet, each day began with a new sunrise, more prayer specifically for these young lives, and new confirmations that God was working in the Camp, in the hearts of the campers, and in the staff — from the director to the cooks.”
Through the course of camp, several campers turned their lives over to Jesus, including one camper who prayed with the staff just before he was to depart. Bonnie added, “[My prayer is that] Brasilia camp students (and every camper around the world) who responded to this appeal for the first time or who was reminded of the reconciliation God extends may remember they needn’t be tossed about and lost at sea any longer; may they remember and share with others ‘this hope we have as an anchor of the soul…’ (Hebrews 6:19-20a).”
Our July camp in Moldova had the theme “Who am I?” Camp Supervisor Sherry Neuner reported, ” Each night’s teachings and subsequent discussions were specific to the daily message from their devotionals. Great care was taken to follow the topic closely, as it built from day to day….In addition to these components of worship time, [staff member] James Boldt gave a compelling testimony of his own life that, again, brought home the point of God’s desire to know us and be in relationship with us. ”
In August in Eastern Europe, we had 38 campers, about 20 of whom were unchurched. (Youth from the local church here were asked to invite a friend from outside the church to come with them.) The camp was also used to train the small group leaders in the church. The Gospel was clearly shared over the week and an invitation for repentance was given on at least three occasions. Campers were never asked to identify themselves if they repented, but they were told that repentance needs to be followed with regular attendance at a church that believes in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Many seeds were planted and the hope is that the local church will grow because of this camp. Many of the unchurched from camp attended church on the Sunday after camp.
Portugal And Elsewhere
In Portugal, there were also wonderful reports of 18 people making a profession of faith in Christ. And in one camp in Central Asia, there was such a work of the Holy Spirit that by the end of the camp all who attended were confessing Christ.
Thanks Be to God!
We are thankful for the teamwork of all of our camp leaders and staff who worked together to create this beautiful, loving community of Christ to share His love. Praise God with us for His marvelous work!