In the story below, you will read about the impact that SGA-supported summer camps have on children who attend. This time at a location in Russia, it is specific to teenagers, who are so easily tempted to be led down the worldly path.
Through testimony from pastors and leaders around a campfire, and personal conversations about relationships, these kids were shown the reasons why God’s path is better. Praise God that 10 of the 35 kids were ready to change their path and follow God, instead of the destructive paths of the world!
Peace be with you, our brothers, and sisters! We would like to share with you how the summer vacation period in the city of Tomsk went. This year, we have been able to conduct two outreach programs for children and one for teenagers, which involved outdoor recreation in tents.
We paid particular attention to the preparation and running of a tent camp for teenagers. It was a seven-day camping trip attended by 35 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17. We had a team of 20 people.
Twice a day, we divided into two subgroups, the children went through a course called “Experiencing the Touch of Jesus.” This theme really touched the hearts of the children, and throughout the camp they shared their thoughts and asked questions in private conversations with their mentors.
Every evening, we all gathered for a campfire conversation. Pastors took turns coming to the camp, and as we sat in a circle, we discussed various topics that the teens were interested in. We talked about relationships with parents, relationships between boyfriends and girlfriends, and our relationships with God. The children enjoyed learning about a pastor’s family and life by looking through his photo album.
On the last day of the camp, our team members shared their personal testimonies of how God had touched their hearts and changed their lives. The pastor then spoke about the holiness of God and the need for repentance. At the conclusion, he called everyone to repentance. Of the 35 children present there, 10 were reconciled to the Lord and are now willing to change their lives and follow God.
Here are some testimonies of those children who have been reconciled to the Lord:
I have just two questions. When did you realize that you needed to repent and be reconciled to God?
I have been thinking about it all this week.
Did it make you feel scared, or did it give you peace of mind?
It gave me peace of mind.
At what exact moment did you realize that you were ready to do it now?
I don’t know; I just wanted to do it here because it would help me with everything, and I wouldn’t have that chance later on.
I have learned that you were reconciled to God. Tell me, please, what prompted you to make this decision.
As we had campfire conversations, I began to feel a growing desire to go to God. I wanted it, and when I was provided with an opportunity, I decided not to miss my chance.
Were you scared or calm, on the contrary?
I felt calm.
What exactly led you to repentance? Was it due to campfire conversations or communication with our team members?
All together. I thought about it myself, and the campfire conversations also prompted me to repent. It was interesting, plus they gave us such examples that everything became clear at once.
Did you like the testimonies of other children? Were they inspiring to you? Did you or did you not think that you had also gone through something similar before?
Yes, I did.
Whose testimony was it, if it is not a secret? For example, I caught myself thinking that I once had gone through the same thing as Polina.
Yes, I used to have the same thoughts as Polina, that I was an ugly and fat girl.
Sometimes, you also want to appear better in the company of your friends than you really are.
Yeah, it happened many times. Everyone around me used to smoke, and I also said that I smoked, even though I never smoked.
I am glad that you now realize that this is the wrong way. And it is not because we say so, but because there is no joy or truth in it; there is no God in it.
We thank God for the opportunity to organize such a large-scale event for our teenagers.