With this month’s focus on summer camp ministry across the CIS, I think it’s a good thing to look back and ponder the history of how these outreaches came to be. More than that, what a declaration of the power of God to move entire nations.
During the years of Soviet communism that ended only in 1991, an evangelical church holding a summer camp ministry for children would have been unthinkable. In those days, children went to what were called “Pioneer Camps” run by the government. While these state camps offered many of the usual camp activities such as hiking, swimming, and singing around the campfire, the primary purpose was to “produce ideologically grounded members of socialist society and builders of communism.” Of course, official state atheism was part of the process. By the late 1980s, there were approximately 40,000 Pioneer Camps across the former Soviet Union, and more than 10 million children had participated.
When God brought the Iron Curtain down, most of the communist, atheist Pioneer Camps closed with nothing to take their places. After more than 70 years of oppression, evangelical churches were free to worship and proclaim the Gospel. Most importantly of all, they were now able to teach their children freely about the Lord Jesus and His love for them. There was now a huge opportunity to bring back the fun and relaxation of summer camp, only this time built on the foundation of God’s love and the life-changing Gospel!
Since those days, faithful SGA partners like you have helped sponsor camps such as these each summer, reaching thousands of children with the Gospel. Last year, 29,358 children were reached through summer camp ministry, and more than 18,000 of them were from unbelieving families. Please pray with us for this year’s ministries, asking the Lord to enable us in reaching thousands more. Thank you in advance!
For our Savior,