A report from SGA-sponsored missionary pastor Yuri R. in Belarus
At the end of July, there was a Christian camp for children we called “Journey with Jonah.” We had 27 kids in attendance, ages 8-12, and 11 of them came from homes with both parents who are Christians. Ten of the kids live in families with only one Christian parent. There were six kids from non-Christian homes, and seven kids came from one-parent homes.
We had a call to repentance on the third day and 20 kids got saved. After the camp, seven kids who had been attending neither Sunday school nor church, expressed their desire to come to the House of prayer. Also, there was a non-Christian person working in the kitchen. This man renewed his church attendance after the camp (he had not been to church for the last six months).
The kids studied the book of Jonah at our camp, and the Bible lessons covered the following topics: “Not This Way, Jonah!” (disobedience = sin); “The Beginning of a New Way” (repentance); and “The Right Way” (obedience to the Lord)
The lessons had three segments: 1) Bible history; 2) important historical and educational; 3) learning the Scripture by heart. Each of the three groups completed all three segments within 90 minutes. This form of the lessons was fun, and the kids did not get tired and were able to concentrate.
The kids learned many new things by Jonah’s example. The kids learned much interesting historical information, and they realized that the story was true. Each day they had a variety of approaches to memorize the Scriptures. The kids had fun, and it took no time for them to learn Bible verses by heart. They were happy to share them at the evening worship.
In the afternoon the kids had a chance to apply the knowledge into practice during an all-camp game. For example, they were to show patience, respect, obedience and make the right choice in the camp game called “Road of Life”.
In camp the kids enjoyed the trampoline, bungee and swings. They also had sports games and relay races. There were workshops, and the kids also did functional crafts that they could take home.
Child evangelism was the main goal of the camp. We would like the children to enjoy the atmosphere of kindness, respect and love. We worked hard on building the relationships of trust and friendship.
We think that we have met our goals. Twenty kids got saved, and 7 kids who had neither attended church nor Sunday school expressed their desire to study the Bible, make friends with Sunday school kids and attend Sunday school.
We think that summer Christian camps are necessary, since they are an organic part of church ministry. Jesus said, “Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me…”
When kids come to the camp they plunge into the atmosphere of God’s love. In their young age they encounter the problems that are challenging even for adults. There were kids from single-parent homes. Dad abandoned the family or Mom left her five-year old. It hurts the children very much and leaves them empty inside. Who is able to fill in this gap and how one can do it?
A Christian camp provides a wonderful opportunity for the kids to learn about the Lord. The kids see that the Lord loves them and is ready to meet everybody despite of age, social position, etc.
Some of the kids have not had a proper meal for a long time. Some have not had fruit and sweets, and they were very happy with the plain caramel candies we provided. They appreciated them very much.
Non-Christian kids got to know the other kids who had accepted the Lord, the kids raised in Christian homes and the counselors who had much influence over their life and relationships with people.
When the kids return home from camp, they are not the same as they used to be. The parents notice it, and they thank the Lord and church for the transformation. We praise God for what He has done this summer in the lives of each child who camp to our camp!
The numbers are in, and we rejoice at the impact of the SGA-sponsored Immanuel’s Child outreach across the former Soviet Union.
Through your support, new classes and workshops for foster families helped bring families to church for the first time.
Your donation will help change lives in former Soviet Union countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.