SGA-Supported Missionary Pastor in Belarus
As we think back and remember our earlier years, quite often a favorite memory might be of a week at a Vacation Bible School or summer camp. We remember a certain counselor or a new friend. We might remember the games or even a special food treat. But for some of us and best of all, we fondly remember hearing the Gospel for the first time. God may have called us to Himself in repentance and faith through such a time. The importance of these opportunities to share the Good News of Christ with young children cannot be dismissed.
Valery O. recently sent in a wonderful report about his summer camp ministry that you helped make possible.
“We heartily thank you for your prayerful support of the children’s ministry, and in particular ministry to children with physical challenges. In late June, the Lord allowed us to conduct a Vacation Bible School for children from our Sunday school, their friends, and for children with special developmental needs. In total, more than 30 people worked in the VBS and more than 110 children!
Our main task was to bring the message of the Gospel to the children in a clear, interesting, and memorable form, so that they understood the essence of the Gospel. Most of all, we prayed that the Holy Spirit would move in their hearts so they would receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Praise God, more than 25 children prayed in repentance at the end of the VBS. About 15 new children wanted to enroll in Sunday school, and some of them came to our church immediately on the first Sunday after the VBS!”
Valery stressed the importance of this ministry as having impact far beyond the event itself. “I would like to point out that after repentance, the students of VBS and tent camps become real helpers in future ministry and in the church. They become active members of local churches in our region. Almost every year, we take them to other cities in Belarus and Russia, where they get married, go to study, or work after graduation, and where they become good helpers to the pastors of the local congregations. So, the effect of the VBS is huge. Special thanks to all those who donate funds, print, and supply us with Bibles and other Christian literature.”
The mother of some of the children who visited the VBS told me that her children started to read the Christian literature and books as soon as they got home, and even put their phones aside to read!. Thank God for this! —Olga, VBS and Camp Coordinator
Before this camp, I did not 100% believe in the existence of God, but a couple days after the camp started, I began to believe in Him. Before that I didn’t pray at all, now I started praying before meals, and at home I started talking to God in the morning and in the evening. I like this camp. —Katya, age 12
After the Bible lessons at the camp, I wanted to pray more. I stopped being shy, and I want to get to know each other more and make friends. Today before the sports game I prayed and asked God for help and won a prize. I don’t want to be rude; I want to be friends with everyone. —Milana, age 10
I was invited to the camp by Pastor Valery. I liked it very much—here I was taught to love my neighbor and God, and the most important thing. I realized that in this world, only God really cares for me, He died for me. The food here is delicious, the counselors are friendly and kind, not like in other camps where they swear and yell at kids for nothing. And also, I really liked to help. I want to serve God, help everyone, and praise Him. —Yura, age 21
Today a miracle happened—the mother of a disobedient child came to the camp. Her child behaved so inadequately and even aggressively that many people did not know what to do, so we had to call his mom. We met her and had a very warm conversation. Zina was crying, telling us about the problems in their family—her husband is very jealous, beats and hurts her and the children, and does not allow her to attend church services, but she sometimes secretly comes when her husband is not at home. She told us how hard it is for her with the disobedient children. In response, we invited her to bring her children to Sunday school and told her that there was hope if she would attend church and become an obedient disciple of Christ. With God’s help, we were able to plant good seeds of the Gospel in Zina’s heart and in the hearts of her three children. We will wait for the sprouting! —Natasha, camp counselor and psychologist at a Center for Corrective and Developmental Education and Rehabilitation