240322 Sga Apr Cultivation Campaign Camps Website Article Wp Preview V0
Apr 11, 2024
Editor’s Note: The image and story below was provided by an SGA team member in Kazakhstan.

Sometimes it is too easy for us to let the “rules” become more important than granting opportunity for the Gospel to be shared. In the story below, you will see how a young girl name Diana was thrilled when an exception had been made for her to attend a camp that she was too young for. She proved herself to be well qualified to be in the midst of kids older than herself.

By God’s grace, after fighting a battle with cancer, she was able to attend camp for the first time—and there her heart was set on fire for the Lord! Read more about Diana as shared by an SGA team member in Kazakhstan, and please pray for this sweet little girl.

Diana is eight years old. She lives in one of the villages located two hours away from Issyk. Her grandmother attended a local church many years ago. But over the years, she distanced herself from communication. Diana battled cancer for several years. She had to have a kidney removed. This past summer they learned about our camps. When we got the call, we had already finished the children’s camp and were opening a camp for teenagers. Diana did not fit the age category. We talked to the team about the possibility of taking her, but everyone was against it since this is not her age group.

Senior managers said: “There is a ‘rule’ that we don’t take children of different ages. She won’t be interested. She is small and will disturb other children in Bible class.”

We called grandma and said no. Grandmother began to cry and said, “Diana is in the hospital every summer. [At this point we learned about her diagnosis.] In her eight years of life, she had never been to a camp. She stands next to me and waits for your answer.”

I couldn’t help the shame inside me. Because of the “rules” we are depriving this girl of such a good opportunity at camp where she has a chance to meet Christ. I said that my husband would come to their village to pick up the rest of the guys, along with Diana. Let her pack her things. And I heard laughter and shouts of joy on the other end of the phone. She and her grandmother were very grateful. Diana arrived at the camp. And I’ll tell you, she was the most perfect child. She is so lively, cheerful, active. She is very obedient, disciplined, and inquisitive.

Diana says: “I have never been to a camp in my life, but many times I imagined what it would be like. This camp exceeded all my expectations.”

This little girl never missed a Bible lesson. She kept her personal spiritual diary. She prayed to God for the first time. Do you know what she told her grandmother when she returned home? I can’t write about this without my heart shrinking, It takes my breath away and tears roll down every time. The first thing she said when she got home was: “Why? Why didn’t I know about Jesus before? He died for me! He loves me! Why didn’t I know that I could pray to Him and ask Him to heal me?”

Diana’s fire and passion for God embodies our entire team. Each of us cried and prayed for her. Each of us has regretted the desire to say “no” a thousand times. Only the grace of God, in that moment, was able to give this girl the opportunity to learn about the saving sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Now Diana is His daughter, and she knows it. She prays to God and studies the Bible. Her grandmother has returned to church, and they attend meetings together.

Let this story remind us that every choice we make should be in favor of giving every person the opportunity to learn about hope.

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