The local church has been running their annual summer camps for both children and youth over the past month. Here’s a small report and images of these much loved children’s camp gatherings at the mission centre in Lebedyn.
During 20 years at the Spiritual Revival church campus we have held daytime summer meetings with local children. The goal of our work is not only to amuse and feed children, but also to become part of their lives, lives of their families and to be a good living example for them of the Gospel and its beauty and power.
We had unforgettable days. Everyday started at 09:00 through to 15:00. The majority of children were from single parent families and where mainly children live with their mothers. However, many of them also live with grandmothers as mothers need to go to work abroad. As a result we have noticed that these children needed much attention, love and hugs from us the most.
The main theme was “The World Picture” (or “The Beautiful World”). We spoke about God as the creator and then how the world has fallen away from God and how man is destroying this beautiful world. We then explained how God recreated the world and our lives by His Son Jesus Christ, who is our real friend, who gives us real love and Salvation.
Children who attended for the first time requested, and were given, Bibles. They wanted to know and find out more.
We were so encouraged that a lot of children prayed to Jesus for the first time as they understood that their hearts are sinful and became Christians.
Here are some true stories and testimonies from the 2020 youth camp:
One girl called Nastia, who was in our winter camp for the first time, also came to this summer camp. She also had our children club in the following months. When she was in winter camp she asked to have her own Bible. The leaders of the summer camp and children who knew her noticed positive changes in her behaviour. Before Nastia tried everything to attract everybody’s attention to herself, she was insisting on that. But during the summer camp in any situation she was telling everybody “I know that God understands me better than anybody”. She read the whole Bible which we gave her and she asked for more Christian books.
One girl Kristina was in our summer camp for the first time and it was so great to observe how her concept of God was changing her. This is what she said: “Before I thought that God is far-away old man, but now I understand that He is much greater than that and I know that He hears me.
Roma’s story. This boy joined our camp for the second time. During the lesson about sin, he made a conclusion that he has a sinful heart and asked what to do and how to be saved. When he heard the reply from the leader that God gives the way out through what Jesus has done on the cross, he exclaimed: “How Great it is that Christ’s blood can cleanse my sinful heart”. He became a Christian at this point.
We have some very encouraging feedback from the parents. One of the mothers told us: “It is so great that my daughter joined the camp, at least from her I could hear about God. I had never heard about God before”. We are praying that she gives her life fully to Christ.
One family story. Valeria and Yaroslav (sister and brother) joined our summer camp last year, afterwards they both joined our children club and Sunday school. Their mother was bringing them and then she was coming back to take them home. Little by little she started joining their Bible lessons, but still was quite wary. During the camp this year she came to our office, asked so many questions about God and attentively listened to the answers.
After each camp week we organised a special family event for the camp children and their wider families. It proved to be a very important and precious moment. Our target is to reach not only children but their parents. We were so surprised how active parents were and how full of joy they took part in every game and activity together with the children. Some parents said: “we have never thought that it is perfect to have so much fun without alcohol!” At the same time they had an opportunity to hear Gospel even from their children. It was a great chance to make friends, to have a fellowship with the parents.
We are planning to continue our family ministry like this in the future and encouraging more work and conversation with the whole family not just the children. We will continue to meet regularly with families through the year on Saturdays.