Abkhazia (MNN) — Have you ever heard of Abkhazia? It’s a tiny nation bordering Russia that declared its independence from Georgia in 1999. This week, an annual Bible camp in Abkhazia is bringing hope to a group of isolated and forgotten children.
“It’s quite an important event in the lives of these kids and their caretakers,” notes Richard Page of SOAR International Ministries.
Reaching kids in Abkhazia
Abkhazia is a tiny nation bordering Russia that declared its independence from Georgia in 1999. A large percentage of children there are born into a life of challenge and isolation.
“30-percent of their children are born with some form of physical [disability],” Page reports. “Most of these kids are pretty isolated; there’s not much chance for them to get out.”
A local church began reaching out to these kids a number of years ago with the compassion of Christ. SOAR came alongside to support their efforts.
“Over the past few years, a number of kids have started coming to the church and have accepted Christ.”
Many of those children heard the Gospel for the first time at an annual camp organized by the church and supported by SOAR.
“Every year, we try to do a camp to reach out to those kids plus their caretakers and share the love of Christ plus the Gospel message with them,” Page explains. “They bring kids and caretakers from all over the country.”
For four days, handicapped children and their caretakers are hosted at a residential-style retreat center. A volunteer counselor helps each child navigate the day’s activities, while caretakers enjoy a separate program specifically designed with them in mind.
Additionally, SOAR tries to provide children and their families with extra resources at each camp. Because of the widespread poverty in Abkhazia, many parents can’t afford to buy essentials like winter clothing.
At the 2016 camp, SOAR even provided wheelchairs through a partnership with Joni and Friends. “It was really exciting to see how God had each of the wheelchairs almost [specifically] designed for certain children,” recalls Page.
Prior to this, some parents had to physically carry their child everywhere because there were no wheelchairs available in the entire country. Page says they’re hoping to send another container filled with supplies in the near future.
Can you help?
One week of Bible camp was held for younger children earlier this month. The camp for older children and their caretakers is underway this week. Would you surround them in prayer?
“We’d really like people to pray that the kids’ hearts would be opened and that they would hear the Gospel message,” Page requests. He asks that you also pray for caretakers who attend the camp.
“It’s a real opportunity for them to experience the love of Christ being shared by these amazing volunteers.”
You can also help SOAR and their church partners by financially supporting the camp. Click here to donate online and select “Abkhazia Ministry” from the drop-down list.
“The churches in Abkhazia are very poor, so gifts toward the camp are always a huge help.”