CIS (MNN) — It’s that time of year when the sun comes out, the sunscreen is lathered on, and kids go to camp.
However, it may not be that simple in countries where pairing the Gospel message in a camp setting isn’t as welcome.
Slavic Gospel Association has a camp ministry for kids which covers nine nations including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and several Muslim-dominated nations in central Asia.
According to Joel Griffith with SGA, “In those places, we have to be a little more discreet in how we support and report on those camps because of increasing persecution and crackdowns by governments.”
Just in Russia alone, amendments have been brought forward that could punish “propaganda of religious sects among minors." While rejected, these amendments are just one example of the mindset SGA faces with their camp ministry.
Griffith says at these camps, there is “the potential for arrest or raids, and we’ve certainly seen that happen in some countries. We’ve actually had a couple of instances where the authorities forced some camps to close down.”
Sometimes, parents in more sensitive areas are hesitant to allow their children to attend camp. But according to Griffith, “Evangelical Christians get involved in the town…showing love and Christian compassion to the children. The parents are able to see that some of the propaganda they’ve been hearing is not true…. Then they’re much more at peace about encouraging and allowing their children to come to camps like these.”
Last year, SGA worked with 303 churches to hold 246 different camps across the nine different nations.
1300 kids attended camp: 7600 of those came from unbelieving families, 2100 were orphans, and 231 kids were homeless. Ultimately, 2000 children committed their lives to Christ.
“We just need to pray for the open door,” says Griffith, “and then once they have the open door, the Holy Spirit does the rest, working in people’s hearts.”
It doesn’t cost much to support this ministry. $41 sends one child to camp for the week where they are given a New Testament in their language. Click here to support SGA’s camp ministry. Just select the link that says "Donate Now."