Former communist youth camps are being used for Christian outreach

By February 23, 2004

Russia (MNN) — As hundreds of communist youth camps have gone vacant since the fall of communism in Russia, these camps are making a come-back. However, it’s not fostering communism, but a relationship with Jesus Christ.

OC International’s Bob Rasmussen says, “since the youth are very disillusioned and poor and bored, camping is making a tremendous inroads into the youth culture and is very attractive.” He says, “It just gives youth something to be excited about in their otherwise pretty boring lives.”

Rasmussen says disillusionment that was left by communism has left a whole generation of people searching. He says, “Many, many young people are turning to Christ and giving their lives to Christ.”

Rasmussen says there are needs associated with this program. They need money to help with training, basic repair of the camps and equipment. He says Russian believers have identified there’s a need and they’re excited to see how this type of outreach is effective.

According to statistics, the younger you reach someone with the Gospel, the more likely they are to turn to Christ. Rasmussen says Russia’s youth culture is facing incredible challenges. “A lot of disillusionment, a lot of drug use — a lot of drug use. (There’s) a lot of alcohol abuse and gang activity as well. It’s a very responsive age group.”

OCI will be heading to Russia six or seven times this year, training 35 to 40 people in Christian camping each visit. Rasmussen says that means OCI will be responsible for many camps this summer. “There is the potential for hundreds of camps, which brings the potential for thousands of Russian young people to be brought under the claims of Christ.”

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