Russia (MNN) – The northern hemisphere is prepping for spring and that means Slavic Gospel Association is gearing up for its annual summer camp season.
During the summer months, local churches put on summer camps for children in the area. At the camps, kids participate in Bible studies, get to hear the Gospel, and engage in fun activities such as swimming, hiking, and more.
These camps are also a chance for kids to get away and be engulfed in a Christian environment for a few days. Needless to say, these summer camps can be life changing.
“Much like the stories that we shared with under Immanuel’s Child, in many cases we hear of children coming to faith and that their life experiences and their walks with God start at summer camps,” Slavic Gospel Association’s Vice President of Ministry Operations Eric Mock says.
Yet, it’s not just these kids who are ministered to through the summer camps, but the adults in their lives as well.
“Reaching adults, as it is here in the U-S, is sometimes very difficult. Regretfully, after about age 25, it seems like it just gets harder and harder and harder to see people turn from their ways. In contrast, reaching families has tended to be possible through ministry to children,” Mock shares.
“And that’s why at SGA we’re really focused on equipping churches to reach children and those in this younger generation.”
Mock, along with other SGA staff, are excited to see and hear how God will move in the lives of children this summer camps season.
SGA’s Children’s Ministry Coordinator Lana Yusov has had personal experience in witnessing the Gospel’s transforming work in the lives of these kids.’
A Great Need
“Many children, especially orphans—who live the whole year in orphanages, come to these camps and change their outlooks on life. They became very different, they become more Godly and begin to seek the Lord,” Yusov explains.
“[And] It’s the best way to reach orphans because the whole [Christian] atmosphere has an influence on each child in the Christian camps.”
Kids coming to these camps, particularly from Central Asian, often are coming from a Muslim background. More so, these kids are usually facing poverty and isolation.
For kids in far east Russia, these camps are usually the first time they have ever heard the Gospel. Children in far east Russia often live without hope as well as in isolation and poverty, too.
And then, there are the kids who have learned to call an orphanage home.
“Their hearts have been so broken. Most kids that I know would like a close relationship with a mother or father. And imagine that a mother or father, by their own efforts or just their own decisions, drop you off at an orphanage and may never see you again,” Mock shares.
“The government doesn’t really give them extra care. They’re known as social orphans—kids who have a living relative, but are not able to go back to the said relative.”
Orphans are left with the terrible question, ‘Why am I not loved enough to have a home? Why won’t my parent come back for me?’ But summer camps are an opportunity for these same kids to learn that they are loved, they are valued, and that they have not been forgotten.
And in the case of orphans, SGA actually has a year-round ministry to continue to water the seeds that are planted at summer camps.
The ministry, Orphans Reborn, helps local churches make several trips a month to orphanages in efforts to continually show these kids they’re loved not just by church members, but by Christ, too. Learn more about Orphans Reborn here!
So please, pray for these kids. Pray for God’s work in through these summer camps, for the Gospel to go out through the kids and their families, and for the resources needed for these camps to be provided.
To learn more about SGA’s summer camps, click here!
To donate to SGA’s summer camps, click here!