Russia (MNN) — With summer over, one ministry is thanking God for hitting a milestone in ministry. Russian Ministries set a new record for the number of kids they were able to send to summer camp to learn about Christ, thanks to your prayer and financial support.
President of Russian Ministries Sergey Rakhuba says, "8,554 kids and youth attended 98 different Russian Ministries evangelistic camps this summer in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and Central Asia. Campers came mostly from poor families and many from non-Christian homes. Each camper had the opportunity to discover God's love, learn from His Word, and grow in their faith under the caring guidance of young Next Generation Christian leaders."
For the leaders, this was also a time to put into practice the ministry lessons learned during their School Without Walls (SWW) classes.
In Poltava, Ukraine, Russian Ministries teamed up with Samaritan's Purse to create a summer camp for 55 children living with HIV and special needs. "Most Ukrainians know little about HIV, despite the fact that the country has one of the fastest growth rates of HIV/AIDS in the world," says Rakhuba. "These children live under a daily cloud of fear and stigma. But at camp, they were surrounded by God's love as they did crafts, sang Bible songs, and learned about Jesus. For once, they felt wanted and accepted–a wonderful witness to them and to their families."
Oksana, a SWW student who helped lead the camp in Kabardino-Balkaria, Northern Caucasus, tells us, "I was greatly helped by knowledge gained through SWW, which I graduated from this year. I called to mind what our teachers had taught us about children's ministry, which really helped me. We became close friends with the children during the camp. Three children from a needy family were on their guard at first. But during camp they were transformed into thankful listeners. They were grateful for every piece of candy and every kind word. By the end of the camp, they were completely our [friends] and parted with great sadness. You could tell that they didn't want the camp to end."
These are just a few of the stories of changed lives of campers and leaders. This isn't the end of the story, Rakhuba says. "Our bold, young Next Generation Christian leaders will follow up with sports camps, youth groups, and other events designed for further discipleship. Thank you for giving so many children this time to explore God's love for them and learn to trust Him for the rest of their lives."
Your support is needed for another Next Generation-led ministry — Project Hope. Funding is needed now to be ready to give Christmas gifts to needy children in the former Soviet Union. Click here to help.