Ministry summer camp brings hope to children in the former Soviet Union

By May 9, 2008

Russia (MNN) — This summer, Russian
hopes to involve at least 5,000 children in week-long evangelistic
summer camps throughout the former Soviet Union.

Camps in places like Chechnya, Moldova, and
the Ukraine will be offered to children and teenagers from at-risk families,
intact families and orphanages. 

Among the poorest countries of Europe,
Moldova struggles with unemployment, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS, and human
trafficking. Young Moldovans like Sasha
often grow up in alcoholic families. Sasha's
older brother committed suicide, and Sasha nearly did as well before returning
to the Lord at an evangelistic summer camp.

Chechen children like Shaip will never forget
the violence they have experienced in their war-torn country. Shaip's parents died in the conflict in
Grozny, and he watched as his house was blown up by a bomb. He witnessed violence and its gruesome
results, and spent some time living by himself in abandoned buildings.

Shaip now lives with his aunt, but the scars
of his experiences obviously linger. At
summer camp, he warmed up to counselors very slowly and finally began to demonstrate
receptiveness to the Gospel. 

In contrast to the other two boys, Maxim
lives in the city of Zaporozhye, Ukraine, which
is very peaceful and prosperous. The seeds of
the Gospel were first planted in the hearts of Maxim and his best friend Dmitry
at a volleyball sports club and later at summer camp. They came to fruition as Maxim was attending
church, not long after summer camp. 

was impressed that his Christian friends "were happy, educated, talented, creative and athletic. But during
our Bible study times, they discussed life in a way I did not hear before from
young people. I also saw that they could have fun without alcohol and other

After visiting church, he said, "I simply had no choice but to
trust Jesus and repent before God in front of all my new friends. Everybody was
so happy with me, and I felt that I was accepted into a large family." 

A gift of $50 will pay for one Bible and send
one child to camp, where he or she can grow in faith and in the knowledge of

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