Slavic Gospel Association assists churches in life-changing summer camp programs.

By August 3, 2006

Russia (MNN) — This summer, thousands of children across Russia and Central Asia are having fun and hearing God’s Word at summer camp, many for the first time. Slavic Gospel Association helps local churches put on these summer camps, and SGA’s Joel Griffith says it’s a significant outreach.

During the time of the Soviet Union, the government used to run summer camp programs and fun activities for kids, but that ended when communism fell, and for awhile nothing was provided.

But Griffith says that churches saw that as an opportunity to reach out and provide something meaningful and life-changing, “Well the churches stepped into the gap and began holding and sponsoring summer camps, to take the place of these things, not only to give needy children a chance to get away from the city and get away from their normal routine and have some fun and recreational activities, but it was also a time to open God’s Word to them, to present to them the Gospel, and to be able to just spend some time discipling children in the ways of Christ.”

With 11 locations in Russia, and also places in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Ukraine, there’s a potential to impact many lives in many places. Griffith says they’ve heard great reports from years past, “It’s really had quite a dynamic impact not only in the lives of needy children, but also, when the children themselves encounter Christ, they often turn out to be the best witnesses for the Gospel in their own families. The families see the differences that are made in the lives of their children, and that gets them a little bit curious, (to think) ‘What in the world’s impacted my child like this to effect such a change?’ and the parents end up investigating it and frequently they’re drawn into the church as well. So it’s really an important outreach.”

Last year more than 10,000 children camp to the summer camps, but this year, SGA is hoping they’ll be able to reach that many. They’re experiencing a large shortfall in funding this year, and Griffith says it’s very important for churches to maintain and continue this outreach. “It really is a vital thing that we try to have those resources in place to enable them to meet the goal they want to reach. And hopefully, we’re praying that they won’t have to turn any children away because the funds aren’t there.”

Griffith says your help is needed, and they’ll continue praying and seeking those willing to make this summer life-changing for kids, “Obviously, you set a goal that want to be able to reach, to try to get out there and help as many children as possible and reach as many children as possible. And obviously if the funds end up not there, that limits the amount of children who are able to participate in the camp session. And in some cases maybe the churches are stepping out in faith, praying that the Lord will bring those resources in. In other cases some of the churches that might be holding camps later on, are hoping and praying that those resources will come in before they get their local camp session underway.”

Contact Slavic Gospel Association to help financially.

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