Lebanon (MNN) — What did summer camp look like for you? For most kids, it means playing games outside, building craft projects, and of course, singing plenty of camp songs.
For kids in Triumphant Mercy’s summer camps, things are just about the same. Most of the camps are in Lebanon, so the context might be different, but the camps still focus on fun activities and building relationships.
It’s not all fun and games, however. Nuna of Triumphant Mercy says the camps are the only opportunities some kids have to experience the Gospel firsthand. Rather than focus on kids who have no education to speak of, the camps are open to anyone who has time to attend. After all, most local schools don’t share the Gospel in class. That makes vacation time pivotal in reaching local kids with Christ’s message.
By focusing on vacation times and an annual schedule, Triumphant Mercy has the chance to use regularity to form relationships. “Every year, we try to do this so that we can build on people,” she says.
It’s all part of a mission that builds community from a Gospel foundation.
“The people who are [providing] all these activities are all believers, they all love God, and they all want to see a change in the world,” Nuna says. “Embracing or loving or accepting a child that’s a bit different or just showing acts of mercy and acts of kindness, all this is a way of spreading the Gospel.”
It’s not just about bringing people into a new community, however. Nuna’s team focuses on meeting kids where they’re at. They often take that literally, making it a regular practice to visit children in their homes in an attempt to understand their context. This also allows Triumphant Mercy to reach local families.
“The kids love it when we just go and say ‘Let me introduce you to my brother, my sister, to my parents, to my neighbors,’ whoever it is,” Nuna says. “When we go to them, we just understand a lot better why a child behaves a certain way or why he’s reacting a certain way or why he’s fearful of certain thing.”
That’s where the connection between helping children in Lebanon and helping our own local neighbors comes in. We need to “walk a mile in the shoes” of people around us, engaging in attempts to see where people are coming from and the struggles unique to their stories.
Want to encourage Triumphant Mercy’s work in Lebanon? You can provide financial aid or even send words of encouragement to a local child with the information provided right here. In the meantime, pray.
“What I’m saying is that if we want to make a change in the world, we have to go out, but we also have to go into a community to understand why a certain person behaves a certain way,” Nuna says.
“Try to understand the other person, try to understand the behavior of other people, and try to also be there to just show love and show compassion and show acceptance of others.”
Header photo courtesy of Triumphant Mercy