Haiti (MNN) — Christian World Outreach has held their Great Discovery Youth Camps in Haiti since 1979.
The camps are held annually in Lavictoire and one in Ouanaminthe and target young adults. Greg Yoder with Christian World Outreach first explains what's meant by youth. "Sometimes in Haiti when they say youth, it's anyone who's single, and it can be up to age 35."
Then, Yoder says that the area Christians invite non-Christian friends of theirs to join them for a week. They share the Gospel and give them opportunity to change their lives spiritually, he say. It's the culmination of what may have been months of building relationships with people.
It's a popular invitation. This year, over 400 guests visited between the two venues, Yoder notes. "At those two events this year, 76 people came to Christ. We don't stop there. We don't just leave them. We try to plug them into a church. The pastors from our churches follow up with these people."
Each day begins and ends with a chapel service sharing the Gospel message. Throughout the day, there are seminars on topics such as how to choose a mate, biblical sexuality, marriage, and raising children.
There are also fun activities such as soccer and other games that appeal to youth. Part of CWO's relationship with partner churches is to educate and train the pastors and leaders. The training helps these partners ask and answer the following: "How do we help people grow in their new faith? How do we disciple them so that they can grow spiritually and become a witness for Christ in their community?"
Once the camps are completed, the church leaders and pastors can then disciple and mentor the youth so that they are not sent back to their home environments without the support of a local church. Yoder says they take a hands-off approach to the discipleship aspect. It means the local church has local flavor. "We've left it up the pastor and his leadership in the church. It kind of ties into the leadership training we do at the beginning of the year. "
Communities are transformed every day through these camps. People WANT to see what it's all about, says Yoder. He shares this story: "A couple years ago, [a man] was very involved in voodoo and had a big cock-fighting arena. He went and approached somebody and said, ‘Why haven't I been invited?' out of fear, that person invited him."
Then, the voodoo practitioner accepted Christ. "They went back with him to his home. He burned everything that involved voodoo and then wanted to turn his cock-fighting arena into a prayer center."
That's the second part of this outreach. Prayer. Yoder says with voodoo and the occult so prevalent in Haiti, their team is up to their necks in spiritual warfare. "Pray for the churches. Pray that they will be able to follow up with these new people. Pray for these new brothers and sisters in Christ–these 76 people that are new to the faith– that they will grow. Pray for protection against Satan's schemes. "
It's community transformation that wears the face of the Church. It costs CWO $6000 to house and feed the guests for a week at the Great Discovery Youth Camp. If the average group is around 300, that means it's roughly $20 a head to invest in permanent change for the better.
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