Ukraine Summer Camps 2014
by Phil Long, International President
Because of the changing political landscape in Ukraine, we have had to shift our outreach methods in that country. In the past, our ministry concentration to underprivileged children and orphans has been mainly through our Hope Center in Kerch, on the Crimean Peninsula. We ministered to thousands of children and team members over the last 12 years there and have seen some incredible results.
As the political environment began to shift, we knew that the social issues associated with these marginalized children in Ukraine would only increase and we needed to reassess our strategy to be able to reach a greater number and more effectively. Over the last 10 years, we have trained more than 500 pastors and church leaders through our Biblical and leadership training. We have been working on a plan over the last 2 years to utilize this network of leaders more effectively and to challenge them to reach their nation for God and to begin taking greater responsibility to solve the problems that exist there.
In the past, we have ministered to 300-400 children every summer. We would bring these children from all over Ukraine for 10 days at a time and minister to them, then send them back to the orphanages. We saw wonderful things happen. Many had come to Christ but it was difficult to follow up with them once they left the camp.
In June of 2014, we shifted from doing ministry at the Hope Center to supporting local ministry all over the country. We transferred our seed money from doing the ministry ourselves to sowing into local churches and ministries around Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, within the communities where these children are located. We are already seeing exponential results!
With the change in focusing on locals to organize the camps and doing camps inside their communities, the children are followed up on a regular basis and ministry to them continues all year long. We have been able to reach over 1,500 children and, in some cases, their families, already in 12 cities. We have proposals for ministry to another 1,500 children by the end of September. Several places of ministry will be across the border and in neighboring countries such as Russia, Belarus, and Moldova. So far we have touched the lives of handicapped children, orphans, street children, and children of various marginalized people groups like Jews and Gypsies. What a great scope! Much more than we've ever experienced!
Here are a few stories from some of the camps this past summer.
Kozelets Summer Camp
Click Here to view a presentation on the summer camps in Kozelets
Kremenets Summer Camp (Ternopil Region)
Someone once said that opportunities comes to those who are ready to do something.
The team of the "Success Center" always had a desire to minister to the orphans and at-risk children. That is why the Lord gave us an opportunity to influence many children during their summer vacation in spite of the fact that they were out of school.
Children from different parts of the Ternopil region came to improve their health in the Kremenets sanatorium. Most of 90 children were orphans or came from poor families and families with many children.
From June 27 to July 4, our team had opportunity to organize a one-week camp called “Be a Hero” for these children. It was truly a great time for making new friends, for games and quests, lessons and teaching time. The children, working in four teams, had an opportunity to work together, to solve difficult tasks, and to make serious decisions. We are especially thankful and would like to note all the team leaders and volunteers as they became examples of true servant leaders.
The most important event of the camp was the cartoon “Miraculous Resurrection” from the Super Book cartoon series. We were able to share the Good News and that the love of God for them was revealed in Jesus Christ. The children were so inspired with the need to live a righteous life that more than 40 of them prayed with us the prayer of repentance and accepted Jesus Christ into their hearts! We gave them New Testaments, tee shirts and other gifts. We thank God for the Holy Spirit bringing Jesus to such young lives!
We were also able to talk to the teachers during the camp. We have passed on to them the core Biblical principles of our work with children. We shared with them about the value for good attitude towards people and towards life in general. We believe that these conversations will affect positively their attitude.
All of the children liked the camp very much and they all have shared about this with us. All of them invited us to come again next year. We will continue to communicate with the children on how to grow in the Lord's truth through personal meetings and also at different social networks on the Internet.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Please enjoy this short video from the link below.
Odessa Summer Camp
by Pastor Maxim Dzum, Way of Love Church, Odessa
There was a camp. This was not your usual summer camp but a Bible camp for Gypsy children. They have no such camps as they don't attend school, don't have social benefits like other Ukrainians do, and their parents have to go to work to provide for their needs.
Rejected by the society, we work with the Gypsies because we are called by God to make disciples among them. The Gypsy children are the most vulnerable as they follow in the footsteps of their parents. Many of them have no birth certificates and later in life have troubles obtaining passports.
We have a school where the Gypsy children could go and this summer we wanted to provide them with a summer Bible camp. Global Action came along in the time when we needed help! You made this camp possible! During the camp, we became friends with the Gypsy children. We helped them pray to our Heavenly Father. They learned songs about His love and mercy. Every morning, the children learned a Bible lesson and participated in performances with Bible stories that made important points for their lives.
Going to the sea and playing games gave us all a time of fun and smiles. Crafts became the most interesting time for them. For a first time this year, the children were able to have four meals each day. We were able to provide them with clothes, if they needed some. The zest of our summer camp was that on the last day, when their parents joined us for a picnic, the children presented a Christian program with songs that they had learned during the camp.
This camp made the Christians realize that the Gypsies need our help in bringing them to the Lord and making disciples among them. We will follow up with them teaching them in our Bibles school. We want to develop the relations we started with them.
We are thankful for the opportunity to serve these poor children who learned from us about our Heavenly Father. During the camp, Jesus became their best friend.