So I’m a little behind in blogging about the end of the summer and our final camp in August! I’ve been wanting to post pictures and say something—I guess I’ve just not known what exactly to write about!
All I can say is that generally I am a pretty planned out person…and this camp did not go as I planned. Living in Ukraine I’ve gotten used to things not going as I plan…and each time we do a camp it is another reminder that the ‘type A’ in me has to die more and more and I need to learn to let Jesus guide and sometimes even change my “plans.” Because he always does!
This camp was unique in that we had 50 orphanage graduates. This was a first for our team. This means that these were youth that have already aged out of the “system” and are now studying in local trade and technical schools. We had planned for about 75 youth- so I was a little disappointed that the numbers were down—especially since we had 24 leaders serving! This is one of the things that didn’t go according to my plan! :) But you know what, it was so awesome to see how the Lord used the fact that we had an abundance of volunteers. In fact, very quickly we came to feel that we did not have an abundance…as each of us was stretched to our max! 50 youth between the ages of 17-21 is a LOT of relational energy and it became very clear that we had all the extra help for a reason—these “kids” were SO hungry for relationships and for listening ears.
We had the privilege to give each person attending the camp their very own Bible. For some of these youth it was their first time holding a Bible in their hands! And they were FULL of questions- which was awesome.
The theme of the camp was “Am I the Center of the Universe?” We focused on asking the bigger questions in life- “What am I here for?” - “Is there evidence that points to God?” “If there is a God, what is his purpose for my life?”—These are the questions we started with and throughout the week we discussed various attributes of God’s character and shared with them about reconciliation to God through Jesus. This of course is the very brief summary of a 10-day program! :) By the end of the camp about 90% of the kids make decisions to accept Christ!!! It was TRULY AMAZING. On the first day, the kids barely moved their mouths when we would sing worship songs in the evening. But by the last night, there was truly a SPIRIT of WORSHIP in the room as these youth sang to the Lord. I had to just stop and watch them- it was truly humbling and inspiring to see how the Lord was moving in the hearts of these young people.
To tell you the truth—I can’t even remember now what half of the things were that didn’t go according to how I had planned that week. Obviously they weren’t that important! :)
These youth come from very dark and broken pasts and have lived through things that most of us wouldn’t even want to imagine. So please pray for them. Pray for those that accepted Christ this summer and pray that the seeds that were planted will continue to take root in their lives. They have already gone back to their “normal” lives in the dormitories and the temptation to fall back into old patterns is so real. Pray for strength, pray for boldness, pray for a passion for Jesus to be etched in their hearts.