A reflection on camp

Camp is over.  And although, it was the most challenging camp ever, I miss it already.  We took the kids back home on Sunday morning, and I found that after 10 days of being surrounded by short ones and friends and other leaders, I was lonely.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it is great sleeping in my own bed and having hot showers, but I miss camp and all the people there.   

One of the unexpected blessings of the camp was a group of 17 children and 3 leaders from an orphanage in a village north of Suceava.  Two of the leaders are Christian, but because of their positions and government regulations they are not able to speak about their faith.  The most they are able to do is have the children say the “Our Father” at meal times.  Well, I did not know this when I was asked by the camp director if the kids could sit in on our lessons.  This was an added burden that the team really didn’t need, but I felt I really couldn’t say no.  They had no lessons planned for their kids and how were my kids going to deal with being in lessons with the other kids weren’t.  I explained that I didn’t have enough crafts for their kids, but they could come to our lessons and participate in the music and games.  As the days unfolded, I learned that this was the first time the kids, ranging in age from 9-21, had ever hear any of the songs we sang and it was the first time they learned Bible stories and memorized Bible verses.  The kids from the orphanage competed with each other in earning points for verses, review questions and serving each other.  All the kids from both the orphanage and Stroiesti worked together and played together.  We integrated teams and everyone cheered each other on.  Some times it was girls against the boys and other times, the orphanage verses the village.  The kids from the orphanage really enjoyed the lessons and learning the songs and soon they were calling requests for Rebecca to play on the guitar, including Kum-ba-ya…all 10 verses! 

         

  

As I said before I didn’t have enough crafts for all the children at camp, so the kids from the orphanage would go out of the gym while we did craft.  Well, one afternoon I realized, the teens had not done one of their crafts. This was the only craft that was duplicate for the teens and kids.  It was a simple craft: making a beaded necklace (or name tag holder) and I had enough for all the kids to do it.  I let their leader know and they kids were thrilled to join us.  

  

  A very special blessing came when we did the lesson of Esther…Estera…the good folks at New Harvest Church had sent a ton of crafts and one of those crafts was decorating gold crowns.  They had sent 24 crowns, well, I knew I had 26 kids scheduled for camp and that the boys probably wouldn’t like to make princess crowns, so I brought with me the 18 wooden snakes they had sent, for the boys.  I don’t know why I brought all the projects with me.  I knew the exact number of kids coming to camp, but I did.  All together, Stroiesti and the orphanage, there were 23 girls and 18 boys.  Each child was able to do their project and it turned out to be everyone’s favorite project.  It was a God thing…that’s what it was.   

              

The kids from the orphanage left a day before us with tears and goodbyes.  But also with an invitation to visit them.  I spoke with director and he wants me to visit them and continue to share with his kids about the Bible and about Jesus. Ana and another leader want to come with me. The children from the orphanage were a special blessing to us all.   We talked about having our kids meet again.  Please pray that we are able to do this; I’m very much looking forward to continuing the relationship with children and between them and my kids from Stroiesti.  I believe God brought us all together for a reason and His reasons are always good.   

The whole group

 

Despite horrible weather and the bridge being out, despite wet, smelly clothes and shoes, and being stuck in the gym, it was a good camp.  And I’ve already started planning for next year….anyone want to join us for camp next year?

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5 Responses

  1. Melissa, what a movement of God on this year’s camp. I prayed for you while I was laying in the hospital and here at home. I have tears in my eyes as I read your report here. Sometimes, at least for me, I have everything mapped out in a neat organized way, only to have God come and brush His hand over it all. It looks like a mess to me but from His perspective is it just the way he wants it. Stop right now and think of the words to the song “Thank you for Giving to the Lord”. I believe with all my heart that because of your work and the other Christian leaders there will be children from camp enjoying Heaven with us some day. God be praised. Continued blessings to you my dear as you continue to be the hands of Jesus in Romania.
    With Love,

  2. Loved hearing your camp reflections and praising God with you that the orphanage kids were able to learn about Jesus for probably the first time in their lives. What a privlege God gave you and your team to be the first seed planters! I also loved your story about the 23/18 kids/crafts…that’s so cool. Hope you are enjoying a bit of a break….love you, Melissa! In Christ, Shelley et al

  3. oh melissa, how precious!! we have our plans but the LORD orders our steps…how HE prepared the way, covered your time and sharing opportunity as well as fellowship. you know the greater gain over inconvenience, bad weather, etc. as seeds are being planted in their lives. i always love to read your updates and see the photos…thank you, thank you.
    i love you!!

  4. This was such an encouraging story. I will pray for you to be able to minister to the children at the orphanage.

    B had her first sleep over last week for her birthday. Let me tell you what! I am so glad it is over and that I don’t have seven little girl children of my own. lol!

    I hope you are doing well. Love you lots!

  5. Hi Melissa,
    it’s been such a pleasure to read your post and remember the precious times we’ve had in these camps! There were challenges but great opportunities as well! I miss all of that! And you… and Bogdan playing that “I’ll be right here waiting for you…”:) nice memories! Hope you’ll have a great camp this year and many children blessed through it! Love,
    Rebeca

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