Summer Camps, 2012, Kobrin, Belarus
“Zhemchuzhinka” – Children’s Health Care Centre
This year our project was to conduct 7 camps over 77 days catering for 1,330 children with 65 of a staff. However due to difficulties in obtaining the necessary funds 6 camps were held over 68 days with a total of 1,115 children plus 65 members of staff. The camps were held in “Zhemchuzhinka” from June 4th – August 13th. Three camps of 15 days were held for children aged 7-13 years, an 8 day camp for 14-17 year olds, one 8 day camp for children of mixed ages from 7 – 17 years, and a 7 day camp for children also 7 – 17 years. The majority of children came from non-Christian families, some from single parent families, some from low income families, some from large families, and a small amount from families where alcohol is a problem. A very small percentage of the children attending had some form of disability.
The purpose of conducting these camps is to address the demographic situation arising from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster of 1986; to bring recovery and medical services to the Belarusian children; to overcome spiritual and economic difficulties in the nation.
Before the camps could take place the authorities had to be satisfied that the site and buildings were safe for the children and so some alterations and repairs had to be carried out. This was a difficult time but God prepared the hearts of the workers who laboured 20 hours per day and so enabled us to have all the necessary work completed by June 2nd and the Centre was then ready and prepared to accept children. The authorities were surprised that all the work was done in such a short space of time. It was not possible to carry out all the planned changes due to lack of funds but the necessary work was done. We pray that God will open His resources for further work to be done and so help more children.
The camps were a time of much blessing for the children with good weather, renovated housing, the installation of a trampoline and swimming pool. The children also went on excursions to the water park as well as obtaining spiritual education and medical services. The staff were all well prepared in advance and we achieved good marks in the conduction of these children’s camps, all evidenced by the following:
- Practically all children from non-Christian families learned to pray, all children attended Bible lessons, and participated in games with biblical themes.
- More than 300 children came to the Lord with prayers of repentance.
- All children joined in with the Christian culture – singing Christian songs, reading the Bible, pondering over God’s instructions.
- Some children exhibited a change in their behaviour.
- The health of the children improved by their stay at the Centre.
- Medical examination revealed illness in some children which parents were ignorant of.
- Dental treatment also helped the children to feel better.
Let me now share some testimonies from the children:-
- Julia – ‘I learned more about God here. I liked the Bible stories, sport games, Water Park, trampoline and tasty food. I met a lot of friends in this camp.’
- Victoria –‘I liked the Bible stories, prayers, scenes, Water Park, dining room. I decided that I will go to church after camp.’
- Irina –‘I liked virtually all – the lessons, games, food and our teachers. I learned a lot about God and I will praise Him.’
- Xenia – ‘I remember a lot of interesting games and every lesson of morality left a deep impression in my soul. I understood that it is possible to spend time with the Bible perfectly.’
- Artur – ‘I liked sport games which were fascinating. I liked all words about God. I changed a lot in many ways.’
- Julia – ‘I remember the Air Crash game, and the Bible stories. I realised all my sins and decided to return to God.’
We thank God for all the children who attended the camps. We pray that being at camp made a difference to their lives spiritually, physically and mentally. May the Lord watch over them and keep them.
We have plans for the future work with children and teenagers following on from camp through seminars, meetings and correspondence. Some of the teenagers who came consider themselves as members of church. That is a great joy for us. Also we plan to conduct programmes for celebrating religious holidays, Christmas, New Year, and to hold celebrations at the “Zhemchuzhinka” site. Children come to our site to find information and news, to find each other, or to download pictures of camp. We plan to create a fund of resources of songs and games used in the Centre. Songs are much in demand because the children want to sing songs with their parents and friends. May the Lord direct as we continue to care for the children He brings to us.
Vladimir Vandich, director
Adapted by Margaret Brown
The EBWU Committee is very grateful to all who have given in finance, in time, in practical ways, and in prayer to enable such camps to be conducted. All help is appreciated. We are also grateful to those like Vladimir who organise and run the camps.
Please continue to support the children who attended by praying for them.
- Pray that they will have a better quality of life physically and that the Holy Spirit would cause them to remember the things they were taught and apply them to their lives.
- Pray that the Lord will protect them and give them hope for the future in Jesus.
- Pray for them to accept the Saviour and become His disciples. Thank-you.