Summer Update from Ukraine and Armenia
A background note from Jeff – We have always used the term “children-at-risk” to describe the children sponsored in our program. This definition, however, does not include the families of pastors or missionaries who need support to serve in their own or nearby countries. Many pastors in Ukraine do not receive full-time salaries and thus must work other jobs. We are thrilled to encourage the national believers through monthly sponsorship support and camp experiences for their kids.
To become a camp counselor a young person must first serve as a camp assistant for two years in addition to attending our Daniel School discipleship training. This newsletter highlights two of our new camp counselors, both of whom come from Christian families and are now serving the Lord with MP Ukraine.
Sponsored Kids Become Camp Counselors
Zhenya reports from camp in Ukraine: “Last year we had to cancel camps due to Covid-19 restrictions and all of our kids were so disappointed. Camp is something they look forward to the entire year. This year, however, we found out at the last minute that camps would be allowed. We were prepared, and with approval from the USA office, we stepped out in faith to have the camps. All of the kids were so excited and we want to thank you so much!”
“Another huge joy is to see former campers grow up into responsible young counselors. One of our goals is to not only teach them about God but to challenge them to serve God. Counselors play a pivotal role in the lives of their young campers. This summer we have new young people who dreamed of being a camp counselor one day. Their dreams came true.”
“My name is Nadya and I am 18 years old. I study French at university. My family was in the Mercy Projects program and I am the youngest of 5 kids. My family are believers and I have believed in Christ for as long as I can remember.
It was at the camp, however, where I began to think more deeply about God and my own faith in Him. Little by little, camp after camp, I learned more about God through the Bible time, the worship nights, and from my talks with the counselors. At the age of 14, I decided to get baptized. I was 6 when I came to the “Circle of Friends” camp for the first time. And for the following 9 years, I didn’t miss a single camp!”
There is a great atmosphere here of God’s presence, His love, freedom, and lots of creativity. Really, I dreamed to become a counselor here. I couldn’t wait for the School of Daniel to start. I signed in, went through the training and here I am, working with kids. It’s crazy!”
Another young first-timer is 19-year-old Bogdan. He is more reserved than cheerful Nadya, but he cares about little kids like a father. He knows what it means to be in charge of youngsters.
“My name is Bogdan and I am the oldest of 4 kids. I grew up in a Christian home and I was a teenager when our family was taken in the Mercy Projects program. My younger 10-year-old sister is now in the camp too. Since childhood, I have heard a lot about God and have always gone to church with my family. I got baptized at 17.”
“As a counselor in the camp, my job is always to be with children. We are here to teach them, to guide them, to care about their problems, and to love them with God’s love. Even though I try to be pretty strict with them, they still love me and hug me. I love them too and am learning a lot about patience.”
“I love the atmosphere here and the people, and always wanted to become a part of this team. I really believe that it is God’s will for me to be here.”
Camper Sponsorships $135 Each
The stories of Nadya and Bogdan illustrate the importance of the camp experience. They invest their lives to mentor at-risk kids we get to encourage and take part in what God is doing. As we complete our camps this month, we still have about 60 campers in need of sponsorship. Thank you for investing in these young lives.