New Summer Camps Begin with an Old Truth
Kyiv, Ukraine – Hundreds of children will attend Mercy Projects camps in Ukraine this summer. Yana Glushko, our camp director, remembers how her own life was transformed as an 18-year-old girl at her first summer camp.
“It was a Youth With A Mission camp and I was so touched by the example of the camp director, Yana said. She influenced me so much that I wanted to be like her. It was through her attitude towards me and her reactions to my behavior that I found God’s love.”
Years later Yana joined Mercy Projects as a young mother and co-director of our camps. We caught up with her and other counselors recently to talk about their motivation for working at our camps.
Leading By Example
“When I was young the youth leaders in our church had a big impact on my life,” explains Eugene, a camp counselor with MP.
“They were always ready to support us, encourage us and invest in our lives. I wanted to be like them. My story is kind of similar to Yana’s story,” he said.
“I came to Mercy Projects as a camp counselor eight years ago. I knew many people who served here. I realized that whatever I do or say at the camp, it really impacts the kids’ lives.
“Jesus said learn from me how to love people. When I work here, I also learn from other counselors. We encourage each other, and we encourage the kids to know Jesus.
“It’s been great to see the children from the first camps grow spiritually and now come back and serve as counselors. There were two twin brothers who came to our camps. They grew so much that now we serve together at our church. It is such a joy to see the fruit in their lives.”
Making Disciples: “I am like a father or big brother”
Yana shared that Eugene is known for his great sense of humor. “We want to show the kids that they can experience joy and laughter in their lives. We want our camps to be fun and show how good God is. Their home situation is usually not very happy,” she said.
“My father didn’t participate in my life, Eugene stated. When my son was born, I dedicated myself to him. I didn’t have a good father role model so I knew I wanted to do that for my son. I also realized how important it is for the young boys in the camp. I am like a father or big brother for them. It’s very important for these boys to see strong Christian men who follow Jesus.”
Counselors are Friends and Mentors
When Margarita Satenko was just 5-years-old she absolutely loved hanging out with older kids at camp. Her greatest inspiration was seeing her mother, serving as a camp counselor, impacting so many young lives.
“I grew up going to camp and was impressed by the love the counselors showed to all the kids. They were our mentors, and I could see the kids grow and change. Many years ago our camp director was a woman named Sasha.
She really had an impact on me. She always had advice for me, she was really kind and I saw Christ in her. She taught me that it is important to go with God because nothing else can bring you happiness and life. I learned that God loves me no matter what. She was making a disciple of me and it worked! We have a lot of battles in this world and our kids need good examples. These camps and the Bible give us the weapons for our battles,” Margarita said.
The Truth of the Gospel Remains the Same
Hundreds of kids will attend camp this summer. Please pray that many will respond to the call of Christ. The cost for one camper is $180 for ten days which includes transportation, all meals, crafts, bible studies, and new friends. Please help these young people stand strong for Jesus. Thank you!
Pray For Ukraine’s New President
Ukraine suffers from corruption, an ongoing war with Russia, high unemployment, and people leaving the country to find work. Their new president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, is a former comedian and new to politics. Zelenskiy won 73% of the popular vote and has called to dissolve the parliament and hold early elections. Please pray for political stability in the country this summer.