It is the last day of our first week of camp! We are sad to see the children go, but we look back at this week with the happiest of memories.
The children’s love, joy, excitement and, most of all, thankfulness is palpable. They are so excited for every activity, and every field trip is a special treat! They have had the opportunity to visit a greenhouse and learn about plants, a fire station and sit in a fire truck, and get to ride go karts and jump on a trampoline every day- all activities and places they have never been exposed to previously.
Their meals, that have been catered, have been delicious and nurturing. The camp staff happily serves with a smile and makes sure each child is satisfied. For many, these are the only balanced meals they receive.
Though only a few of the children speak English, all the children have found their own way to communicate with “the Americans” and express their love for us and each other. Some follow us around and want to ride on our backs or hold our hands, others give us hugs every chance they get, and a couple of them have drawn pictures and gifted them to us. Some of the younger children find it hilarious when we try to speak Latvian and giggle at our mistakes. The Latvian language is known to be one of the most difficult to learn and I’m sure we sound silly to them. Yet some of the older children sit and patiently sound out words for us to learn. One boy, Adrians, brought candy for the whole camp one day. He gave each child and teacher a piece of candy. When he was done passing out the candy, he didn’t have one left for himself. He appeared to be okay with this, but one of the teachers, Aleksandra, took this opportunity for the others to share with him. She told the children the situation and asked who would be willing to share with him. It was amazing to watch almost every child break off a piece of their own candy and give it to Adrians. These are the types of lessons the camp staff teaches on an every day basis.
We wanted to end the week by teaching them the story of David and Goliath. We explained that although David was young and not yet a warrior, he was able to defeat Goliath. He used “the sword” and said, “…I come to you in the name of the Lord Almighty.” With those words God helped him slay the Giant. They listened intently and wide-eyed as we told them that no matter how big their “giants” are, they could also use “the sword” to defeat their enemy. As many of them face daily challenges in their homes and health, this seemed like an invaluable lesson to teach.
We pray we have made a lasting impact in their lives and they will remember this week for many years to come. Most of all, we pray we have successfully planted the seed of God’s love in their hearts.