Written by: Meribeth P.
Sharing the Gospel to children is a communal effort. Especially in summer camp. It is not just one individual going through the Bible stories, or one person leading a sinner’s prayer. It is every dish washer, table cleaner, game creator, and nose wiper who creates an environment where the Gospel is not just told but lived out.
The community we are creating during these day camps in Latvia is thoughtfully developed with both nurturing and caring attitudes. Every morning we look at each other and say, “Okay another day – we got this!” Every evening when the last child has left, the group gets together and talks through highs and lows, giving encouragement and perspective to situations that have happened. Handling twenty-five children who don’t get enough attention at home and are dealing with alcoholic parents is not an easy job to step into.
Zonda, our fearless leader takes care of everything from plate runs to paperwork; and she is constantly working with social workers and parents to make this camp possible. Her husband, Gertz, is our chauffeur, trampoline builder, and all around handyman. Alexandra becomes a crazy professor from Australia to amaze the campers with physics. Christine always has a kind word and smile no matter the situation. Ilze constantly amazes us with her voice and the way children flock to her instantly. Liga is fun and the hardest worker you could meet, always asking the others if they would like some tea and coffee. Ron Gunter, our fearless One More Child VP, takes care of the children so well, despite the fact that one child thinks he’s 1,000 years old! He especially takes care of the teachers always making sure the kitchen is packed with chocolate and good drinks, which is very appreciated. Jeanette, my fellow intern, breaks down the Bible and complicated thoughts in the simplest terms while still conveying the gravity of the situation to the campers. With a group like this it is easy to see how the camp runs smoothly for eight hours each day.
Today as the campers colored the Armor of God my prayer and hope was that this wouldn’t just be a craft but a preparation for each of their futures. I cannot follow them throughout the rest of their lives. There is no way for me to shelter each of them from the world and all the things it will throw at them. I will not go with them but our prayer is that Jesus will. There is a weight that comes with the responsibility of sharing the Gospel to children. In one year, the majority will forget about the three Americans visiting, but God willing, they will remember His name and that if they believe in Him they are called as His children and warriors, daily putting on the Armor of God.
We are not here just to meet their lacking physical and mental needs, but most importantly their spiritual needs. There is a hole in their lives that nothing can fill except Jesus. In doing these camps, the hope is that we will turn the tide, so that instead of following in the steps of their parents and filling it with drinking, they will fill it with the only one who satisfies, Jesus.