I just wanted to drop a few lines about how the day camps are going this summer. Last summer we had a team of 5 Americans come and spend the summer with us, leading day camps together with our Moldovan leaders. We organized 4 day camps over a 4 week period. This summer, we planned to have 3 Americans come and spend the month of June with us, leading day camps in 3 villages and in the capital city, Chisinau. So far, we have completed 2 day camps in 2 villages and we are currently in the city (tomorrow is the last day). We have had an absolute blast. In all, there are about 12 to 15 of us who have been leading these day camps. The team stayed on site in the villages. The first week they slept in a gym and the second week in a school (in classrooms). For the 3 American guys, using the outhouse was a bit of a shock, as well as having to take a spit bath for a week. They survived and had a great time while doing it.
The first camp was in the village of Horesti, where our church is trying to plant a church. We have a missionary who has been working in this village for almost 3 years, teaching weekly TKD/Bible study classes. The children were waiting on us upon arrival. They remembered us from last year. The first day we were a little discouraged because we only had 30 something kids. That was the only disappointment. We started studying the Precept course for kids, “Wrong way Jonah”. The kids were journalists, trying to find out what happened to Jonah and why. They loved the study and quickly went and recruited their friends. By the second day, there were already 50 kids. Our program started at 10:00 A.M. but around 9-9:30, the kids started gathering because they did not have any more patience to wait until 10. At lunch we would give them a 2 hour break to go home, eat, and rest a bit. Usually around 2:30, they would gather outside the gym where we were resting. They would have their Bible study books in hand ready to start the study to find out what was going to happen to Jonah. For homework, they would have to draw a picture of what they learned in class and then retell the story to their parents. Their parents would have to sign the picture letting us know that they listened to the retelling of what happened to Jonah. The last day was a day of joy and tears. All the kids who completed the study and were with us all week received an official diploma stating that they were inductive Bible study journalists. The kids begged us to stay another week.
The second week was spent in a village a mile away from the first one. We have never done anything in this village before so we were praying that this would lead to a new mission point for our church, to start planting yet another church. When we arrived on Monday morning, there were already over 50 kids waiting for us. The children of the first village did some advertising for us. When I arrived in the village with the boys, I could not find the school so I had to ask some people. The first man I stopped said, “are you the people doing the day camp? The one we have heard so much about?” I was shocked. The principal of the school was so friendly and when she saw how well we worked with the kids, she said, “come back with all of your programs, we want what you teach.” She also said, “some people told me not to accept you because you are probably Jehovah’s Witnesses, but I told them, no way, they are like us, they have the real Bible and they teach good things to the children.” In the fall we hope to start English/Bible classes as well as Computer/Bible classes. On the last day, 2 girls wrote a poem about us and they said, “we are awaiting your return like the plants await the spring rains and the summer sunshine.”
This week was a bit more difficult. We had an agreement with the principal about coming but somehow, the word did not get to the teachers so when we arrived, they were looking at us with very suspicious eyes. We were very nice to them and right away we befriended the kids. We started our program and the kids just loved it. I was talking with one of the teachers today (she has 2 girls who have been with us from the beginning) and she said, “why did you not start this camp 2 weeks ago and continue until now? The kids love it and they want more. One week is just too short.” Next year we plan to do a 2 week day camp with the kids. The same teacher asked, “do you have anymore camps this summer? I want to send my girls with you. If they are with you, they will be just fine.”
Please pray for the American missionaries, as well as the Moldovan ones. We are an awesome team and God is using us in a mighty way. We need strength, endurance, and protection. There have not been any serious injuries yet (although I may have broken my toe playing tag with the kids). Thanks for your prayers.