# 134 2013 Summer Ministries Overview

It has been a great summer!

Summer ministries take place in a variety of places and times and formats over the summer in the Sumy Oblast (province/state).  The challenge they all face is how to communicate God’s Word and God’s truth through the entire program.   From the chapel time to playing soccer, every event is an opportunity to share about Christ through word or deed.

First the overview & then a few highlights.  Photos are posted here on our site

English Camp

This was the second year for the English language camp.  This camp is a tremendous opp134 2013 summer ministries n+n_7ortunity to minister to youth and make connections with their families.   Youth study language at school, practicing grammar etc but lack the opportunity to practice speaking.  Thus, to spend a week with a number of people for whom English is their first language is a tremendous opportunity which parents and students are eager to take.

A five member ministry team from the US (Maine) came to join the ministry for that week in June.  Three members came to serve as part of the daily program, and two members came to serve by working on two important building & renovation projects.

We were also joined by missionaries from our team in Kiev, and Rachel Guenther, who is one of SEND’s MK grads that had been in Canada and had come back to Ukraine for the summer.  Rachel served with us throughout all four camps this summer.  Along with the foreigners, we had a number of Ukrainians rounding out the team.

It was a challenging week in good ways.  One challenge was communicating primarily in English when the language abilities are varied. Another challenge was bringing together people from three different nationalities (Canadian, American, Ukrainian), getting everyone acquainted and equipped to run the program in a very short period of time.  Praise the Lord for His equipping and enabling of all who were involved.

Kids Camp134 2013 summer ministries n+n_3

Camp # 2 for our family was the 10-day kids camp.  With this camp Leanne and I stepped back into more of a support role, helping our UA leadership in program and ministry. 65 kids attended this camp.  Many were from non-churched homes, and many were repeat campers.  This is important, as ministry here grows through time and relationships.  Each opportunity that God gives to build into their lives is important.

Teen Camp

Camp # 3: from the frying pan into the fire…. 10 days of teens ages 12-17.134 2013 summer ministries n+n_6

Teens are always an interesting bunch.  Facing the significant challenge of growing up in this day and age they come to camp, carrying along all of their hopes, fears, joys & pain.

They came from different backgrounds. There were teens who came from very difficult situations (orphanage or foster care) with whom each day was a challenge – it took them awhile to believe that we wanted their best.  There were teens who came from homes which were stable in one sense (at least one parent) but still in turmoil, carrying pain and seeking acceptance and encouragement.  There were also those who were just “good kids”, no major issues, just normal teens with the normal hang-ups that teens have.

But they all came with the question – who am I?  Does God really care about me, about my world and the future that I see before me?  Ten days together at camp gives the camp counselors and others a great opportunity to build into their lives.

We are thankful for the men and women that God brought to serve at these camps.  God worked through them, impacting the lives of children and teens for eternity.

Camp for the Disabled

Camp # 4 was a week of camp for the disabled and their caregivers.  This is the third year for this camp which is run by the ministry team from Sumy Grace Church. 70+ individuals – the disabled and their caregivers also attended this camp.  This week is a highlight of the year for many of them, as they spend most of the year inside and lacking fellowship.  SGC has a ministry to these individuals during the year, including a monthly gathering at the church.  Ukrainian society is not very tolerant of those who are disabled, and there isn’t an infrastructure that facilitates them such as there is in the west.

Leanne and Lanae served at this camp (John, Alicia & Daniel spent 4 days in Kiev unpacking etc at our new apartment).  Both shared stories of opportunities to build relationships and to share the message of the Gospel and the love of Christ.

Each summer God works in lives through the summer ministries at Sumy Grace Camp and around Sumy Oblast (province/state).  We as a missionary team are involved in camps – resident camps at Grace Camp; VBS style camps on the streets of cities, towns and villages; tent camps set up in the forest or near the city.  It is a privilege for us to serve alongside the believers here, at times leading, at times serving under, at times equipping, and at times facilitating.  But at all times helping them do what God has called the church to do – share the Gospel and make disciples.

A few highlights:134 2013 summer ministries n+n_2

All four camps were without any major mishap or injury!  Praise the Lord.

Watching kids do amazing things (like go flying up the climbing wall to try and beat the record of 11 seconds)

Seeing Cliff & Tom (Maine team) work with Yaroslav & Andre putting the roof over the wash station and the front awning on the dining hall.  What a blessing that was to have those cove2013 07 Johnson familyrs up for the remainder of the camps.

Seeing people from different cultures and backgrounds come together to serve the common purpose of helping young people grow closer to Christ.

I drove the Maine team into Kiev at the completion of their ministry week, and brought Blake & Colleen Johnson, their kids and Iris Martens (Colleen’s mom) out to Sumy for a brief visit.  Blake & Colleen had just arrived in country and Blake is now teaching in Kiev at Kiev Christian Academy.

The creativity of the UA ministry team and the campers.  The theme this year was Jonah, and they had a great opening program skit (Jonah in modern day).134 2013 summer ministries n+n_4  Each day a cabin group had to take part in the evening chapel and present something.  It is amazing what they came up with.

Here is a short clip from the Teen camp opening skit with Lanae acting as a cashier at the airport…

The wrap up shashleek (bbq) after teen camp.  After the meal was done, during the dessert & tea time Pastor Misha had everyone who had served at the kids or teen camp share a highlight, something that God had taught them etc.  It was such a blessing to listen to the stories of God working through these leaders and in these leaders.  We sat there, just thankful.  So many of those who served & led were kids when we came.  We have watched them grow up, mature and take on these ministry opportunities.  God has blessed us with the opportunity to have been a small part of this process.2013 07 Grace Camp wrap up shashleek

We juggled the reality of our moving and needing to get settled in Kiev with the reality of ministry.  God in His grace gave us strength and ability to get it all done.  During kids camp, Leanne spent a few days in Sumy cleaning up our old apartment.  During teen camp, she and Daniel spent 5 days in Kiev unpacking and getting stuff done.  During the disabled camp, Alicia, Daniel & I spent 4 days in Kiev doing more of the same.  Thus, when we pulled in after all the summer ministries were over, we were able to basically begin living life, as we had only a week until it was time to leave for southern Ukraine to the SEND Ukraine conference.134 2013 summer ministries n+n_5

Summer ministries take place in a variety of places and times and formats over the summer in the Sumy Oblast (province/state).  The challenge they all face is how to communicate God’s Word and God’s truth through the entire program.   From the chapel time to playing soccer, every event is an opportunity to share about Christ through word or deed.


See a lot more photos in the 2013 Summer Ministries photo album


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