A brief update on this past week. Five ministry teams from Sumy Grace Church ran vbs style street camps in the neighbourhoods surrounding the church. 150+ children attended these evening events. Praise the Lord!
These camps have been held in June for the past few years. Last year, there was a lot of opposition to them from certain groups which caused this year to be a question mark. But when the question came up, members of the church came forward, teams were made, ministry plans prepared and people prayed. The paperwork was completed, permissions received and the camps began this past Monday.
I (John) drove the van for 3 of the teams – basically the rolling storage unit, bringing the tents, their activity bags, water, sports equipment etc to each site. By day 3 I felt like one of those ice cream trucks that would roll through city neighbourhoods in the past with the bell ringing. I would pull into view of the playground, and children would come running towards me, calling out and calling their friends. Sasha, who drove for the other teams said the same thing happened to him.
Last night we had a wrap up with the teams, and it was so encouraging to hear the testimonies of those who had served. A few people mentioned how the kids were singing the songs that they had learned from the year before. Each camp had fluctuating numbers, but between 30-50+ children attended every site each night. Every night there were parents who stood nearby, watching, listening, hearing the bible lessons, the songs, the memory verses etc. Many times parents would get involved with the crafts, helping their children during the craft time. We have held camps at these sites for consecutive years, and the children and parents there are very supportive of the event.
Praise the Lord! The weather was great. A few days we had rain – but either early in the afternoon or late in the evening, but during the ministry time the weather was fine.
When the ministry teams were given the choice regarding next week, all enthusiastically said YES. So, five more camps at five more locations in the neighbourhoods will be happening this coming week. There are 110,000 people living within a 20 minute walking radius of the church, and SGC is the only evangelical church in this area. It is a great opportunity and responsibility, which the members feel very strongly about.
Please pray for the following:
– good weather
– good reception to the ministries in the neighbourhoods
– energy and wisdom for the ministry teams
– that God would use the teams to build bridges into the community for the church and its ministries
– opportunities to share the Gospel with individuals
Below are a few photos from the week. Please also pray for the summer ministries that are going to be happening at the end of the month and during July. There will be an English language camp, a kids camp, a teen camp and a camp for disabled children and their careworkers. Please pray for the preparation, the leaders, and everyone who will be attending. The camps are subsidized through donations from within Ukraine and the West, so that it is possible for children from families of lower income (or almost no income – like the families with disabled kids, and children who are basically orphans, either from the orphanage or living with a grandparent etc) to attend. If you would like to participate in these ministries financially, please go to http://www.send.org/info/sumy-grace-camp/ to donate online or download this form and mail a donation to the SEND Int’l office. More information on the summer camps and the projects is at http://www.thepaetkaus.net/2013-summer-camp-partnership-opportunity/
Have a great day,