‘GOD LOVES YOU’
The NCEASL’s national kid’s camp took place from the 2nd to the 4th of December 2019. It saw the participation of over 100 children supported by the Evangel Care Scholarship Scheme and those who have faced persecution in their hometowns. Ranging from ages 8 to 18, the camp hosted pastor’s kids coming from over ten districts across the island. While hailing from different parts of the country, the participants share an experience that, in most cases, is easily ignored. Persecution has an immense impact on the life of a child. Most children remain silent victims of marginalization. Being bullied for their faith, enduring abject poverty, possible neglect, and having to assume the responsibilities of an adult, have entrenched their childhood in a world of struggle and conflict. The theme for kid’s camp for the year 2019 was ‘God loves you’. By spending time in God’s word, building a culture of inclusion, and fostering long-term friendships, we hoped to leave them with a renewed understanding of God’s love, plan, and purpose for their lives.
These three days featured a series of interactive sessions for all age groups ranging from primary education, intermediary group, to a young- adult group for senior campers. Centered on the overall theme of God’s love, sessions were structured to cater to the needs of each relevant age group. The use of various media from puppet shows, and illustrations, to group activities and games, helped us bring God’s word to life. Campers were also taught the importance of God’s word and were encouraged to memorize bible verses and take them to heart.
While younger participants expressed themselves creatively, senior campers openly discussed the issues they faced as pastor’s children. Years of suffering and repressed anger lead to animosity between children and their parents. The speaker shared his personal experience and encouraged the kids to share their stories with someone else. The chance to talk about their struggles freely, without judgment or expectation proved to be a healing experience for many lives.
As the days progressed, the sessions focused on the importance of building meaningful friendships and support systems, while pursuing God’s plan and purpose for their lives. It was evident that many campers were touched as they came up to testify on how God had completely transformed their lives.
This is what they had to say about their experience:
“Hearing the senior group volunteer share his testimony, I was inspired. I used to have a fear, and I felt stuck. What the volunteer shared about how I can move forward in life really helped. ”
“ Every time I come to camp, I end up learning something. I have been coming since I was very small. I never leave without learning. This time also I learned so much through the sessions and the games as well. Through the games time, I learned what it’s like to live like Christ. We have leadership skills within us, and through the games that we played these skills were brought out. This camp molded the leadership skills in me.”
Apart from these sessions, the camp was filled with memories to last a lifetime. Through the games and outdoor activities, campers were able to make connections across age groups and ethnicities. Each activity was a chance to form new friendships and strengthen old ones. The highly anticipated talent show featured many participants showing off their skills.
As the camp came to a close, the goodbyes proved to be more difficult than expected. Many children shared their experience of how the annual camp had come to shape their lives over the years. As we say goodbye to yet another year, we are confident in the work God has done and are excited to see what else He has in store for these kids.