Many of our supporters and friends ask frequently about Children's Camps. Clearly it is an area of our work here in Africa which is of considerable interest and importance. For this reason, we have decided to write a Spotlight on Children's Camp.
Children travel from as far away as 150 kms, some on trucks or mini-buses but many on foot. One sees a group arriving almost dwarfed by the baggage they are carrying. This is their bedding, food and clothing for the five days they will spend with us at our open air campsite.
Accommodation is in grass shelters with an open fire in the centre.
The children seem to rotate automatically nearer the warmth of the fire. We were challenged one year by a visitor who thought that Health and Safety was not being properly respected. She later learned that these children grow up in thatched roof houses. They have a healthy respect for fires as the only source of heat and cooking. All live daily, respectfully and carefully with fire throughout their lives. The grass shelters are surprisingly cosy with between 30 and 40 children sleeping in each but, come first light, most get packed up and go looking for friends whilst others warm themselves by the fire in the cool morning air.
Games are always a challenge to organize!
The children had great fun on the Zip Wire slide from high on an ant hill!
Meetings are fun with lots of action, singing and stories. Following a teaching session, the children break into groups with their leaders and the stories are applied in a meaningful way. To have 1,350 children and yet have a measure of good behavior and discipline is a credit to their teachers and leaders (150 leaders and cooks). Some leaders go around with long sticks and if a squabble starts deep in the crowd during the meeting, they are prodded first with the stick and then it is raised up as if to clip them on the ear! It is great to see the children respond with big smiles and good behavior.
The children love the opportunity to participate and either recite memory verses or even lead singing. This young girl was an accomplished singer at 7 years old and had the entire camp singing with her. Rhythm is in their DNA.
Please pray with us that ALL of these children will have understood the messages deep in their hearts and that one day, in the Lord's perfect timing, they will look back and see His hand and intervention in their young lives.
Gordon & Sybil
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