Friday, June 20, 2014

The Black Sea Camp

The biggest part of our schedule every year is the weeklong children's camp at the Black Sea. After beginning our adventure in Sofia, Bulgaria's capital, we drive eastward, clear across the country, to the small seaside town of Chernomoretz on the coast of the Black Sea. There, we are assist a team from the Blaga Vest church in Sofia as they put on a camp for children from across Bulgaria and Macedonia.

This year, we are expecting a little more than 50 children from ages 4 or 5 up to 18. The theme of the camp will be C.S. Lewis' famous book for children, "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe." Each day of the camp will address a different topic from the book, including:

  1. Living in Two Worlds
  2. Being a Faithful Friend
  3. Temptation and Betrayal
  4. Sacrifice and Redemption
  5. Repentance and Forgiveness
  6. Choices and Consequences
The topics will be addressed through daily lessons and activities, and also through the message given during the evening services each night. We will be decorating the camp in a Narnian theme with a wardrobe entrance and a lamppost, and the kids will be split into four teams for the week, each identified by a character from the book.

In addition, we spend several hours each day with the children enjoying some time at the beach. Our team forms a protective barrier between the younger kids and the deep water, while enjoying play time with them as well. We also venture into town regularly for an afternoon snack or just a nice walk with friends. Here is the schedule for a typical day at camp:

6:00 am   Wake up
6:30 am   Meet with camp leaders (morning devotions, discuss day ahead)
7:30 am   Wake up the kids
8:00 am   Breakfast
8:30 am   Group prayer with kids
8:45 am   Prepare for beach
9:00 am   Beach time (3 1/2 hours)
1:00 pm   Lunch
2:00 pm   Naptime (for the kids... we use this time to visit town or prepare for ministry)
3:00 pm   Daily lessons (some of our younger people will teach some of these)
5:30 pm   Daily activities (we will help with arts & crafts)
7:00 pm   Dinner
7:45 pm   Evening service (worship, prayer, & message from God's word)
8:30 pm   Evening activity (something different each night... movie, games, party)
10:30 pm Bed time for the kids

After the kids go to bed, the team has some time alone to Skype home to family and friends. We also take this time to hide small toys all over the camp for kids to find when they wake up in the morning. The week is a long one, with the team turning in late each night, long after the kids have gone to bed, and rising early in the morning to meet and pray together with the camp leadership. The work is hard but joyful and the kids are a genuine blessing to serve.

The camp this year runs from Saturday, July 5 to Saturday, July 12. Pray for the kids at camp to genuinely hear from the Lord during this week. Also, pray for our team and the leaders from the Blaga Vest church to be able to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit and out of a genuine love for His children. And, of course, check back here often for pictures and videos from the week as we share what God is doing at the Black Sea!

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