Ukraine (MNN) — A group of 14 people from a church in Indiana recently went with Mission Eurasia to host an English summer camp for kids in Ukraine. This was the first Christian outreach camp for kids held in the city they went to, and God used them in amazing ways.
Mission Eurasia’s Wally Kulakoff led the trip, and he says, “We organized and helped with English teaching, practical English. It wasn’t some curriculum, it was just practical speaking. We had sessions in the morning and sessions in the afternoon, and then in between we had games, we had teams of people leading them on different topics, and so-forth.”
Evangelism through English outreach
They were broken up into eight groups and had 138 children and teens aged 10 to 15-years-old at the camp. Around 90 percent of these young people were not Christians. But in addition to teaching English, the team was able to share the message of the Gospel using the five-colored evangelism bracelet — the ‘Wordless Book’.
The team also purchased a playground and four of the team members, including Kulakoff, built the playground in the city square in an area designated by the mayor.
“For the two churches we cooperated with, the playground was a platform for evangelism. In the morning, one church would send a mother with a child, in the afternoon another church would send a mother with a child. She would observe, she would engage the people, and then they would invite the people to a woman’s Bible study or to church.”
At the end of the week, children got the opportunity to commit their lives to Christ. Kulakoff reports, “Of the 138 children, 83 children [and] teens made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. They prayed and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To us, that was amazing.”
But that’s not all. “The parents were suspicious. They were wondering what was taking place. So they had the opportunity to just sit there and observe, just audit the whole process. The amazing this is that some of the adults made a decision to follow Jesus Christ! That’s how powerful children’s ministries are. Teens and adults make decisions to follow Jesus Christ.”
A unique church plant
Some of the teens who decided to become followers of Jesus were from the next town over. But the problem was they don’t have a home church to go to in their city. The churches working with the mission team looked at these teens and saw the need and potential for a new church plant.
“The church is designating a family or a couple to work with these teens in the next village who came to the summer camp. So now there is a platform for the establishment of a new church.”
Kulakoff says, “We (the mission team) were able to help this new church with some funds [so] that they can rent a location, they can rent a place where they can meet on a weekly basis and continue discipleship.”
As the Gospel spreads to nearby towns and villages through the faithful witness of these teens, please pray for them to stay grounded in their new faith and that more would come to know Christ through them!
Mission Eurasia encourages ongoing discipleship even after their mission teams leave at the end of summer camps. Currently, the Ukrainian town they were in doesn’t have a movie theater, and the church sees that vacancy as an ongoing witnessing opportunity to the local young people.
So the mission team and the two local churches came together to discuss the establishment of a youth center in the town. The team members contributed over $1,300 to buy a large screen television for the youth center to play Christian movies and allow children and teens to continue practicing their English.
Additionally, they gave each kid from the camp Bibles to bring home and deepen their faith or at least learn more. “The children received a pictorial New Testament, a New Testament in English and in Russian, and then also a choice [of a complete Bible] whether in Russian or in English.”
The work is not done – you can help!
Kulakoff says there is still time if your church would like to take a minimum of 10 individuals on a trip this summer with Mission Eurasia to host a camp like this!
“We’ve got 110 summer camps taking place all the way to the middle of August. So we’ve still got time to take a team to that part of the world. If they don’t want to teach English, they can do devotions, they can teach English songs, and then they can also have the opportunity to allow teens and children to make a decision to follow Jesus Christ.”
You can also donate and make it possible for another child to attend one of Mission Eurasia’s upcoming camps. “It takes as much as $25-30 for a child to attend a camp.”
They also need funds to support the Bibles these camps distribute. While this particular team was able to give out Bibles and New Testaments to every single child and teen, not every camp is able to because they don’t always have the money. A Bible is $5 and a New Testament is just $2.50.
Finally, Kulakoff lists these prayer points you can lift before the Lord the rest of the summer:
- Pray for God to open the hearts and minds of parents to send their kids to these camps.
- Pray for more churches to do follow-up with these kids and families.
- Pray for funds to be provided for more Bibles and New Testaments for the kids at camp.
- Pray for these camps to lay the foundation for more churches to be established.