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Ukraine: changing lives at the camps

Christian Bible camps in Ukraine are making a real difference to families and children endangered by the ongoing conflict in the region …

Christian Bible camps in Ukraine are making a real difference to families and children endangered by the ongoing conflict in the region …

“This war worries not only the people of the Ukraine but, I believe, the whole world,” observes Roman Bevz of the Chernigov Region. “It was even announced on the news that we should be ready to evacuate. Many families have lost their fathers, husbands or sons. People live in fear of the unknown … The war affects the whole country as prices have doubled.”

Yet Mr Bevz was thanking Richard Norton, UK Director of Siloam Christian Ministries, for supporting Bible Camps in the Ukraine. Gifts from generous donors enable these camps to touch the lives of children and their families with both spiritual and practical comfort.

One 12-year-old girl came as a refugee from the East of the Ukraine. It was her first time at a Christian camp. She said: “What you do is very important, because through these camps children learn how to open their hearts to Jesus. Please don’t stop running camps, because this world needs what you’re doing.” 

Then there is Taya, a former camper, who served on the staff for a couple of years. Last year she went to work in Russia.

Camp Director Bevz explains, “Taya sent a message to me that she wants to sponsor a child at camp. Her reason is because when she came to the camp, she felt the love and acceptance, she saw how we treated one another. It definitely differed from the way of this world. Now Taya wants to help another child to feel the same experience that she had.”

Camps extend help to all ages. Some experience disabilities, others dysfunctional families with alcoholism and drug abuse. Then there are the increasing number of refugees. Distribution of clothes and bedding continues as well as sharing the good news of the Christian faith. Follow-up carries on throughout the year but the camps remain a focal point.

“God’s people have seen camps as a respite during times of crisis before,” notes Richard Norton. “In biblical times, camps ultimately offered a way forward and we believe the same holds true today. Several generations of Eastern European people are experiencing this as our dedicated Ukrainian co-workers minister to their varied needs.”

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