Summer camps


"White Wings" camp - 2007

Every summer the ministry of "Agape" starts off with camps and visits to different schools, along with youth groups and volunteers. "Agape" has been taking an active part in the summer camp called "White Wings" for orphaned children, at the coast of Black Sea.

Tatiana Khristenko is responsible for the participation of the "Emmanuel" Association, which deals with orphaned children.

- What was your program about?

- The camp was 2 weeks long. The program was very interesting. It included not only sports events and games, but we also held, "the lessons of independence for youth" or the so-called school of life, which is needed for the orphaned children. We try to teach the children those life skills that are needed outside of orphanage. A typical problem for orphaned children, who are brought up in a boarding school, is that they grow in a place where they were never independent. First, they have low self-esteem, and that causes them to be anti-social in public. We are trying to hold classes, saying that they are all special as an individual, each and one of them, especially because we are created in the image and likeness of God.

We also teach them how to meet people, how to maintain friendly relations, how to deal with difficult situations. We also talk about a topic that is very relevant for all high school students, relationships between a guy and a girl, because it is in fact a very big problem. We also talk about finances, how to get a job. These topics are hardly discussed in their everyday subjects and the children know very little about them. Usually, children learn these kinds of things in a family, but these children have no one to teach them. I think these kinds of programs are a great help for them.

- How do children react to the spiritual lessons? How do prayers and Christian relationships influence them?

- It has been easy working with the children at the “White Wings” camp because you can tell that someone has been working with them. And we know that the ministry of "Agape" is continuing to work with the children. Children know a lot; they know the Bible stories and principles of Christian life, answer questions, and communicate. They are very open and pleasant. And we know and understand that with these children we can easily speak directly about God, because they’ve heard about Him before. So we don’t need to try to work around them, as something that we usually have to do, to reach their hearts. Here, the children perceive the gospel positively, as an absolutely normal thing. The gospel does not scare them or make them feel uncomfortable. And in this I see a great work of “Agape” teachers, which spend a lot of time with the children preparing their hearts for receiveng the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The greatest need of these children is to be loved and have a family. When we had a day where everyone told us what their dreams were, and regardless of their age, older or younger, all children said that they dream of being and feeling loved. And when we asked what kind of love they wanted, the children replied: "God’s Love". And although they say it with an irony, these words hide a deep need for love and acceptance that only God gives and which is called the love of “Agape".

Feedback from orphan:

I am very pleased that our friends from "Agape" come visit us every year. Thanks to God that He sends these people to us. Thanks to them that they are praying for us, come visit us, and help us walk the right path of life. I liked everything in the camp. Every year it gets better and better. I became friends with a lot of new people, and I hope that we will meet again. Our friends, our leaders - we are very accustomed to them and became very good friends with them. We would come to them and they would tell us all kinds of interesting things. They fell in love with us and we fell in love with them. They proved to us that God is real, and He helps everyone and cares about those who believe in Him. And I am very grateful. It’s very easy and interesting to communicate with them. Thanks to the lessons that have been taught here, I believe that I will live forever and not be afraid of anything. I can trust in God in everything and that God will replace my father and mother for me, as unfortunately I don’t have them. Since I was a child, I lived with people I knew, and now, I’ve been living in a boarding school for 2 years. As a child I had lost my parents. My father died and mother was alcoholic. But I know that I will be with God, and everything will be fine.

Lena, 15 years old, Kherson boarding school