Home / World Updates / Africa / Cameroon 2006
The Lord burdened the heart of Pastor James Tita to establish a camp to reach the young people of Cameroon. In 1996, with the help of Missionary Tom Needham, they began holding camps at a local high school facility. In 2000, they acquired a beautiful piece of mountain property, complete with waterfalls running through the valley. Building began, but in the meantime, camp continued to be held on rental facilities, hosting up to 200 young people at a time. After much intensive labor, in 2005, the first rough camp was held on the property. In 2006, the first full summer of ministry on the property began, operating four full camp weeks.
Tom and Barb Needham were saved in Cameroon while working with a farm co-op program. The Lord soon called them to return as missionaries. They have been laboring in Cameroon since 1989.
Pastor Ernest was saved in 2000 while working construction in the early days of the Camp Joy property. Soon after this, he began pastoring an area local church. He graduated from the Bible institute in 2006 and has served as camp director since 2005. He is assisted by a number of capable men in the operations and guidance of the camp.
In 2002, a CampsAbroad team visited Cameroon for several weeks. After three days of intensive training, we assisted in the teen camp week held at a local high school. Matt Collier promised to return when they were ready to hold camp on the new camp property. In 2006, another CampsAbroad team returned for a full week of staff training and to help with the first week of summer camp on the partially completed Camp Joy property. A group from Chad also attended the training and the first week of camp, returning home with Chris Lynch to hold their own camp in Chad.
Camp Reports / Testimonies
The staff was very appreciative of the three days of intense training that covered the basics of counseling and philosophy of camping. “This was life-changing” and “I can’t thank The Wilds enough for sending you all” were a few of the comments. They are excited about using it to help their church people grow and change. The Lord gave wisdom to adjust it to their culture and we saw a good comprehension of the material.
Out of the 140 campers, the pastors estimated around 50 were unsaved – either Catholic or Muslim. What a joy to see over half of these trust the Lord on Tuesday night! The next day in chapel, when asked to stand, these newly-saved teens jumped to their feet eagerly and without hesitation. The churches are already seeing the long-term results of the camps as young Christians saved at camp in years past are becoming the backbone of their congregations.
The training time was especially important as most of the staff are relatively new to the camp – only a couple had been there in 2002 during our first CampsAbroad trip. Many were young Christians, and the Lord gave many counseling opportunities throughout the week as well.
Monday of camp ended with 44 campers (add 8 counselors to the mix and it was about right for beds.) The campers continued coming in throughout the next day as well though, ending up with over 60. One man hiked three days to get to camp. Response was slow at the beginning of the week, but gradually, several began responding for salvation. In spite of crèche bites (nasty little bugs that burn) and cramped cabins, camp ended well and the campers were open to the Lord’s work in their hearts. The Lord continued to work during the girls’ week. Already, the property has been greatly used by God.