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Tim Endean and Joe Kopp traveled to help establish a new camp in Rwanda. They first met up with Benjamin and Kenneth for some food and fellowship before staff training began. It was easy to marvel at the connections God had allowed with people on the other side of the world. Because of those connections, the camp in Rwanda was able to begin in 2022!

When staff training began, Joe and Tim were joined by a translator. Thankfully, the staff said they understood the material well and would not need a translator. Since staff training could be done in English, the group was able to cover much more material in the amount of time that was allotted. It allowed for more discussion, illustration, and case study examples to make sure the counselors were well prepared for their week of camp.

It became clear, early on, that these teens had some serious struggles. Many came from difficult home situations that they left in order to find money and food. Many had stories of selling their bodies to buy food or stealing to survive. The staff was left with the desire to show mercy, a willingness to help, and, most importantly, the hope of the gospel. Thankfully, this group already has a long term support network with RCRI to point these hurting people towards. It is already obvious how the camp will benefit from working along side these ministries.

First time camps face many challenges related to facilities, meals, staffing, campers, and much more. This camp started off going quite well. There was an amazing group of counselors, but there were not quite enough of them! The camp was expecting 80-100 campers, but over 130 campers showed up! It was a bit chaotic, but this great group of counselors did well.

The counselors indicated that they knew many of their campers were unsaved. Many prayed for the counselors to establish relationships with their campers and share the Good News with them.

The last night of camp was electric! Campers were chanting “We are sad! We are sad!” repeatedly. When asked why they were sad, they said it was because they didn’t want camp to end. They wanted to stay longer! The campers enjoyed every last minute of camp. The enthusiastic participation in games and chanting showed their enjoyment of all the camp activities.

After camp ended, Joe and Tim drove 5 hours (complete with a broken-down car on the side of a mountain in the pouring rain) from Kigali to the mountain villiage of Shaba. Nyabihu Christian Academy, down a very bumpy road and through an impoverished village, was having their end of the year program. Both Tim and Joe were asked to share a few words with them.

Listening to 300+ children sing traditional African songs, spiritual songs, and quote Scripture was a moving experience. At the end of the program, each child was given a mattress and a warm blanket as a Christmas present. This was the first mattress that many of them have ever had. It was a joy to experience their excitement.

Services filled with heartfelt singing, new and exciting games, and extremely hospitable people made this a fantastic trip to Rwanda! CampsAbroad hopes to see more camps grow in these communities with the goal of loving these kids to the Lord.

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