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 Camp History

While on a survey trip to China in 2007, Matt Collier met with Dr. Paul Choo of Singapore. Pastor Choo’s church is heavily involved in missions work throughout Asia. We briefly discussed the potential for camping in China and began pursuing some options there. But as our plans developed, we began to see the benefit of training camp workers in a country with fewer restrictions. We settled on the Philippines for a number of reasons: open access to all surrounding nations, plenty of quality manpower, less overhead, and a foundation of mature churches. Our goal shifted to establishing a prototype camp that could be run by Filipinos and replicated in other countries throughout Asia. Because of the open access, we could eventually use this camp to train workers from countries like Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even China.

CampsAbroad Involvement

In January 2009, a CampsAbroad team of Matt Collier, Matt Herbster, Steve Leatherwood, and Tim Meals headed to the city of Iloilo. Their goals were to hold training to generate interest in our brand of camping and to begin to lay down a foundation of a biblical philosophy of ministry with our partner churches. After the training, the team split up to run three outreach camps around the island over one weekend in order to give the workers some hands on experience.

One of the largest teams to be sent from CampsAbroad traveled in March 2010: Matt Collier, Matt Herbster, Andrew Stoner, Shane McMullin (videographer) and David Willis.

Camp Evangel

“Eighty campers were registered; about a 50 / 50 ratio of saved and unsaved—mostly from the surrounding areas. One group traveled 1½ hours by jeepney (a hybrid vehicle that looks like a combination between a jeep and a bus.) At 6:30, they all arrived in a rush—all 80—and then some. After the dust settled, we ended up with about 100 campers, most of them from very rural settings. It quickly became clear that a little went a long way with this group. We could have sat around throwing a ball back and forth for hours and they would have been very happy. They were shy at first but warmed up quickly.

Many of these kids had never heard the true gospel before—only Catholic tradition. By the time we came to the Saturday evening service, around half the camp had responded to Christ, including two older ladies who had come with the campers. Almost all of the unsaved campers who came to camp professed Christ.

One of the added blessings was the impact on the counselors. They had never participated in a camp that stressed such a high level of counselor involvement. One of our lady counselors said, “I realized it is not about dealing with a lot of people, but individuals. I want to minister to the ladies in my church individually as well—sharing my life with them.” Mission accomplished—God’s mission that is.”

Report from Matt Collier


“We had approximately 90 campers with us at this camp located right on the coast about 1 hour south of Iloilo. Most of these campers came from the rural areas and were very poor. Some of them understood English very well and others of them only understood a little English. Praise the Lord for almost 40 souls who trusted Christ during this short weekend camp.

The camp only had 35 chairs and the session hall was only supposed to hold 50. We crammed over 100 people into that little room. It actually was quite fun!

What a joy to walk out after the chapel service and see counselor after counselor talking one on one with a camper about salvation. Praise the Lord. God is good. This is what we (CampsAbroad team and Filipino team) had been working and praying about for four months! This weekend would be a small taste of what God can do all around the Philippines in years to come.

Pastor Balm of Doane Baptist Church told us that 50% of all Asia is under the age of 25. I pray that these outreach camps will be the start of an ongoing effort to reach the young people of the Philippines.”

Report from Matt Herbster

Camp Nikos

“The weekend started with some curves, but was such a blessing to be a part of. We had 34 campers attend (all boys from the basketball ministry). We had hoped to have around 80 campers, but with the weather being potentially rough many parents did not allow their children to cross the waters.

Several students from the SMC (Student Ministry) served as counselors. These men and ladies go on the college campuses through out the Philippines and begin Bible studies. Churches are eventually started from those Bible studies.

The counselors did a great job getting one on one with all their campers. Every camper from the basketball team made some type of decision and several trusted Christ as Savior. The SMC counselors did a great job of befriending and digging into the lives of the students they had as campers. The Lord’s working was clearly evident in every detail of the weekend. Many of the SMC men and ladies gained a vision for camping in the Philippines and learned how they can be involved in helping.

Thank you for your prayers. It was a fruitful weekend with souls saved and lives changed. The potential for camping in the Philippines is very big, and I was humbled to be a part of it.”

Report from Tim Meals

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