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Chris Anastos and I arrived in the southernmost region of the Philippines this past Monday. Because of our flight schedule, we were not able to make it to the first evening of staff training, but that really wasn’t a problem because three members of our camp team from Visayas (the middle region) were here to kick things off. This is our first effort at establishing evangelistic camps in Mindanao, but it has been part of the broader vision for camping in the Philippines for several years. Our main goal for this trip is to expose the churches in Davao to the benefits of using camping to reach lost young people around them. Using camping for evangelism is a new concept to them and many churches have been receptive to the idea, but we know they need to see it in action to really grasp what it looks like. Training continues every evening this week, but our days have been spent preparing for the weekend camp that starts on Friday and runs through lunch on Sunday.

We are renting a very nice girl scout camp for the weekend (I had no idea that the girls scouts even had a presence in the Philippines – don’t ask me if they sell cookies), but we honestly have no idea how many campers are coming. The churches have been inviting young people throughout this week and we would love to see 100, but it could be 20 for all we know. So please pray that the Lord will bring out just the right number. We would especially love to see the church nearest the campsite bring a good group of young people. Chris and I will be sharing the speaking with our Filipino co-workers and would appreciate prayers for God’s Word to go out clearly.

Our other main goal for this trip is to make sure everything is ready for the second CampsAbroad team. They will be holding a joint training in Bukidnon – the central part of this island. Then they will be splitting up to hold two weekend e-camps in different locations. There are quite a few churches in that area and we are praying that they will also receive this concept as well. Early Monday morning we are heading north about 5 hours to Bukidnon to work on some details for the next two e-camps. The next team arrives here in less than a week.

Report by Matt Collier

This being my first visit to the Philippines, I was very encouraged by how camp went. My faith was strengthened to see God answer prayers and to work with the people here. We had more campers (130) than we were initially prepared for, but it was a great problem to have as they each were given God’s Word on a continual basis during the weekend. We also had lots of rain which ended up changing our plans to an extent, but the campers still had a great time. I’m thankful for God’s promise that His Word never returns void. It’s hard to know how much the kids are responding when there is at least a bit of a language barrier. We never visibly saw kids get up and respond by seeking out a counselor. However, at the end of the weekend we heard testimonies from the counselors of how they were able to lead multiple campers to Christ, and that was so encouraging to hear! God was at work, and many prayers were answered. Our prayer now is that the churches will be able to follow up with each of the kids who made a profession, and that these kids will continue in what they have learned.

Report by Chris Anastos

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