The anticipated update is finally here. The internet at Campo Alegria wasn’t working so I’ll have to do a multi-day update tonight. I’m sure it will be lacking details as we are all running off very little sleep from an awesome time at camp.
I departed on Friday to join our camp team while our construction team finished some construction/roofing/painting projects in Los Cedros. Then on their final day they were able to go back to Casa Robles and dedicate the house and pray with the children and house parents. After their visit they had their ‘tour’ day and got to visit Volcan Messiah and the city of Grenada. We praise God for the work He did in and through our construction team and for also taking them safely back to the States.
About two and a half hours from Managua, forty children from Las Brasilles made the journey to Campo Alegria. Our construction team built a home in Las Brasilles in 2004 so we do have some connections to that community, but all of the kids were new to us and all were brand new to camp. They arrived for orientation and the relationships began to form as we divided them into their teams for the week. Little did we know what God had in store.
As the camp progressed I was able to learn more about these kids and the homes/situations they come from. Hearing so many stories of abuse, abandonment, missing fathers, lack of education and forced labor was heartbreaking. It was no surprise many of the children had trouble with the structure of camp and just listening in their center time. But God broke through in a powerful way as time went on.
I must brag on our students on this camp team for their preparation and leadership in the areas of arts/crafts, drama, Bible, music, sports and being team leaders. God has blessed them all with not only a heart for children, but has given them some spiritual gifts and talents that they used for His glory this week. Some of the camp highlights were swimming in Lake Nicaragua, the awesome water slide, hearing them learn and recite their Bible verses, watching them sing and praise God and of course our famous last morning polar bear swim.
It’s amazing how quickly we all bonded and formed relationships with the children. I just couldn’t help thinking what this time at camp meant to them. To be removed from some tough home situations and to come to such a beautiful place, be fed three meals a day (with seconds!), hear the Word of God, join in worship and make friends with a group of gringos from the States made for a super camp.
Even though 5am came really early everyday and we had some challenging moments – God did a great work at camp. And God gave us a glimpse into the seeds that were planted in these kids lives as we gave them their backpacks today (loaded with school supplies, t-shirt, toothbrush/paste and even a toy) and their faces actually showed hope, gratitude and emotion. In fact, it was an emotional day for all of us as we had to say our goodbyes.
Hopefully as we all take some time in our group time to process camp we can give a more detailed update and recap to the camp experience. But there is no doubt that we are all walking away changed. Please join us in praying for these children as they have returned home – that God would seal this experience in their hearts and minds – and that He would especially continue the work He has begun!