All over the world
The gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world - just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God's grace. Colossians 1:6
July and August are months in the year when many go on holiday. Hopefully many of you will be enjoying a good break around now with friends and family. However the summer months are also times for increased activity in the form of the many Christian summer camps and ventures that happen at this time of year. Our summer prayer diary is full of entries for church members who have been exerting themselves as leaders, cooks and helpers across the country, and we have been praying for them at our Summer Prayer Meetings.
These camps form an excellent environment in which the Christian good news can be unpacked to teenagers over a series of talks and Bible studies, in the context of great activities, good friendships and lots of laughs.
I thought I would share a couple of stories from our summer camp, InterAction Belgium, which concluded a week ago, to illustrate how the gospel is bearing fruit and growing elsewhere in the world. I hope it will act as an encouragement to the many who have been praying, and perhaps a spur to any who are still engaged in camps (some of which go until the end of August).
Our camp meets in Courriere, central Belgium, in a beautifully restored chateau belonging to the scout movement. While the camp includes the same ingredients of faith, fun and friendship that are outlined above, an additional ingredient (and at times complication) is the fact that everything is conducted in two languages - English and French. This can make for some fun (you should have heard 60 Francophones try to say “she sells sea shells on the sea shore”, and 60 English speakers, attempting “Le chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien, est un bon chasseur”). It is also a challenge, as talks have to be simultaneously translated to ensure everyone understands the gospel.
What was particularly encouraging was seeing how the camp has grown since its start six years ago from around 40 campers to 110 campers now spread over two camps. Many of these come from Belgium (where the evangelical church is small), as well as from English families growing up in Belgium and some who made it over from the UK on the Eurostar.
I was responsible for looking after the students, who are known on most camps as “Assistant Leaders” or “Senior Campers”. On our camp they are called by the name Animefs (from the French Animateurs en formation - leaders in training). It was encouraging to hear from one of the lads, who had come to faith at InterAction during previous years. These camps have formed the only Christian input he has received, and yet the Lord has kept him trusting in Jesus through his teenage years. It was wonderful to hear him pray out loud for the first time in our Bible studies on Colossians, giving thanks for the majesty of the Lord Jesus. He heads off to university in the UK next October.
So do please continue to pray for these camps, (and if you remember for InterAction Belgium) that the gospel will continue to grow and bear fruit. What an encouragement to remember that we have a world-wide God who is at work growing his kingdom day by day.
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