Did you ever go to a Christian camp as a teenager? Did you ever get that feeling, like God was right there listening to you and speaking to you? Of course, we all know that God is always with us, continually speaking and challenging us–but I think sometimes we don’t listen as well in the busyness of our daily lives. Camp can be a time to disconnect from our normal routines and hear what God wants to say to us.
iThemba sends 50 teens to a three day camp every summer (in the winter we do a kids camp). Our goal with these camps is to create a safe environment where teens feel comfortable sharing what is going on in their lives, a place where they can hear the word of God–and of course a chance to have a whole lot of fun! The campsite iThemba uses is at the beach, and some kids and teens have never seen the ocean before, even though it is only an hour away from where they live!
The teens are divided into groups (“cabins”) and stay with their counselors 24/7–at meals, during the speaker and worship, during games. This helps them form relationships with their leaders, and hopefully helps them to feel loved and safe. It is on these camps that many times iThemba fieldworkers see remarkable breakthroughs in teens they have been working with for a long time. Sometimes teens who have never opened up start sharing about their difficult home situations, or abuse they have suffered. Sometimes teens make the decision to commit their lives to Christ for the first time. Teens who go on these camps recieve follow up and discipleship year-long through iThemba Life Groups (Bible Studies) and church.
iThemba does not like to hand out things for free, so they do charge the teens a minimal amount to come on camp. But, the full cost of taking a teen on camp is paid for by sponsors, who volunteer to “adopt” a teen. These sponsors pay for the teen to attend camp, and pray for their teen by name during the week of camp. This prayer is so important–it’s what allows the Holy Spirit to move so mightily during these camps!!
Would you consider sponsoring a teen this year? The cost per teen is R600 or $80 or £50 which includes transport, food, accommodation, crafts, a Bible, toiletry pack…and an experience (for them) that is out of this world.
How? In the US, make out a check to Restoration Hope. Include a note with your name, email address, and that the check is for TEENS CAMP. They will then transfer the money to South Africa. We will send you your teen’s picture and prayer requests via email. 🙂 Mail Checks to Restoration Hope P.O. Box 5583 Brandon, MS 39047. Or give online through their website (with the reference YOUR LAST NAME and TEENS CAMP) by going to http://www.restorationhope.org.
In South Africa, you can do an EFT to: iThemba Trust Sweetwaters. First National Bank. Bank Street Branch code 22 08 25. Cheque account number: 62154083407. Reference: Teens Camp and your SURNAME.
Here’s a video that talks about iThemba kids camp. Teens camp is very similar! 🙂