Blast Off!!

Last week was kids camp, and we had the pleasure of taking 50 kids to the beach for camp! This year the theme was outer space. We have been planning this camp for the past 3 months, praying, putting together the programme, preparing crafts and games, finding donations… so it was so exciting to finally be there with the kids!

I am so thankful for the fantastic team that I work with and all the hard effort everyone put in to make camp a success– and especially to the small group leaders ( made up of volunteers from the community and iThemba staff). They were a great group of leaders and were willing to do anything for the kids, whether it was be voted off to slide into the pool fully clothed, or have their faces covered in icing and facepaint!

On camp kids play games, have lots of fun and also learn about God. Children who don’t have Bibles get a free Zulu Bible, and during fun games as a team, they learn about how to use a Bible and find verses. We also have a camp speaker who gives a message every day, as well as worship.

Thank you everyone who prayed for or supported this camp in some way!

Here are a few pictures (for those of you who get this via email, it might be easier to see directly on the blog):

The kids are in small groups of 6-8, and they eat, sleep, play and do EVERYTHING as a team.
The kids are in small groups of 6-8, and they eat, sleep, play and do EVERYTHING as a team.
We played lots of games on the beach, including building team sand sculptures
We played lots of games on the beach, including building team sand sculptures
During the first activity, groups had to race around the campsite using a map to find different items, and in the end they used their items to create an edible rocket!
During the first activity, groups had to race around the campsite using a map to find different items, and in the end they used their items to create an edible rocket!
Tug of War on the beach is always fun
Tug of War on the beach is always fun
Here's Gugu, my co-worker with her team. They named themselves "The Goregeous Girls" All the teams have to come up with their own names and war cries.
Here’s Gugu, my co-worker with her team. They named themselves “The Goregeous Girls” All the teams have to come up with their own names and war cries.
This is obviously me.
This is obviously me.
The slide is a BIG HIT. Even though it was quite chilly, the kids couldn't get enought of it. And every night, the kids vote to send one leader down the slide in their clothes. :)
The slide is a BIG HIT. Even though it was quite chilly, the kids couldn’t get enought of it. And every night, the kids vote to send one leader down the slide in their clothes. 🙂
The pool is always a big hit! Kids had free time in the pool, but also played a game where they had to transfer their entire team across without getting in the water.
The pool is always a big hit! Kids had free time in the pool, but also played a game where they had to transfer their entire team across without getting in the water.
Here's one of the crafts they made: stained glass candle holders for tea-light candles. I got to do the black outlines on all 50 of them before camp.
Here’s one of the crafts they made: stained glass candle holders for tea-light candles. I got to do the black outlines on all 50 of them before camp.
David led the teams through the obstacle course.
David led the teams through the obstacle course.
This is us being loopy after 3 days of camp.
This is us being loopy after 3 days of camp.
Kids praying with each other during worship
Kids praying with each other during worship
Our two full-time volunteers at iThemba (Year of Your Lifers), Andile and Nhlaka, who have given a whole year to be with us and serve the community.
Our two full-time volunteers at iThemba (Year of Your Lifers), Andile and Nhlaka, who have given a whole year to be with us and serve the community.

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Teens Camp

Teens Camp 2011
Teens Camp 2011. Maybe this year you’ll help send a teen to camp! 🙂

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 beach!

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! 🙂