06 Feb A Note From Donna
As I reflect on the three weeks I had the privilege of spending at our annual Bible Camp, I find myself very emotional. While providing fun, recreation, Biblical teaching, emotional support, physical security, and lots of good food, we provide something even more important. We have the honor and opportunity to share the true message of the gospel. The staff provides healthy boundaries in a loving way. Grace and forgiveness are at the forefront of every encounter. Confrontation of sinful behavior is implemented when necessary. The children open up to their counselors and share the burdens of their heart without fear of judgement. And everyone is pointed to the importance of a relationship with Jesus and God, the Father. The responsibility is overwhelming at times, but what an honor and privilege it is to be entrusted with these precious souls. I am always moved as I listen to their prayers before meals or in devotionals. The children always thank God for the kitchen staff and ask for God’s protection for the women that cook. I am not sure that children in the U.S. think so deeply about the importance of food. The children we serve often come from homes where there isn’t always food, or at least not in abundance. Their appreciation for the 3 solid meals plus snack we can provide is evident. They also pray for the children around the world who are sick. It isn’t just a rote request. Here in Honduras the health care system is less than adequate. An illness in childhood can lead to death or at least a heavy financial burden to the family. And of course, they always ask for God’s protection on their families while they are away. What we pray for often reflects our values. For most Honduran children, food, health, and family are highly valued, which leads to another observation from my time at camp: the epidemic of mothers abandoning their children to go to the U.S. So many young girls at camp were struggling with sadness and feelings of abandonment. Some expressed that the few material things their mothers were able to send to them from the U.S. meant nothing to them considering having to live without their mothers. Most of these same girls have never known their fathers and are accustomed to not having a male figure in the household, but their mothers are their foundation of security. The only words of comfort I have for these girls is to direct them to a relationship with Jesus. This is the best advice even for children with mothers in the household but becomes especially applicable to the abandoned ones. My heart ached as I watched them flounder about in their undeserved insecurity. At the same time, I felt the overwhelming privilege of being able to provide them with a week of security and love, and a safe place to express their pain. I probably say this every year after camp, but I truly believe that Bible Camp is one of the best investments Mission UpReach makes towards changing lives.