First of all, I want to a big thanks to all of you who have been praying for and sponsoring the Camp David teams that went to Kenya and Uganda. We have so much to be grateful for. At 10:30 pm the day before we left, God provided the remaining funds for the trip. Within the next week God also provided the remaining funds needed for Camp David Southeast Asia’s team members!
There was was something extra special about this trip. This was our third year running Camp David Uganda (for children of prisoners). Months before our arrival the students at Wells of Hope boarding school had been preparing skits, praise songs, and dances for their camp. The children at Wells of Hope excitedly told the new staff and students about all the fun they were going to have at camp.
When we arrived, the children excitedly greeted our team with a song and dance. That afternoon we watched with great delight as the older students acted out our Kuishi skit with great gusto, complete with costumes and a wooden spear they had made just for camp. Camp has played a huge role in empowering these young people to lead and serve.
“What are you grateful for?” This is the question I asked the campers at the beginning of the eight “What about it” classes each day. While the students are extremely grateful for the gifts of life, God, and waking up; I wanted them to see more. On the second day they could only select things from their simple classroom. This exercise takes an impoverished child from feeling helpless and numb, to feeling like they were among the privileged living on planet earth. By the end of the week, they were grateful for sight, smiles, teachers, chalk, their digestive systems, noses and so much more. I explained to the students how gratefulness turns on the creative side of our brains. With that in mind, I pointed out that the best moments to thank God are the moments when everything seems to be going wrong. It is these moments that have the greatest need for creativity, hope, and joy.
On the last day, when I asked the Jades what they were grateful for, hands went up all over the room. “Me! Me!” they all blurted out at once, “Ask me!.” Answering the question once wasn’t enough. They kept going on with more things they were grateful for until I finally had to stop them and we moved on in the lesson. They got it!
Gratefulness is a source of joy. On our last day of camp, we had campers of all ages who kept coming up to our team members and giving us notes and pictures that they had written and colored, expressing their gratitude for each of us and for the camp. On behalf of all of the children from Camp David Uganda, I want to say a big thanks to all of you who helped make it possible.
So here are the final numbers from Camp David Uganda. We had 100 campers and 23 children of prisoners serving on staff. We had 9 children trust Jesus as their Savior and 11 children followed Jesus in baptism. Please pray for these children that God would continue to give them the grace to stand firm in their faith. Many of them come from Muslim and animistic families, but they have counted the cost and they have chosen Jesus.
Benjamin Smith, Co- Director Camp David International