A few years ago, fastened by magnets on our fridge we had three white geese with outstretched wings flying across a bright, blue sky! The picture was sent to us by a little boy who attended Peaceful Haven Bible Camp on the Azov Sea in the Ukraine. Carefully printed on the back of this work of art are some loving greetings.
Christians in Canada and the United States provided money to buy and operate this camp what was once a communist youth camp teaching atheism to children and youth. The buildings and grounds had fallen into disrepair over the years, but Ukrainian Christians volunteered their time and efforts to make it a place where children are learning about God and his plan of salvation. Yuri is just one of over a thousand kids who had the privilege of attending camp last summer. Yuri came from one of the many desperately poor homes. Unemployment is extremely high in the Ukraine. Economic conditions are such that many parents in their despair turn to alcohol and drugs to escape reality. Always, it is the children and the elderly who suffer the most.
UCCF is now helping a number of Christian families that have opened up their homes to orphans. One family in Novomoskovsk is caring for 17 children, and it was through these children, who attended Bible camp, that the entire family came to faith in Christ. Opportunities to gather town and village children for DVBS, Sunday School, and Bible camp are unlimited. Dedicated and energetic believers are overwhelmed with all the prospects for evangelizing. Unfortunately, churches are suffering under the same economic crunch that the rest of the nation is enduring. They are finding it very difficult to obtain food, Bibles, Sunday School materials for needy bodies, minds, and souls . . . We Christians in Canada and the U.S.A. have an excellant opportunity to take part in the urgent needs of the church in the Ukraine.
Peaceful Haven Camp is truly named. On the last day of camp, many children cry when they must leave the loving, caring, safe Christian atmosphere to return to their homes where food and hope are all-too-often in scant measure. No wonder little Yuri loved the thought of the white geese flying so freely through the bright, blue sky!
We cherish that small momento of a child's drawing of geese flying through the heavens--what a lovely memory of Yuri's encounter with peace, hope, freedom, and caring at camp. And how many more children have had that wonderful Christian camp experience at Peaceful Haven and other camps that UCCF staff host. How good to know that the day is coming when all who have come to know and love the Lord Jesus will indeed be 'caught up to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord!'