River of Joy base from the road

River of Joy base from the road
Picnic Patio goes to work

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

River of Joy Camp 2012 ~ God and children connected.

One secret of the success of this year's River of Joy Camp was the weather! We had rain the first two days and part of the third. Maybe it wasn't exactly an act of faith but I bought some "Plonka" (plastic sheeting) to wrap our leaky old tents in so the children could sleep dry.

Realizing we need good weather for ROJ tent camp, we called pastor and prayer warrior friends and did some serious praying ourselves. "Lord please stop the rain and give us a blessed and healthy camp."     
                                   He answered.

We had clear weather until the end of camp.

This year camp was on the theme, "Taking the Lord's Ship Around the World." I liked its blatantly Pauline missionary nature. The staff of 22 liked it because it got them thinking creatively about costumes. and unusual things like Indian praise and worship songs. I changed a Texas Motor Speedway baseball cap into an Admiral's cap and told the children my story that compares the metamorphosis of butterflies with the New Birth, The children had fun and really connected. It took us all out of our local religious box and into the huge and expansive ideas that God must have as He confronts a wide variety of cultures and demonic opposition around the globe.

We had children from a variety of cultures involved too. We had family children from smokestack towns in Eastern Ukraine, town and country kids from Crimea. We had poor local village kids and as usual some messed up children from extremely dysfunctional families or orphanages who could not help at all with camp expenses. While those who pay get camp cheaply from us, the extremely poor kids are the main reason why we ask for donation help to do camp. 

Some of the children were second or third timers who just can't wait for camp to come around. We even had a child from a local Muslim Crimean Tatar family. She met the Lord here then joyously danced to gospel songs. Her alcoholic uncle later identified himself to me at our bus stop by causing me to recall her attendance. He was impressed 
with the change in her to say the least.

On day five of our ten day camp, I spent all day in Belogorsk and Zelenogorsk ~ visited five offices on land issues. We are trying to get a long term land lease going so we can build a children's home and chapel here at River of Joy.

I was still bushed when the tent meeting started after supper, finally deciding not to attend. Alina Navitsky showed up on the way to the meeting wearing a blonde wig! She announced the day's theme was India! Failing to see any connection between a blonde wig and India, I congratulated myself for staying back. 

Meeting noises floated down the hill. The kids were unusually loud and boisterous. Then they went still. Vitally sang and played, "How Great is our God" (in Russian). Everything got really quiet. I dozed and chilled out contentedly. It must have been just then God took charge 
of that meeting. I did not find it all out until later on.

This photo is actually the next day as the revival continued. That night Alina stood up in her blonde wig and took the children to task for their casual and noisy approach to worship. The kids got the message as the Holy Spirit moved on them. There was a sound of children weeping, repenting. They started falling on their faces in the grass or kneeling. Many began to speak in tongues. 12 of the 35 children we had in camp were baptized in the Holy Spirit without human prompting that very night. It was a, "God Thing." Our preacher was dumbfounded. Nobody but the Lord was in charge. I remember years and years of pastor's prayer meetings where we prayed for revival habitually. Then the Lord showed up big time and I missed the event. 

I am wearing a bracelet that reads, "EESUS MOYA SKALA," means, "JESUS IS MY ROCK." That seems to be the joyful message on this camper's face as he enjoys the River of Joy trampoline.

Thanks to everyone who gave to help us do camp again this year, especially my dear mother. Thanks to all of your gifts we fed 57 people for ten days and a bit longer for the set up and take down crews and were able to bless the camp director and hard working kitchen crew with monetary gifts. We also bought and strung lots of electric wire for tent village lights and got a combi portable PA system, and guitar amp that was just right for tent services. 

There were a lot of inspiring stories connected with camp this year. One I can photo illustrate is Sergei, a victim of multiple sclerosis who volunteered to help in the kitchen. He could barely walk but his attitude of  joy and helpfulness are a blessing participants at River of Joy Camp this year will long remember. Every morning when I asked him, "How are you?"His rejoinder was always, "Best of all!"

Thanks to Cass from U.K., over here connecting with orphans, and Dr.Wilson Turner, both of whom made brief appearances at ROJ camp. Cass brought lots of useful anti-bug items and a football (or soccer ball). The football became a grand prize for our talent show. Wil has been putting our electricity in order. Welcome back again both of you. Thanks to our hard working and dedicated crew as well.

The old Soviet Army tent in which we have been doing services desperately needs replacing. 

Please pray we get that done at least before next summer.

Stay tuned for our next blog entitled, 
"Everyone needs a covering!"

Love and Blessings from your friend David Gerry Hallowell in Crimea