This July we had the largest american STM team ever in a teenage camp. 25 college students from Atlanta, GA travelled overseas in order to meet young people from another culture, to share their life with Christ in order to determine a change in the minds and hearts of the Romanian kids. As we already know from our long time camping experience, serving is a dual process: serving and being served, blessing and being blessed. This camp made no exception. We were all enriched in His Spirit, going back home (Atlanta or Cluj) with a huge boost and more determined to follow Jesus day by day.
This year, the American group was lead by Joe Ryan, director of student ministry at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, a good friend that has a heart for Romania. Our relationship goes back to 1999, when he lead his first group to Romania. For us, this is one of the best examples of great partnerships that became friendships and that give us a strong encouragement and the conviction that we’re serving the same great God, working together for expanding His Kingdom.
We didn’t have only a large number of Americans, but also 80 Romanians. Together we had a great time, sharing our lives, playing, talking, hiking etc. overcoming any language or cultural barriers. We all agree that high school age is not an easy one, so for the Bible teaching time we decided to look deeper at the Parable of the prodigal son, the prototype of a teenager who’s testing the limits, trying to live his life as he pleases. Through Bible reading and discussions, God, the Father, revealed the most precious gift, His forgiveness.
“This camp was an opportunity to make new friendships, and so I did, especially with the americans. Also it united our group more then ever, having beautiful Godly relationships. Spiritually, I got closer to God, helped by Joe’s and Rei’s messages, but also by the discussions we had in our small groups. (Flavia, 17)
“The relationships we built this week were invaluable, and it was amazing to see God working in the lives of both the Romanians and the Americans. Even though these people live halfway around the world from us, we are all just normal high school students with the same interests, beliefs, and struggles. Saying goodbye was so difficult, but we are all hopeful that one day God will bring us back together again.” (Kaylee)
“I’ve always loved working to build relationships and getting to know people, and God has blessed me with that opportunity this week with four Romanian girls in particular. As sad as it is to say goodbye, staying in touch with these girls even from overseas is a chance and challenge I cannot wait to take on. God has touched each one of us personally this week and I could not be more grateful.” (Anna)
The Peachtree team also wrote a blog for this camp, so we invite you to read it. We thank them again for serving us and for the great moments they remembered in their blog but also for everything else that made this camp so special, a real blessing for us all.