Rei wrote from Romania what John, a young teenager told him: “During the camp I found God… or God found me. On a rock, praying near the river. My life has changed.” More on that in a moment.
Last time when I wrote you, it was just before Easter, when we celebrated Christ’s wonderful resurrection. How triumphant!
I just realized that this letter gets to you around another amazing day. Not as widely celebrated, but for us, also extremely important.
So important that Jesus said “…it is for your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you].” (Amplified Bible).
In other parts of the world, Pentecost is often celebrated as the birth of the church and the beginning of its mission into this world. Both made possible through the presence and empowerment of God’s Spirit.
So, how fitting to reflect on God giving us His Spirit, a mission, and talents to make a difference for His kingdom in this world, at the start of a new ministry season for “Ambassadors Together.” Some of us can go, others pray or send someone else on their behalf. We all can be involved in sharing His Good News.
One of the reasons why I am so excited about “Ambassadors Together” is that, like other 4D programs, it empowers nationals within their own countries to be “ambassadors of reconciliation,” representing our risen Lord! Often, our national partners tell us “we could not have done it without you.” And I agree. but we also could not have done it without them or without you. Together we are His ambassadors!!
For 2019, our Ambassadors Together goals are:• 4,500 kids in camp!
• 700 pastors and volunteers involved
• 100 local churches involved
• Over 50% of the cost covered by local churches and believers in Eastern Europe
• Over 30% of kids attending from unchurched families.
Looking at last year, not 30%, but more than 50% of the kids came from unchurched families. Some came from orphanages, or their parent(s) were working in other countries having left their children behind (often with grandparents) in villages. Many of the kids attending were considered “at risk”.
It’s been exhilarating to see the sacrificial generosity of churches in countries like Romania, Moldova and Serbia. Many of the churches are
struggling, with high percentages of their members having left the country. And still, they generously sacrifice to reach those around them. In Moldova, the BBC estimates that over 50% of the work force is now outside Moldova. And in places like Cluj, where Rei pastors a growing church with more than 450 in Sunday attendance, not one but five or maybe even six teams will go out this year. When asked about seeing teenagers like John come to Christ, Rei said, “This is the reason we run the Ambassadors Together project. This is the reason for helping churches to send out mission teams every single year and we have done it since our church was first started. This is the reasons we exist as an organization; this is the reason we exist as a church.”
Rei is very modest in his assessment, because besides his team being the originator of the program, he also has trained and helped many other churches in Romania to be involved. First experimenting and implementing it, then evaluating, improving and ultimately, multiplying!
Similar things are happening in Moldova, where, last year, 19 churches were involved. Dasha accepted Christ as her Savior and Lord at camp a few years ago. Now, she serves as one of the youngest volunteer leaders. And, she is not alone. Many of today’s leaders and volunteers had a similar life transforming camp experience like Dasha had.
Part of the continuing growth in numbers, sacrifice by local believers, and commitment to follow-up on the spiritual fruit of the camps, is because a very high percentage of those in leadership today made their first commitment at a camp themselves in years past.
So, my question to you is twofold: will you join me in prayer for the camps this summer? And secondly, will you help send other Johns and Dashas to camp with a special “Ambassadors Together” gift today?
What does it cost to send someone to camp? Because sacrifices are made within each country that we match, our part in making a difference in someone’s life will be just $32 for an entire week of ministry, training and needed resources. It even includes some follow-up expenses as well.
That $32 per child also includes costs related to some of our national volunteers, facilities, food, transportation and more.
Of course, when you multiply $32 times 4,500 kids, it ends up to be a very big $144,000.
God has provided each year and we look forward to seeing you once again as part of His team this year! Imagine, those 700 national volunteers already know the language, they don’t have to travel long distances, and they already personally understand the hardships the kids experience. By teaming up together with them, we can make a powerful impact! Together, we can make a big difference in the lives of many Johns and Dashas!
Together in His service and looking forward to your response,
P.S. In Serbia, a secular teen camp just asked our local partners to be part of an eight-day camp for 150 specially gifted high schoolers to cover topics like drug and substance addiction and to share their own life stories, including how Christ redeemed them. Between group sessions, our partners will be presented as “Quality of Life Counselors” and able to follow-up more personally. Again, a wonderful opportunity to be Christ’s Ambassadors!
Join us in this wonderful work for God’s kingdom with your donation and prayer.
Your participation is still needed and a Matching Grant (up to $15,000 total) will make your gift go even further!