Dear ministry friends,
Thanksgiving, when I grew up in Holland, was often referred to as Harvest Thanksgiving Day.
For thousands of children and youth, this year’s Thanksgiving is very different. It is the result of a spiritual harvest that impacts them eternally.
This year, many of them are thanking both God and you for letting yourself be used by God. Many of the kids grew up under challenging circumstances, some without parents and a war only minutes away. Natalya is one of them.
This is what her leader said:“Thank God for this opportunity to serve children. Many thanks to the church and those who donated and prayed for this ministry. We have sowed the seed and continue to pray for the children and their parents. A camp follow-up meeting is planned for both the children and their parents. We invite everyone to Sunday worship and then to stay for fellowship and a short program.
“We invite every camper personally to Children’s Sunday School or the Amigos Teen Club. Please continue to pray for this ministry. We are planning camp meetings to take place before Christmas, before Easter, and on Children’s Day. If God gives us life and opportunity, we are planning a camp for next year, summer 2024. We have already begun preparations.”
Recently, I met with one of our largest supporters and was asked: “What makes the camps so successful?” and“How do you teach and train the leaders?” The answer is simple: It is God’s harvest, and we are allowed to be on His team! The question came back to me again in a few more ways and the other part of the answer was: “models” within their own culture, towns, and villages.
There is not one recipe that is good for all. The way camps are held in the large university cities is very different than how they take place in the villages. Add to that, the eight languages things took place in this year, and it becomes an even greater miracle.
One 4D value that is very important for the ministry, is to be field driven. It does not require a scientist to know that the best potato harvester makes havoc in a wheat field. No wonder that Jesus, having grown up in a carpenter’s family, used the examples of a wheat harvest while walking through the countryside, and told his disciples to be fishers of men while on the seaside. He connected with people where they were at.
With the years passing, more and more of the ministry experts are “locally grown”! Like Rei in Romania, they are experts that listen and respond to their people’s needs with the wonderful, unchanging Good News of Jesus in a relevant way, making disciples of their Savior and Lord. It is not about regulations, but about cultivating those that God has called!
If you and I cannot travel and do a better job, how great a joy it is to partner with tested national leaders. They are not only passionate about kids coming to Christ, but also about seeing them follow Jesus every day for the rest of their lives and in community with fellow Christ followers! It’s that type of growth that strengthens churches and multiplies workers.
A camp leader from Moldova said: “Nowadays, children want to be like someone. These examples are not always good. There is no need to try to imitate actors or some music stars.“Over the course of 4 days, we went through different Bible characters, their stories, and learned one good quality from each of them. On the last day, we went through the story of Jesus and showed the children that He is a combination of all good qualities and only He is an ideal role model. We want to strive to be more like Jesus. Christ showed us the best example with his life.“The last time we held an away camp was in 2019. After that, the pandemic began, then the war in Ukraine, and it became difficult and very expensive to travel somewhere. Several children who in 2019 went to the camp as campers, in 2023, had already been baptized, and acted as leaders and helpers.” This year we estimate over 10,000 kids (reports are still coming in with most country coordinators having seen their numbers increase).
There also are more than 1,000 pastors and leaders involved (some as teachers or group leaders, some to prepare meals (a lot of meals!!), and some to do accounting and reporting (accountability). For more than 100 churches it was their camp! We just came alongside and put more wind in their sails.
Another involvement was in helping local leaders in training others through websites and resources in their own language.
In one word? 4D is about empowering. Who? Especially local churches to be missional and respond to God’s call.
It happens through the camps, but there is much more:
- Behind the scenes support is provided in whatever form is needed.
- Internet ministry (including social media) which is still very effective.
- Afterschool programs (like Pearl clubs in Moldova)
- Helping local teams and organizations be transparent, evaluate, and report (ECFA standards)
- Encouraging local generosity (as followers of a very generous God) with time, talents, and finances.
- Back office support to qualifying national ministries.
All this and more is what keeps 4D and its partners passionate and moving forward. It’s also how 4D is able to keep administrative, fundraising, and other US expenses well below 10% of its total budget!
So, on behalf of so many, thank you again for being fellow partners on God’s team!!
And as we approach the end of the year, help 4D to make a strong start with a generous year-end gift.
Joining hands together in being HIS ambassadors,
P.S. Your special Thanksgiving/Yearend gift will go even further with a Matching Grant of up to $30,000 offered by friends of 4D Ministries. All you have to do is indicate your gift’s designation to be for “Where Most Needed” or “Ambassadors Together”. To have your gift matched and be part of bringing in a spiritual harvest with eternal impact, you can donate today at https://4dministries.org/donate/. Please be sure to write “Match my gift!” in the memo space!