An update from our friends in SU Moscow on their recent Winter Camp. The camp was called “Not just Christmas trees”. We were talking about celebrations. What else could one talk about between New Year and Christmas? The idea was like this: New Year, the Jewish Rosh Hashanah, everything is new, renewal of covenants, new promises and expectations. We remembered the creation of man and talked about New Year traditions in different countries. Then came Sukkoth, the Feast of Tabernacles. We are wanderers and incomers. We talked about our trust in God and that all our hope is in Him. Purim – God is our protection and our salvation. And on the fourth day, of course, Christmas – about HOW God saves. And Easter on the last day. That was the logic – but not everybody saw it, even some of the leaders didn’t see it, although we had told them many times and asked them to explain it in their groups and remind them. What can you do if people don’t pay attention?!
Explaining and trying to live out traditions is good! The most memorable was probably building shelters at the feast of Tablernacles. The kids, in teams of 5-6, built shelters out of snow and branches. It was an exciting thing to see. It brought many of the kids closer. And the shelters were wonderful. In the evening, at bedtime, we went outside and prayed with candles in our shelters. The kids invited each other and that brought them all even closer. In some shelters they even laid on refreshments. There was a very warm atmosphere despite the cold. In one shelter they prayed holding hands and when it was time to go indoors to bed they stayed that way – continuing to hold hands.
After camp I wanted to give some presents because it seemed to me that a present can also be the Word. The Word is very necessary at particular moments. I was surprised that in 4-5 days of living together very closely I didn’t see a single quarrel among kids who were so absolutely different in age and thinking. If there was anything it was quickly forgiven and the life of camp went on. And that was one more confirmation for me that life in peace is possible only in the company of God.
Zaur, a leader at camp for the first time
The winter Christmas camp is always a special time, a time for all of us to be together, a time when we prepare to receive the infant Christ. I was very lucky with my group, they were amazing kids, ready to play, be inventive, read God’s Word and never quarrel! Admittedly, sometimes it wasn’t easy!
Sasha, a leader for many years, with a group of 9-10 year olds
It was very good. A warm and cosy atmosphere really helps to build close relationships. The kids open up. One incident really struck me, when on the first evening I came to wish the boys good night. I saw that little Jo’s bed was in a mess and I was straightening it up. Jo was standing next to me, watching. “Katya, Katya, will we have Bible study tomorrow?” he asked anxiously. Smiling, I tell him it’s the most important thing in camp. He answered enthusiastically: “I so liked reading the Bible! I’ve never read such an interesting book before.”
Katya, a leader at camp for the third time