Family Faith Camp, Day 1

Today’s memory verse:

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, and being certain of what we do not see. – Hebrews 11:1

From “We are faithful! We are faithful!” to “We love. We trust. We hope. We love God!” to the twelfth year boys singing an impressive song, Greenhill School’s soccer pitch was a chorus of voices today. The schedule called for teams to come up with a team chant, but we got a whole lot more. One team even made a six-man pyramid.

Today was the first day of Faith Bible Camp at Greenhill Community School in Chamba Valley. Greenhill is the most removed from the city of all the schools Arise Africa partners with, but we are happy to make the trek for Mrs. Tembo, the founder. Even if there is a sly little monkey that is prone to stealing specks, keys, and baby chickens.

Landrie and the team evaluating their blank team flag before beginning their work.

The shyness lasted about fifteen minutes before all hands were on deck to address the first work of the day: making a team flag. Our enthusiastic crafters are going to finish off their flags tomorrow morning, but there are already some great flags in the works. Team “God’s Warriors” and “Za Am Galaxy” made great progress today.

Team Unashamed got their name from Proverbs 1:16 and are shown above after putting their hand prints on their flag in fabric paint…the paint turned out to be as water-resistant as possible.

One critical part of the week is the identifying chitenge headbands. When attention spans run short and an impromptu game of tag breaks out or a full-field race, we quickly know who belongs to who. That, and they look pretty cool, too.

Brandon taking a break from decorating their team flag to distribute chitenge headbands.

This is the very first Arise Africa mission trip with American kids, and we are so impressed at how flexible, kind, and adventurous this bunch is. We love the energy level. We love the questions. We love the goofiness all around - parents and kids.

Another thing we love, is that anywhere in the world, a kid is a kid, and can play with any other kid. It doesn’t matter if it’s a soccer ball made from grocery sacks tied together or a black and white checkered one, it’s still a good starting point for a great soccer game. In the same way, that the Bible is the Bible, anywhere in the world. At dinner, going around the table, Cannon’s highest moment of the day was getting the memory verse correct. I think that’s what I like most about the camp. Everything about today emphasized that we’re all the same, we’re all God’s children, and we all need to know God’s Word.

Eliza with her group listening to volunteers recite their memory verse.

Ryan jumping with his group and practicing their chant.

At the end of camp, we piled back into the minibus and were off to the next stop: Destiny School in Matero Compound. Arise has sixty children in the child sponsorship program at Destiny School, two child sponsorship officers, and a majority of the children living in the Arise home are from Matero.

The families’ homes in Matero are not the best. In one family’s home, ten people – aunts, counsins, parents, everyone – come home to a house the size of a king bed...if that. One of us was so shocked at how dark it is inside, even in broad daylight. But that’s a good thing, too, because the fewer places light can get in means fewer places the rain can get inside during the rainy season. The mother is incredibly loving, kind, and hospitable. She is also incredibly grateful that the Lord has allowed her a structure for her family to live and a program where her children can get the education she so values. I think of Job 13:15, but I don’t think this mother would.  From hearing her speak of the way the Lord has blessed her abundantly, I believe she lives in a 2 Corinthians 9 mindset, where God has continued to provide everything she needs to minister to her kids.

William giving a ride to a new friend at Destiny Community School in Matero.

We're gearing up for another full day tomorrow. Please pray that the Lord would allow all the children, staff, and volunteers to overcome all obstacles on the way to camp tomorrow. Pray also for the mission team as they process through all their children's questions, the new experiences, and that they would not grow weary in their work this week.

- Camille