At a Christian youth camp with distant views of snow-capped mountains in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, nearly 50 nervous children were having a hard time warming up to each other.
At more than 5,200 feet above sea level, the camp center was warmer in July than during most of the year, but the kids ages 10 to 14 had arrived cold with gloom about how they were going to get through the week surrounded by strangers.
“On the first day when the kids arrived, they were very closed and dissatisfied,” the leader of the native ministry said. “We began to worry a little about how we would do anything if they were so dissatisfied.”
Among the children present from the nearly 94 percent-Muslim country was a girl with her head covered by a hijab, he said.
“Her parents knew that we are Christians and freely let her go to our projects and want her to be in our environment,” the leader said.
Another Muslim girl who participates in the ministry’s programs was also at the camp.
“She shared with me that she believes in Jesus, but her mother and relatives are against it and forbid her to believe or even think about it,” he said. “Her mother let her go to the camp with the words that she should cover her ears when we talk about Jesus. But she told me, ‘How do I cover my ears if I am interested in listening and learning about Jesus?’”
With their native knowledge of social customs, the 16 local native missionaries at the camp began befriending the kids and helped them to mix with each other, and by evening the children began to loosen up and have a little fun, the leader said.
“By the end of the camp, we all became friends,” he said. “I was especially pleased that the kids also became very good friends with each other, and there were no disagreements and fights. On the last day, everyone was crying and didn’t want to leave.”
Not all the children were strangers; some had long participated in the ministry’s clubs, camps and other activities and shared how they had first heard about Christ from the native workers.
“The kids were quite open and listened well when we talked about Jesus, and most of them felt free to share their opinions in discussion groups,” the leader said.
The kids and their parents later wrote letters of gratitude for the experience, he said.
“Thank God the 48 kids heard about Jesus Christ, and may God give us the wisdom to continue working with them and not lose them,” he said.
Besides the youth camp this past summer, the ministry also spreads the gospel through women’s seminars and retreats, a YouTube channel, a rehabilitation center for substance abusers and other outreaches. Please consider a donation today to equip them to bring the light of Christ to gloomy corners of their country.