By Neil Christians
For over 20 years we have been dreaming of doing Camp Hope in El Salvador.
In 2015, we saw this dream come true. Our training team came from Milwaukee, WI, Minneapolis, MN and Houston, TX. We flew into San Salvador before driving to San Jorge where we would train the Camp Hope staff for two days.
It was an amazing experience meeting these wonderful young leaders! They were very excited to learn about Camp Hope and see how this could help the little niños (children) learn more about Jesus and the hope that He brings to us all. We were also excited to learn from these leaders what Camp Hope would be like in El Salvador.
In order to get ready for this amazing experience, we had to work with Pastors Walter and Betty to translate the curriculum and training materials in Spanish. It wasn’t just a need to communicate a different language but to learn about the culture.
The name “Camp Hope” didn’t translate well for this place, so we talked about planting hope in El Salvador. Therefore, Camp Hope is also known as “Sembrando Esperanza” (Planting Hope).
After two days of training, we were ready to kick off the week with campers. We learned that many of the campers would not have eaten breakfast before coming to camp, so we would start with breakfast before Alpha Worship.
Then we would go into small groups for Manna Bible Study time followed by our rotations. Our rotations were manualidades (Crafts), juegos y música (Games and Music) and tribu (Tribe). Then we would close with Omega worship and then eat lunch together. We were so excited that Camp Hope was not only telling the story of God’s love but showing it by providing two meals a day for everyone at camp.
The staff were incredible! The sacrifice and dedication for them to leave their families for a whole week was astounding. Some who lived close by would rise early to do chores before coming to staff meeting at 7am. Then they would return in the late afternoon to finish their chores at home.
They were always prepared for their lessons and would practice skits for the next day’s worships. We were humbled and honored by their dedication, love and hospitality.
This week was transformational for everyone involved and we ask for your prayers and support in order to continue this ministry in El Salvador.
Take a look at a video from Sembrando Esperanza 2015.
Learn more about Camp Hope Ministries
This blogpost originally appeared in Camp Hope’s blog. It was reprinted with permission.