I love camp. As a kid, camp had a huge impact in my spiritual growth. And I’ve seen the same positive fruit in the lives of refugees here in Athens through these summer camps. Would you pray for the kids’ camp, men’s camp and family camp that we’re partnering in this summer? Would you prayerfully consider giving a financial gift that will help make camp possible? We believe in the unique spiritual opportunities that these camps provide. Will you partner with us this summer? Here is a letter from Helping Hands’ Greek director (download here):
How many of you were fortunate enough to go to a Christian Camp when you were growing up? I know it was one of the highlights of my year. Of course it was fun to get away and enjoy swimming, games and being with friends. But it was also a time of spiritual growth as I worshipped and learned with other kids my age. I always went home encouraged to go deeper in my faith.
Now imagine that you are a refugee. You live in the middle of Athens in the area that most people avoid. You may sleep in the park or your family may be fortunate enough to share a room in an abandoned building with several other families. Imagine what it would be like to be offered a week or more away from all this.
This year Helping Hands will participate in three different camps. Two of the camps are in partnership with Hellenic Ministries. The first is a Camp for Single Men. We have many young men who fled their country seeking a better life and now they live on the streets of Athens and that life seems farther away than ever. Having a week away by the sea where they have a bed every night and three meals a day can make the difference between hope and despair. This is especially true when they are surrounded by Christian men who love them and spend time every day teaching them and answering their questions about Jesus. Last year in one of the classes a man spoke up and said “It is good that we are talking about all these things in the Bible but I just want to know how do I become a Christian?”
We also partner with Hellenic Ministries in a week long Family Camp. Families have a hard time here. Fathers feel ashamed because they can’t provide for their families. Mothers are tired and worried and often harsh with their children. Kids don’t know where they will be sleeping from one night to the next and often boys who are 8-10 years old are allowed to wander about the city alone. At camp they sleep in the same bed every night. Families have time to relax and play with their kids. There are times when the kids go to their own classes and the adults have time to study the Bible and ask questions without distraction. Once again they spend time with Christian staff who care about them and treat them with love and respect. What a difference this can make in their lives! We have had several Bible studies start because people began studying at camp and wanted to continue after they returned to Athens.
The third camp we are involved with is Kalamos Christian Camp. This is a 20 day camp for kids and there are several for different age groups throughout the summer. This is a Greek camp so the refugee children who go are kids who go to Greek schools and are beginning to assimilate into Greek Culture. This is a great chance for refugee kids and Greek kids to set aside cultural barriers and really get to know one another. It is also a chance for refugee kids to meet others their age who are already following Jesus and to learn more about the Bible for themselves.
As always there is a financial cost to these camps above our normal operating budget. For the two Hellenic Ministries Camps it will cost us 1500 Euros for staff to participate. The Kalamos Camps are 250 Euros per child and as I said we hope to send 20 children. Would you consider making a donation to help us provide this experience for our refugee friends?
You can give by check—make it out to International Teams and designate “Helping Hands – Greece”:
International Teams – USA; 411 W. River Rd. Elgin IL 60123-1570 USA
International Teams – Canada; 1 Union Street; Elmira, Ontario N3B 3J9 CANADA
If you were prefer to give online, simply click on the appropriate link above.
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR INVESTING IN THE LIVES OF REFUGEES. Please pray for these camps throughout the summer— God is at work and we are privileged to be a part of it.
I am leaving you in God’s grace
With love and great appreciation for your prayers and support for Helping Hands
Nikos Stefanidis, Director
Would you pray for these weeks of camp? Pray for safety, pray for fun, but more than anything, pray for the transforming power of God to be at work! Pray that this would be a defining week in the lives of these men, families, and kids. Pray that they could say, “This is the week that God changed my heart; this is the week that I chose to follow Jesus!”
Would you give generously to help us cover the costs of these weeks of camp?