Encouraging Believers in France Through Camp Ministry

Encouraging Believers in France Through Camp

According to the National Counsel of French Evangelicals, on average there is one evangelical Protestant church per 25,000 residents of France. With fewer than two percent of France’s population claiming to follow Jesus, finding a supportive Christian community can be difficult. How do Christian organisations like Greater Europe Mission support local believers?

One way GEM brings encouragement and support to Christians across France is through Camp des Cimes, also known as Camp of the Peaks. Located in the southeast region of the country, the camp’s mountainous landscape showcases God’s beauty in creation, allowing for a rejuvenating change of scenery for all its visitors.

Offering programs for people of all ages and interests, the main goal of the staff is to create a place where the lost can be saved and the believer strengthened. This involves refreshing, encouraging, and displaying the Gospel.

“People come from very troubled backgrounds to the camp…it really has become a refuge [for campers],” says Pamela Konstant, a GEM global worker. Having served at Camp of the Peaks for the past few years, Pamela realises the importance of its ministry.

“The culture in France isn’t necessarily supportive [for Christians],” Pamela starts, “so when they come to the camp, it’s just totally different than how they’ve felt. They feel accepted and safe to bring up their problems and questions without feeling judged,” Pamela explains.

“In many cases, the people who come to the camp will be the only Christian [in their community], and so the opportunity to connect with other believers and be strengthened to go back is a huge blessing.”

In fact, many believers who visit the camp often find themselves returning repeatedly. 

“It really is because of Camp of the Peaks that I ended up serving in France long-term,” Howard Moore, a now-retired GEM worker, recalls. The Moores raised three children in France, visiting the camp often. “After moving back to Canada, my daughter made the decision to go back to Camp of the Peaks and minister there long-term, which she did off-and-on for about eight years.”

Much of the appeal is attributed to the camp’s friendly environment. 

“One of the camp’s strong points is its amazing atmosphere,” Pamela Konstant explains. “We get people who come time and time again because of the peace they feel.”

Adding to the allure of the camp is its range of activities, including skiing, hiking, pottery, rock climbing, biking, and theatre. Behind the fun and leisure, though, is the beauty of the camp’s true purpose:

“[The camp’s] philosophy is to get a good team of believers to work alongside [the campers],” Howard explains. “There’s an emphasis on discipleship work with the youth…developing solid relationships with them and seeking to break through into their thoughts about God.”

“[Seeing campers] come to a saving knowledge of Jesus and then start serving at the camp and serving at the church, and eventually getting married and starting families…the legacy of the camp is just incredible!” Pamela enthuses. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity for [new believers] to see that Christianity––that Jesus––makes a difference in lives, to the point where it’s visible.”

If you are looking for an opportunity to serve in a beautiful setting alongside great people, Camp des Cimes may be the place for you!

“If anybody has any skill whatsoever, we need them,” Pamela states.

About the author: Leanne Monge Barrera serves in the GEM Canada office as a Storyteller and social media content creator. Photos by Grant Klinefelter.

Adapted from an article originally published at gemission.ca.