Summer Camp Brings Hope to Ukrainian Refugees
The reality of war and its implications for those affected have been well documented over the past months since the Russian attack on Ukraine. Most of us feel a sense of helplessness when conflict breaks out on a large scale and yet the lives of average people like us are most affected.
Yet for many of us there are clear steps of action we can and must take to help alleviate suffering, especially for refugees. It is often the most simple and basic things that can have the greatest impact on people in need.
During the summer of 2022, Greater Europe Mission staff helped to sponsor a family camp in the Czech Republic at a hotel approximately ninety minutes from Prague for families affected by the war. To date, the Czech Republic has absorbed tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees.
The camp was simple – crafts, games, and sports activities – but the impact on the lives of the participants was profound. Oleg, the pastor of 21st Century church in Prague and a GEM partner requested our help to sponsor the camp. He expressed his heart for the refugees, “At our camp, they could have some relaxation from the bombing and get in touch with the good news about God’s love.”
Greater Europe Mission has always been about partnering with European believers who are seeking to make disciples for Jesus and grow His church. We sent a group of summer interns in GEM’s Ten2 Project based in Brno at the time. By working alongside pastor Oleg we can see God’s Kingdom take visible form in the darkest corners of Europe. He commented, “We would not be able to touch more than 100 lives without your help. Most all these people came as refugees from Ukraine.”
Since the camp took place, our partners on the ground have had continued relationships with many of the campers. One woman from the camp gave her life to Christ and was recently baptized. Even now, other campers are going through baptism classes in preparation for their next step of faith.
Due to the success of this effort pastor Oleg hopes that with the help of GEM staff there will be another camp next year. We hope so too as we pray for an end to the conflict which has been the source of so much suffering and upheaval.
Pray with us for continued capacity to maintain resources to help refugees in desperate need as the conflict carries on and Ukrainian refugees continue to resettle elsewhere. Pray also for the spiritual needs of the refugees, that many will come to know Christ because of the care shown to them.
About the author: Jesse Northcutt and his family have been living in Ireland and serving with GEM since 1983.