Volgograd English Camp 2016

Each summer, I look forward to serving the youth ministry of the Christ the Savior Church in Volgograd, Russia, by helping with their summer English Camp. Our team is very international, including English-speaking volunteers from Africa and the United States, who serve with the Russian team from local churches. For the third time, I was the coordinator for the U.S. team and helped to create the English lesson books for the camp, applying what I’ve learned through YWAM’s TESOL program. The goal of the camp is not only to give Russian teenagers an opportunity to practice their English with native English speakers but also to introduce them to God’s love and grace, found through faith in Jesus Christ. The majority of kids coming to the camp are non-believers, while many of the teenagers serving as helpers are believers and came to faith in Christ at previous summer camps. It’s always exciting to observe them growing and maturing in Christ year after year. This year some kids who were in the process of seeking God or showing some interest were invited to serve as translators. One young translator, named Tikhon, still believed he was a scientific atheist. The teacher he was helping, Stan, wondered how this arrangement was going to work and started to pray for him. Little did Tikhon realize God had a plan to work on his heart this summer. It started with two of the Christian girls, Anya and Yulia, who were also helpers at the camp. They knew Tikhon was an atheist, but they were determined to challenge his thinking about God. One afternoon they sat...

Ready to Go Deeper in Russia

Each summer for the past four years, I’ve participated in a summer English camp near Volgograd, Russia, sponsored by members of various location churches. These past two years, I’ve led the team of American volunteers, who come to help with the conversational English lessons at camp and share their lives and love for God with the kids. This year, following my completion of a TESOL course (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) at YWAM Montana, I took on the task of creating the lesson plan for this summer camp. Each year the kids have become more and more receptive to the message of the gospel as we have built relationship with them. The camp organizers felt like this year the kids were ready to go deeper, and God did amazing things in their lives. I met Yarik (short for Yaroslov) on the first day of camp. He was going to be in my lesson group, but when I spoke to him in English, he replied, “I only know German!” I wondered if he was going to be hard to crack, but as soon as he figured out I could speak Russian, he warmed right up. One of our daily activities at camp after our group lessons are over is having one-on-one time with one or two of the kids for an hour. I knew Yarik came from a Christian family, but I didn’t know anything about his own walk with God. I figured he would be a good kid from my group to start with. Most of our conversation was in Russian, as he knew very little English...