06 Dec 2007
Out of the Ural Mountains the waters came ... turbulent, fast moving ... but the river was following a well worn path. It is here in the rich farmland of central Bashkortostan that it found tranquility, peace and solitude.
In the cities and towns, ...day in, day out ... the people travel on the same road; tired, discouraged. ... But only 30 miles from Ufa and near the Sym River... there is a path that few travel. Those who find this path discover hope, ... truth, ... and salvation. In this tranquil, forested area is a group of buildings ... a camp. The entrance sign says “Summer Children's Christian Camp ... SAIL OF HOPE”. Camp Paros Nadhzde is a place where boys and girls, men and women can escape crowded city life and spend a few days of fun, adventure, meeting new friends ... and, ... most important, ... hearing the Word of God.
This campground, was purchased in the year 2007 by the Baptist Union in Bashkortostan. For 15 years prior to this time, the camp had not been used. Consequently, a significant amount of work was required to prepare for the upcoming summer camp.
The main building, ... even with its pealing paint, sagging floor and rusty roof, ... was put to good use. It has several rooms suitable for meetings, dorms, offices and a first-aid station. The building nearby was fixed up to serve as a kitchen for the campers. Small propane stoves were used for cooking the meals. In the back of this brick building, two large heaters provided hot water to wash the dishes. The adjacent tent worked well as a dining hall. It also served other activities including music and worship.
The building planned for the camp director's residence was in very bad condition and required a new roof as well as other major repairs before it could be used for its intended purpose.
The water from the shallow well is used for washing and for the banya or sauna. The banya was in good condition and the wood fired heater generated plenty of heat for the steam room. This was the only place to bathe except for the nearby river.
Water for drinking and cooking was hauled in since the shallow well water was considered unacceptable for this use.
Prefabricated rooms were set up under the shade trees for sleeping cabins; six people in each, ... three on the top bunks and three on the bottom. These small buildings were originally constructed a few years ago when they started the camping activities and must be taken down at the end of summer and reinstalled for the next year's camping season.
The play and game area was cleared of brush and weeds and provided with a small stage. This was perhaps the most used area of the entire campground.
Outdoor toilets were also built but placed a good distance from the other buildings. Of course, there was no running water so no flush toilets.
The first group of campers arrived in July 2007. However, the mile and one half road to the camp was too muddy for buses and vans, therefore the campers walked. Electric power was still not connected by this time.
The following scenes were taken during previous camping activities. Join in the excitement as some of the camp staff tell about their experiences, their plans for the future and their needs.
Zhenya, one of the camp directors, describes twelve days with kids ages 6-13.
(Male voice #2)
The fact that we had no electricity in the camp made some problems for us. We didn't know how to save food without refrigerators and how to take water from the river without an electric pump. We had to pray a lot and be wise to solve all these problems, trusting God in everything.
We had a good kitchen-team too. Thank God for them! The kids always had good healthy food.
We had no shower in the camp – but we had one banya so kids could bathe there once every 2 or 3 days. We also went to the river to swim almost every day.
After the first camp electricity was finally hocked up; however the road to the camp has not been repaired.
Victor and his wife Natalya are camp directors with a real passion for helping children. Listen as Victor tells about the camp activities and his vision for the future. This interview was made in mid September of 2007.
(Interview in Russian – text has been corrected for English narration which will be done in different voice.)
(fade to Victor and Male Voice #1)
At the present time we’ve already conducted a children’s and a youth camp in separate sessions. During the twelve days of the first camp, there were approximately 200 kids here and probably 150 of them were not believers nor were their parents. 50 of the kids had previously been in one of our summer camps. They all heard the Word of God. They discovered the importance of reading the Word of God from the Bible and had their eyes opened in a whole new way. We could have conducted a third camp, but ... instead ... decided to do something even bigger next year.
In between the two camp sessions, a Creative Arts Festival consisting of different music groups from churches of the region was conducted. About 70 youth participated in the practical seminars on topics relevant to youth; they also fellowshipped, rested, and had fun.
After the kid’s camp, we had a missionary meeting here at the campground with all the missionaries’ families including their children. It was a time of fellowship and also a time of improving the campground, such as repairing roofs that leak, etc. We are presently continuing the upgrading process of the campground.
We are planning to have a family camp here in the future and also have a goal to use the campground as a rehab center for young people who have suffered from either alcohol or drugs.
We are not able to use the campground in the winter because natural gas lines have not been run and we have no way to heat the buildings.
We began camp work in 1993 but then it was necessary to rent places to hold the camp meetings. Usually, this was along the White River near Ufa.
Making use of suitable rented places was difficult because of government regulations and property restrictions as well as access to the location. Setting up and taking down the camp was a big effort.
Ownership of the camp gives us freedom to conduct the meetings without government interference. Much work remains before we will be able to realize the full potential of this camp.
We have been blessed by funds from several organizations.
(List on screen)
About $40,000 from different sponsors and individuals was received this year. These monies have allowed us to purchase materials; however, help is needed to do the work.
I’m thankful to the team of foreigners we had who served with us as camp teachers, worked with the puppet ministry, and helped us with arts and crafts.
There are many ways that volunteers can be involved in helping with Camp Sail of Hope and the future of children. Here are just a few.
(scroll on screen)
Victor and Susan, two Americans, shared thoughts about volunteering at the youth camp.
(Female Voice #1)
There were about 80 campers with several counselors and adult workers and a nurse. Each day started with a short exercise program. After this came breakfast of cereal and juice. There were many activities daily as well as a Bible lesson, Scripture reading and a story with Biblical references. They had services in the evening with singing, skits and movies. The movies always related a moral theme and social implications.
The camp was well organized with many opportunities for the campers to share time together, read, play sports, sing, arts and crafts, take walks and get to know each other and the adults working in the camp. The campers shared in the responsibilities of running the camp.
Friendships developed and there were many tears at the end of the camp by both workers and campers. The concern that the workers had for the campers was very evident and touched many lives that would not have had that opportunity if they had not attended the camp. There were at least eight campers that we know of that prayed the prayer of salvation and two that were expressing a desire to get into a church.
You can help change the lives of the young people of Bashkortostan. Jesus will change a life of turbulence, uncertainty and hopelessness to peace, joy and hope. Are YOU ready to set sail for Camp Sail of Hope?
Paros Nadhzde PAR-oos nah-DYEH-zhdee
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. … Romans 5:5
PRAY for changed lives at Camp Sail of Hope.
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