It’s summer in Lima.
You might have seen my numerous tweets about sunny days in Lima, or the beautifully blue sky reflected in Facebook photos. While students in the States are in the middle of their second semester, Peruvian schools have just a few more weeks of summer vacation and people are enjoying the hot, sunny weather to go to the beach. And with summer vacation in full force, the Scripture Union camping ministry has been busy putting on weekend and 4-day camps at Kawai.
Earlier this week, I was able to help with a summer camp organized by Carmen, one of our schools workers in Lima. During the school year, she goes into classrooms and leads values education discussions with students – teaching them values such as honesty, respect, and integrity through Bible stories, skits, songs and activities. This ministry is then complemented by camping program during the summer months.
In addition to visiting various classrooms, Carmen also works with an organization called Aldeas Infantiles SOS, bringing values education to the children and teens that are part of their program. Similar to our Girasoles abandoned boys ministry, Aldeas SOS works with disadvantaged families and operates homes around Peru (and the world) providing a home life for children who for certain circumstances cannot live with their own family. This past week, Carmen hosted a camp in Kawai for the teens she works with at Aldeas SOS.
There were 27 campers and 6 guias (guides) helping lead the camp. Since this was my first Scripture Union camp, I didn’t have my own campers, but rather was entrusted with the task of documenting the activities and events of the 4 days with my camera and video camera so each camper could receive a CD of photographs and videos from the week.
Since Kawai is located right on the Pacific Ocean (our property ends at the public beach) and being summer, the campers wanted to spend as much time as possible in the water, whether it be the beach or the pool. Between trips to the beach or pool, we had time for games, team building activities, and morning and afternoon devotionals. With the exception of 2 campers who I had briefly met over lunch a few months ago, all of the campers were new faces. I spent the 4 days getting to know the girls in the group, sharing a part of my life in Lima and the States and learning a bit about their families and life in Aldeas SOS. Once they discovered I also speak English, I found myself teaching phrases and words here and there.
One of the best activities of the week was the bonfire on the final night of the camp. By this point, I had gotten to know most of the campers and they had bonded within themselves. During the bonfire, we sang songs and listened to a handful of campers and guias share their experiences from the previous days. Listening to the campers share funny stories and “remember when” comments helped realize the importance of the camping ministry. While these and thousands of other students are reached on a weekly basis in school, a camp gives them 4 days of fun, laughter, encounters with God, games, and fellowship with other students their own age.
Here are some of the photos I took during the week.
One of the tents the campers stayed in.
One of Kawai’s beautiful summer sunsets.
The Aldeas SOS campers and guias before heading home.