I want to say a big thanks to all of you for your prayers and support. Camp David Southeast Asia was a big success! They had 142 campers, 80 of whom were first time campers. There were 4 children who chose to follow Christ in baptism and 9 decisions to follow Christ.
We are so grateful for all our partners internationally and in the United States who gave and served to make this camp possible. All of our counselors were returning counselors which was a blessing. Many of them had to miss college classes to be part of the camp. This was a sacrifice they were happy to make for the opportunity to run a camp for children of prisoners in their own country.
Running a week of camp in a somewhat closed country is challenging, yet God granted favor in every direction. The local government granted permission for the event, and non-Christian officials from a juvenile correction facility brough students to be part of the camp.
The camp had 34 staff and 5 of them were older students from a Christian orphanage who served as the support staff who ran the activities, performed skits, and washed dishes. It was their mission and they did an amazing job! Their directors also saw a marked change in these children as well.
Let me share two significant stories. The first was *Re’s story. Re was the teacher of the class that helps children process having a parent incarcerated. Re did the class with me two years ago and we had two phone meetings to go over the material beforehand, but this was her first time teaching the class on her own.
Wanting to give the kids the best experience, Re stayed up late asking God to show her how she should teach and prepare the lessons. The impact of Re’s class was amazing. Each meal time the children were excitedly telling others what they were learning. Two of the children forgave the men who murdered their parents. At the cross ceremony on the last day, the children had tears streaking their faces as the children gave Jesus their painful memories of rape and abuse, for Him to carry for them. God truly answered Re’s prayer.
The second story is about one of the boys from the Juvenile correction facility. *Keyshawn was so impacted by the gospel that he asked to share his testimony before the whole group of 142 students plus staff. Keyshawn held nothing back. He shared how he realized that he had to make a decision. He knew the gospel was true and he knew that if he decided to follow Christ there was no turning back. Not only did Keyshawn trust Jesus as his Savior but later that week Keyshawn also followed Jesus in baptism.
Thank you all for your prayers and support for this week of camp. I wish you could have heard the excitement in our partners’ voices during our debrief. For ministry in a closed nation this week had a significant response to the gospel message. Please pray that the seeds planted in all of the children’s hearts would continue to grow and produce fruit.
Benjamin A. Smith
Founder & Director Camp David International
*Not their real names