All Nations Center Reaches Kids Through Day Camp
It was the cry of their hearts that they could reach the children for Jesus. The team came together from Wapato, Seattle and beyond to hold a two-week Day Camp at the All Nations Center Church in Wapato, Wash. They spent time in advance planning and praying. Their theme for the camp was “The Sanctuary.”
Each day they fed the children a healthy breakfast and held worships on the topic of the sanctuary, pointing the children to Christ and teaching them to apply the biblical truths in their everyday lives. This was carried out in the three classes that followed worship time. The Bible class taught by Steve Huey, All Nations Center Church pastor, laid the foundation through God’s Holy Word.
Tui Silafau, who taught arts and crafts with Sharon Maiava, said, “We shared the spiritual significance of the pastor’s talk — about furniture within the sanctuary, which points to Christ in every facet of the Christian walk.” The craft was to make different sanctuary furniture each day. The music class, with Samuel and Ashley Fanene, emphasized the message learned from the arts/crafts class through song.
After classes there was a delicious lunch then a field trip to a museum, skating rink, swimming area or the bowling alley. This was repeated Monday through Thursday for two weeks.
At the end of the day camp, the children attended a banquet during which they sang songs learned in music class and recited Bible verses. Both volunteer staff and children were awarded gifts for their hard work.
Ninety-five percent of the children, ages 6–17, attending day camp were of Native American descent with little to no background in Christianity. This began to change as camp transitioned into the second week. “We noticed that the children were changing,” says Silafau. “When we first met the children it certainly was an experience where our characters were being built with more patience. It was not until the staff began to learn more of who these children were as individuals and where they were coming from that we noticed their behavior grow from indifference to respect.”
“I know it had a positive impact because at the end of day camp they could not stop memorizing Scripture and singing the songs,” reports Silafau. “At first they did not want to listen to the music or memorize Scripture. But the more they saw that we cared enough about them to discipline them, the more they wanted to learn and memorize songs and Scripture.”
Following the day camp a group of the older girls, ages 10–17, wanted more Bible instruction so the staff held a mini camp for them. Their Bible knowledge before day camp came from watching VeggieTales. After day camp they wanted to come to church and Sabbath School. They enjoy spending time with Jacinta, the local Bible worker.
This method of reaching kids is more important than many realize. Wayne Hicks, Upper Columbia Conference Pathfinder director, shares the following quote with statistics from George Barna: “If you don’t reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the time they turn the age of 12, there’s only a 20 percent chance that person will ever become a follower of Jesus Christ. And, yet, on the other end of the spectrum, only 13 percent of senior pastors list ministry to children among their church’s top three priorities.”
Spending extra time in prayer and planning and being intentional about teaching Bible truths can bring more people to Jesus and to spending eternity with Him. Reaching children reaches volunteers as well. “Day camp was a very humbling experience. I have seen many walls broken down,” says Nedralani Mailo.
Many of the staff felt it was a blessing to share Jesus with the children and to learn patience. Maiava says, “God showed me through this experience just how valuable every single soul is to Him. Being able to show that to the children through music, arts/crafts and Bible was the best part.”