HISTORY AND REASON FOR OUR BIBLE CAMPS:
Siloam’s Bible camps are not to be confused with vacation Bible schools which a number of organisations hold in different parts of the world. Siloam’s Bible camps endeavour to take the youngsters they are seeking to win for the gospel of Jesus Christ away from their negative home situations and provide the right environment during which the gospel message can be clearly understood by children and teenagers of any nationality.
Siloam believes that the only way to rescue a youngster from a lost eternity is to bring that young person to a clear understanding of their need to acknowledge their need for forgiveness, for living a life which comes short of that demanded by a Holy God.
It is only when a youngster realises just how much they have offended a Holy God that they can begin to realise the seriousness of their situation and possible forfeiture of their eternal life and an assured place in heaven.
Also, Siloam believes there is no better way to prevent a young person from becoming entrapped in a life of crime, addicted to alcohol, tobacco and even more harmful substances, than by arranging a personal confrontation with the Holy Spirit who can provide the conviction needed to realise one’s hopeless state before a Holy God.
This is the motivation for this activity that is Siloam’s most popular outreach ministry, that of winning young people for the Kingdom of God and empowering their future lives to live as born-again dedicated disciples of Jesus Christ.
Siloam knows that if you take a young person away from their negative home situations for a relatively short period, a window of opportunity can be provided for a youngster to fully appreciate their need to change the direction of their lives.
Usually it takes 3 or 4 nights away from home before a youngster begins to become more malleable to the teachings of the Holy Spirit provided by our dedicated youth workers who clearly and prayerfully present the gospel in an understandable and challenging manner.
The Bible camps themselves are full of practical and spiritual activity. By interspersing challenging physical activities with periods of interesting and culturally relevant talks and discussions about the Bible and what it means to become born-again; youngsters are far better equipped away from the distractions of everyday life which are often very negative, to be able to make that informed decision about following the Lord Jesus Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to give them guidance for the future direction of their lives.
The camps are usually held in rented buildings suitable for youth outreach in rural parts of the country where fresh air can be enjoyed and the relative isolation of the facility meaning that no unhelpful or harmful outside influences can have their sway.
In the Ukraine, the children usually spend time under canvas in the forest and in Bulgaria our camps are held in specially designed youth facilities which were formerly used by the communist government to influence future young communists! In Portugal, Romania, Poland the camps are usually held in rented facilities designed for catering for youth and by conducting them at certain times of the year which are less expensive, our co-workers get more for their money.
Some children are able to at least provide a little towards their costs which helps our costs, which in turn helps the youngsters value their attendance. Siloam usually makes the major contribution for the camps which ranges from between £4,000 to £6,000 for a camp depending upon the numbers attending and duration. Usually camps cater for between 50 and 100 youngsters who are always cared for in safe surroundings to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
The camp’s duration is usually 7days at the most but at least 5 days, otherwise we believe, the important aspect of taking a child away for a good number of days from their negative environment will not apply.
So, a child’s place at camp usually costs between £50 and £80 depending upon the duration and the facilities used.
Every opportunity is provided to give the children 3 good square meals per day and allow for other healthy refreshments in addition.
Siloam’s Bible camps first began in 1985 in Portugal and later as the political situation in the former communist world improved, Siloam was able to provide camps run by local churches in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, and the Ukraine. In the past we have also provided funds for Bible camps in the Philippines, Moldova and Slovakia where we lost a valuable worker who became a victim to cancer. In more recent years, we have reached out to the children of Peru. Our Bible camp co-workers, who are all faithful members of the local churches through whom we operate, send us photos, reports concerning their Bible camps as well as details of financial expenditure which Siloam believes is vital to monitor as we are dealing with valuable donations sent from donors who often give sacrificially.
Our co-workers overseas ensure that the workers are compliant with the prevailing child protection issues which have to be carefully followed and closely observed.
UK volunteers who would like to go and help out in a camp have to be C.R.B checked or the equivalent, to ensure that they meet the strict criteria demanded when working with children and vulnerable young people.
Please look at our extensive photo gallery which will show you far more eloquently than words can, about the activities of the camps and the obvious joy it brings to the youngsters as well as those seeking to win them for the Kingdom of God. Siloam’s annual budget for this programme is between £25,000 - £28,000. Only 3 camps were held in 2020 and none in 2021 due to the ‘Covid-19 / Coronavirus’ pandemic but we are looking forward with confidence to starting our future programme with our winter Bible camp in Poland in Jan / Feb 2022. (God willing).
(Top left) Our Bible camps usually ‘kick off’ at the end of January beginning in Poland. Here children enjoy a youth facility on the Hel Peninsular on the Baltic Coast.
(Middle) These children in Romania really delight in making handicrafts which not only they enjoy making for taking home as souvenirs of what they have learnt spiritually. Our camps in Romania are conducted with the help of (P.R.R.) Project Romanian Rescue.
(Bottom left) These children in Peru play a game which is very popular in which a sponge is filled with water and passed overhead and emptied at a receptacle at the end of the line.
(Top left)The children outside their cabin accommodation at the Nelson campsite at Yankas 2½ hours by bus from Comas, Peru.
(Middle) Polish children enjoying the good food offered at the guesthouse/lodge. Indeed, many of these children were overwhelmed by the choice of food they could enjoy.
(Bottom left) This game is very popular with the children of Peru. The camp is held in the mountains away from their homes at Comas, which is a hillside suburb of Lima situated on the edge of a desert.
(Top left) Our host Pastor Marek Ciak using visual aids and encouraging scripture memory verses to make his gospel message come alive.
(Middle) At this camp in Poland held in 2019, 58 children aged between 8 and 13 years of age attended.
(Bottom left) Taking the opportunity to enjoy the local culture by visiting the Fishing Museum and the Seal Aquarium in Jurata on the Hel Peninsular, Poland.
(Top left) This resort for the children in Poland situated in the Carpathian Mountains offered beautiful views
and an opportunity for the children to enjoy the ski-lift attraction which many thought were amazing.
(Middle) On another excursion for the Polish children, they were taken
to Smuszyna Zdroj where they enjoyed a pottery workshop.
(Bottom left) This group of 44 children from Romania were supervised by 4 P.R.R staff and 6 other volunteers.
(Top left) One of the highlights of the visits for these children in Poland was a
visit to one of the largest caves at Jaskinia Niedzwiedzia.
(Middle) The Polish children waving to their sponsors across a River Poprad.
(Bottom left) Arriving at camp to enjoy their well-appointed accommodation in Peru at the Nelson Camp at Yankas.
(Top left) Here is another game played by these kids in Peru, where you blow a table
tennis ball along a line of cups filled with water.
(Middle) One of our team leaders (on the right) supervises the mealtime after a long day of enjoyment at camp in Peru.
(Bottom left) Pastor Roman Bevz, the youth Director from the Chernigov Baptist Church organises the events in the Ukraine and pays special attention to how children are spiritually nurtured and cared for.
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Romania Bible Camp 2020
Poland Bible Camp 2020
(Top left) This camp is usually held under canvas and they were able to enjoy new tents for the girls which provided a safe and dry environment as well as a pleasant place to study and sleep.
(Middle) At the Crossroads camps held in the forest of the Ukraine, the organisers endeavour to be imaginative and encourage youngsters to stretch themselves physically as well as spiritually. Safety of course is paramount as the children learn to ‘stack the crates’ one on top of the other to reach their goal.
(Bottom left) Please don’t try this at home unless you have all the safety equipment you see here. This activity helps to build confidence and to overcome the fear of heights and teaches youngsters to put their trust in others who are holding the safety ropes. Many spiritual lessons can be learned from this exciting activity which is a real hit at the Crossroads camps in the Ukraine.
(Top left) Helping to treat every child as special is the task of every Ukrainian volunteer as the team endeavours to win them over with the love of Jesus Christ. In the Crossroads camps, many children choose to follow the Lord Jesus.
(Middle) Yes, it says, ‘I love God’ in the Ukrainian language. So now you know a little so you can impress your friends!
(Bottom left) Siloam is privileged to partner with the R.O. Chernigov Christian Mission in the Ukraine headed up by Pastor Peter Bevz. These camps are held in the forest under canvas.
(Top left) At our extra winter Bible camp, we empower our host Pastor Marek Ciak and his wife Iwona to reach young people with the gospel who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Hel Peninsular is a very scenic part of Poland and probably unknown to most Siloam readers. It is an area of outstanding natural beauty consisting of a long peninsular 35 kilometres long with a width differing between 200 metres to 3 kilometres at its tip.
(Middle) Siloam believes it’s very important to intersperse times of worship and Bible study with practical activities. This is a well tried and tested formula for reaching the hearts and minds of young people everywhere with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
(Bottom left) Marek Ciak is one of the leading evangelical Pastors based in Goldap, on the far northeast border of Poland. We are happy to have known Marek and worked with him and his wife Iwona for nearly 30 years.
(Top left) Providing spiritual food to nurture these youngsters in the faith that many come to accept at a Siloam Bible camp at Yastrebino in Bulgaria.
(Middle) Nourishing and imaginative food is important and these Bulgarian children really enjoy coming to camp which is held on the site of an old former communist youth camp near Bulgaria’s ancient capital, Veliko Turnovo.
(Bottom left) This large playground is ideal for youngsters to exercise and play games in.
(Top left) Bulgarian youngsters seem at home in a classroom type environment where they are being spiritually stretched concerning their understanding of the scriptures and encouraged to respond at question time.
(Bottom left) In the evening meetings at the camp in the Ukraine held in the forest, there are times for testimonies and praise with many young people coming into a personal relationship with their Saviour Jesus Christ, for the first time.
(Top left) Morning exercise is also a good opportunity to get these Ukrainian youngsters to let off steam in the time before breakfast, which will also reinforce their healthy appetites.
(Middle) Most of the activities in the daytime are undertaken outdoors in the Ukraine. Thankfully, the weather is usually kind most of the time but there are showers occasionally which cause the children to seek shelter.
(Bottom left) In Peter Bevz’s camps held in the Ukraine, they manage to integrate physically and mentally challenged young people within the group. Indeed, they are welcome and take an active part in many of the activities.
(Top left) Remember, not so many folk in the Ukraine who are physically challenged are able to enjoy facilities like those provided by the Baptist Church in Chernigov, Ukraine. This forward looking church is headed up by Pastor Peter Bevz and his son Roman who acts as Youth Director.
(Middle) This is inside one of the boys’ tents showing the new beds which have been provided by friends in Germany. They have thankfully replaced the old Soviet army beds which were well past their ‘use by dates.’ These youngsters in the Ukraine are really enjoying their time away at camp.
(Bottom left) A quiet space away from the intense activity of the camp to try and learn those important scripture memory verses required for the next day’s session. Youngsters in the Ukraine are hungry for the Word of God.
As the scriptures tell us, “Train up of a child in the way (he) (she) should go; and when he/she is old, they will not depart from it – Proverbs 22: 6
We hope you have enjoyed our gallery of photos taken during recent year’s Bible camps in Romania, Poland, the Ukraine and Peru.<