On the 30th June, Ian Liggett brought a team of 21 people from north and south of Ireland to Latvia to lead Drop Inn’s annual summer youth camp.
The camp has increased in popularity over the years and this year over 80 kids between 11 and 17 years old made their way to an old school building in Zebrene.
In recent years, we have been so blessed by Darryl Bain and some of the guys from the church he leads in Armagh, Vibe, join us with their youthful energy and many talents. The diversity of this years group of leaders meant we were able to run workshops for music, drama, self-defence, photography, sports and cookery as part of the weeks program.
The young people had travelled from many different parts of Latvia, some from the orphanage, others from various churches and villages, one young guy travelled 4 hours to be there. Much of the talks throughout the week proved very significant as they heard about relationship with God but also relationships with each other.
There was a deep work took place in the lives of many of the young people, for example, the leaders witnessed a young girl who had been bullied as a child experience freedom, another young boy was able to forgive those who had wronged him, another young girl disgraced because of past mistakes also experienced freedom.
No slow build
Ian and the team didn’t go for the slow build up to end the week of with a bang. They wanted to start how they wanted to finish. Right from the first worship song on the first morning, they were desperate for the presence of God. They had the incredible joy of leading 18 young people on the way of following Jesus. This happened at the start of the week so the team were able to spend the rest of their week helping to disciple them and encourage them to get involved in their local church when they returned home.
It would be very difficult to run these camps without the hard work of our partners on the ground in Latvia. Gena and his team get the camp prepared, sort out travel arrangements and get all the supplies needed for the week. During the week their ability to translate allows for better, more effective communication with the young people.
One of the girls who helped translate is Eugenia, this is what she had to say about her week.
I am thankful and glad that I could be a part of God’s work in the lives of others during the camp. It was amazing to see how teens were changing over the week - they opened up, accepted Jesus as personal saviour and deepened their relationships with God. And I do believe that this 5-days concentration of God’s love will continue to bring fruit after the camp in the lives of teens and team.Every day I felt so encouraged and motivated cause I wanted to see what God is going to do today. And every day was really special - it was a lot of prayers, conversations and just fun.Eugenia
Main points for me:
- Teens and people in general are hungry for love and acceptance.
- Doing small things — for example hugs, giving time, conversations, praying together etc. — brings deeper relationships and makes a longterm influence in the lives of others.
- Sharing your story is important, it shows others that they are not alone in their struggles and there is a way out. It encourages others and helps to open up as well. It shows the God’s love and work in a practical way and let others believe that God can help them too.
You can’t love others when you don’t love yourself.