By Karen Hallberg, Director of Mission Mobilization and Connection, Covenant World Mission
Since 1967, Covenant Camps and Covenant World Mission have partnered together. Lives are being transformed all around the world, because of the generosity of camp participants. Throughout the years, campers have given offerings in support of National Church partners engaged in ministries unique to their settings, reaching people of all ages with the love of Jesus Christ. This summer will likely mark $1 million for the offerings since this partnership began!
Alpine Camp & Conference Center, in Blue Jay, CA has taken their participation in summer offerings to new levels in Colombia and Thailand. “La Rocka”, outside of Bogotá, is a camp run by the Covenant Church of Colombia and the recipient of the 2009 camp offering. Monies collected made it possible for the national church to purchase camp property and upgrade its facilities, releasing funds collected by the Colombian churches to go directly to camper scholarships. John Gehring, executive director of Alpine, consulted Mauricio Bunch along with other Colombian camp staff, regarding site and ministry development in a visit to the prop
erty in August 2010. This conversation led to sending José Gonzalez, a part-time Alpine staffer, to Colombia as a consultant in developing extreme sports at La Rocka in December 2010. José brought along donated paintball equipment to resource the Colombian camp. John returned to Bogotá, as he and José were the main speakers at La Rocka’s summer youth camp. As this relationship continues to deepen, John plans to return to La Rocka. He dreams that someday young adults from Los Angeles who participate in Alpine’s Camp Mosaic will become involved with mission in and around Bogotá, supporting the work of the Covenant Church there, as they share the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ with people in desperate need of hope.
The 2010 summer offering was given to Camping Ministries in Chiang Mai and Roi Et, Thailand. In April 2010, camp directors Tom Cousineau (Covenant Heights), Bryan Hayes (Mission Springs) and John Gehring traveled to meet with the newly formed Camp Board of the Covenant Church of Thailand. The directors went to learn about ministries and vision, share ideas, and participate in a work camp. More than 60 Thai men and women joined the directors and Covenant missionary, Randy Bevis, for a work-week to develop the camp property in Roi Et. Last summer’s offerings aided with building a road, cabins, and a drainage system for the athletic fields, as well as laying sod and providing start-up funds for a meeting hall. Although construction of the camp facilities is still in process, the Thai churches are using what’s there to run soccer camps. Twenty camps are scheduled for 2011, as people are gathering, learning skills, building new friendships, and discovering the love of Jesus Christ. In April 2011, two staff members from Alpine traveled to Thailand to help pour the foundation footings for the camp meeting hall during another work-week with 50 Thai men and women.
Alpine Camp serves as a model for ministries seeking to engage in global ministries. What can be learned from their response?
1) be aware of what God is doing around the world,
3) listen to where God leads as you look at the resources around you,
4) build relationships,
5) be creative,
6) be generous in giving what you can,
7) let Jesus do his good work in you,
8) be courageous in stepping out in faith, and
9) give God the glory.
The Camp project for 2011 is Camp & Sports Ministries in Asbest, Russia. This profound partnership between campers and international ministries continues.