Young girls stretch their wings at their own camp meeting
Caring women mentor teenage girls in eastern Russia.
Euro-Asia Division (ESD)
[Russian Federation] For six years, “Stretching Wings,” a camp for young teenage girls, has been held in East Russia Union Mission. Many people ask the meaning of the camp meeting name. It can be said that stretching one’s wings is connected to the age of the participants, twelve to sixteen years old.
At the ages of twelve to sixteen, a child discovers her personal relationship with the Lord—at the moment of self-determination. The adolescent asks herself what it means to have faith in God. Is it my parents’ faith or my own personal faith in God? Sometimes it is difficult to answer this question. A choice stands before young hearts. The question is whether to go into the world full of trumpery and destructions or to choose the way of spiritual growth and consecration of themselves to the Lord.
Each morning at camp begins with prayer reflection and communication. After breakfast, the girls experience a day rich with different events and spiritual guidance. Seminars that help a teenage girl navigate her world are presented. Topics include how to take care of themselves, how to communicate with boys, how to behave in different situations, how to dress. Other training includes how to build boundaries, how not to be driven by the circumstances, how to prevent themselves from being manipulated by others.
Girls are also guided in interactive study of the Bible. Teenagers need to read the Bible story, but they learn from it and process the meaning as they retell the story or act out the story. It is as they experience the story—how the story heroes are behaving, what they are feeling, how they see the situation, what they are saying—that they discover the Word is alive and interesting.
The evening program is designed for each girl’s personality and talent to unfold, in team art or individual recital, through vocal, instrumental, poetry recitation, or drawing performances. The girls also enjoy competing in contests and performing in theater production. Each evening provides fellowship and unity and a healthy amount of games, laughter, jokes, and joy.
Feedback from campers
“This camp helped me learn communicate, overcome the fear to the height, my dreams came true! I liked everything! From “before and after” You know when I will look on the pictures from the camp I will silently remind you and cry. I became attached to many of you! I don’t want to leave! (Nadya Irsha)
“It was great in the camp! I liked communication, spiritual atmosphere, seminars and outdoor games, intellectual tasks, spiritual nurture were ver4y good, they lifted me spiritually very much. I liked the walk, seminars were super. They asked us what colors we would like to color the camp. I think that it would be green because it is compound of two colors -- yellow and blue. Yellow represents joy and good atmosphere with games, and blue -- seminars that made us take thoughts. Everything was great” (Diana Abakan)
“The most important part of the camp is new information that we received. Useful seminars were held every day, and each time we found out something new and exciting. A huge impression was made after a common walk into mountains, communication, games, singing – everything was great! I will come next time again!”
Praise the Lord for these kind words!
Contributed by Elena Medvidi, Women's Ministries director for East Russia Union Mission
Published in Mosaic newsletter, Summer 2018