Our Southern Africa family of churches, which comprise of 12 countries, have a passion to see the next generation of kids trained and raised in the fear of the Lord. One way in which we do this is by hosting an annual camp for children between the ages of nine and 17 years.

Having been trained by Camp Swamp CC from Atlanta, Georgia, USA, for three years, the 22churches across Southern Africa have held Youth Camps since 2011. God has been gracious in helping us see our camp grow from one week to two weeks of camp, with each one hosting 160 campers.

We have also seen our children understand and appreciate how big the Kingdom of God is, as well as see friendships forged across cultures, races and countries as they enjoyed each other’s company during camp.

Since the introduction of Youth Camp seven years ago, 89 young people have become disciples, 72 are still faithful and the majority have moved on to campus and singles ministries.

Because of distance, high travel costs to and from camp, as well as the number of children within our region, we saw the need to take the spirit of camp to other countries. Through the undying support of Camp Swamp CC and the generosity of the Columbia Church of Christ (South Carolina, USA), in 2015 we managed to start a three-year camp planting in Harare, Zimbabwe and this December, by God’s grace, we will be starting another camp planting in Maputo, Mozambique.

Not only is this camp work spreading across Southern Africa, but we are also grateful to God for how we are seeing souls being added to his kingdom across the region. An amazing story and example of this comes from our member church in Madagascar, after a few disciples in our fellowship of churches in the US and France sponsored two boys, Nico and Tien in 2016.

They live in one of the poorest countries in the world, off the east coast of Africa, where about 70% of the population lives below the poverty line. With the average ticket from Madagascar to South Africa costing $1,200 and an additional $220 for camp, it’s impossible for an average Malagasy family to even think of sending a child to camp. However, for Nico and Tien, the generous donations of disciples overseas made their attendance possible.

Their mere presence at Youth Camp 2016 was an inspiration for the whole church in Antananarivo (Tana) who had felt forgotten for a long time.

The Madagascar church receives disciples from other churches about twice a year.

Nico and Tien returned home from camp and started studying the Bible.

In October 2017, Nico and Tien’s older brother Ambinina (above, second from left) who is a university student, made Jesus Lord of his life, and Tien was baptized in November.

A year later two teen girls, Diana and Safi, attended Youth Camp 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are again grateful to God for making it possible. They loved camp and we are praying for them to grow in their faith and love for God.

God used the camp to help reignite Diana’s father’s faith. Bendere (pictured above on the right) was the first disciple baptized in Tana when the church was planted in 1997. In January 2018 he was restored to the fellowship.

In addition, in August 2018, Nico’s sister Tinah (pictured below) was baptized. She is a campus student.

The Madagascar fellowship was recognized as a church in 1999 and under the leadership of the late Wilner Cornerly, and his wife Chantal grew to around 80. Since the early 2000s, the church has had no full-time staff and their number dwindled.

However, the camp visits of these young people show that there is an eagerness from the young people in the church to establish a relationship with God. It also shows us how one baptism can lead to a domino effect, and that a mustard seed of faith goes a long way to resuscitate, inspire and encourage even a shrinking church.

The Madagascar story is just one of the many stories in which camp is helping inspire faith in our families of churches. At a cost of $220 per camper, we understand that camp is not cheap and many of our children need help to make it to camp. In fact, 40% of the children who attend camp are partially or fully sponsored, and yet God has been faithful and continues to help us achieve milestones.

From having no camp 10 years ago to seeing the first camp of 240 campers in 2011, we have seen God making it possible for close to 500 campers to attend camp in a year, starting in 2018. As recipients of this miracle, we can only say “Thank you, God.”

Thank you, God, for putting it on the hearts of our brothers and sisters in the US to raise money, come to our continent and teach and start camp in Southern Africa. Thank you, God, for the generous givers who help in both small and big ways to contribute for our children to attend camp. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, God.