The first Sunday of September, we held a special baptism service at Madona Baptist Church, where some of our camp leaders also professed their faith. While listening to the testimonies, it was particularly interesting to hear that the faith journey of many of those baptized was connected to Eagle’s Wings. For example, Davis, although he only accepted Jesus at the Ukrainian camp at the beginning of August, was already ready to take this big step of faith. Likewise, Paula, despite the spiritual attacks before her baptism, had felt the presence of God and the feeling that this was the right step to take now. Even Liba’s mother admitted that part of her faith journey was encouraged by Eagle’s Wings and her daughter’s involvement in the camps.
These baptisms were a great reminder to us of God’s great plans and how He uses Eagle’s Wings in so many different and special ways. At summer camp, we focus on how best to present the gospel message to the kids. Now, seeing the leaders and even the parents of the leaders being baptized, we see God’s plan at work in each of us who are involved in this great work of His at Eagle’s Wings.
“As Paula’s mentor and friend, it was very exciting for me to be at this baptism and witness yet another step of faith. Paula does not give up in challenges, her heart burns so much for Christ and she reflects in Him in her everyday life. These moments help me understand how important it is to be there for our leaders, not only in the summer, but all year long to listen, give advice and participate in their lives.”Mārīte
God has a plan for everything
The last camp of this year’s camp marathon season took place the second week of August with English Day Camp in Madona. We had only 19 campers this year. It seemed like a very small number at first, but during the week we realized that this was God’s plan and great things can happen in this small camp. The smaller camp was a great opportunity for kids who need extra attention and support during the day and who needed to be at home at night. This also gave opportunity to build a more personal relationship with the children, making it easier to share the gospel with them. The small environment also gave more opportunity to practice and learn English, as well as making closer friendships.
This week would not be possible without our American friends, who came and taught English to the kids twice a day, through various Bible stories and conversations. They also shared cultural differences with the kids, and gave the kids a lot of their attention, which they loved! . Many thanks to them for coming again this year. Thank you for working tirelessly every year and showing God’s love to these kids in the most diverse ways!
Thank you to everyone who prayed for this camp and supported and prayed for our entire marathon of camps as a whole. This summer was truly wonderful as more than 300 kids had the opportunity to experience faith, friendship and fun at Eagle’s Wings!
БУТИ ЗАРАЗ – Living in the here and now
For the second year now, we have held a camp for Ukrainian refugee children at Eagle’s Wings. This year we had 53 kids from refugee centres all over Latvia. Several of the kids had come to last year’s camp as well.
This week it was obvious that the kids really enjoyed camp.. They were excited about almost everything; the games, handicrafts, various attractions, conversations, shared meals, small groups in rooms, worship. The kids also listened to the talks and testimonies with great interest.
This camp was definitely a challenge for some of our Latvian leaders, as not all leaders speak Russian well and many of the kids did not speak English. Due to the lack of a common language, a language barrier should have been a problem, but it was not. The leaders tried to express their thoughts in various ways, the children listened carefully, were patient, understanding and helped. And most importantly, we all understood that emotions and God’s love do not always have to be put into words in order to feel and experience them together. God’s blessings were clearly seen throughout the week!
During these 4 days, many hearts were changed, special friendships were made and the childhood that these kids have been deprived of was enjoyed again. Many thanks to ‘Baltic Global Initiative’ for sponsoring this camp and giving us the opportunity to spend this wonderful week together!
Дякую! Слава Україні!
OTRA ELPA -SECOND BREATH
In the last week of July, the camp ‘Otra Elpa’ was held at Eagle’s Wings. This camp is for youth left without parental care – orphans and foster care kids. This year we had 49 campers from all over Latvia, many of whom had already been to the camp in previous years. However, about the same number came to camp for the first time. This camp is the most emotionally difficult for the leaders every year, as the kids share their experiences and stories and they do not always want to participate in the activities. However, this camp is also emotionally fulfilling as every year we can see how much God works in this camp. The changes in the children and their behavior are obvious, already after the first days of the camp, they dance with joy, sing praise songs, enthusiastically play games, listen to what is said from the stage, and spend time talking with the leaders. On the way home, many shed tears.
It is interesting how they choose to build a different, more sensitive, understanding and peaceful relationship with each other in the camp. As they themselves say: ‘We are in the camp, it’s different here!’. We try to maintain this relationship with young people outside the camp as well, so that they have the much-needed confidant and someone who can tell them the Gospel and show love on a daily basis!
A huge thank you to everyone whose support made this camp happen! Thank you so much for your prayers! God works and does great things in these young people every year. Thank you for giving them the opportunity to hear the Good News and experience this unforgettable week at camp.
“As the camp began, it seemed that I was given by one of the most disjointed teams in a long time. The boys and girls were not compatible. But as time went by, it changed… When the whole team was standing in line to ride the zipline, one of the guys climbed up and said that he would not go any further and would climb back down. Not a second passed when the whole team cheered him on and said: “You can do it !!.” Strangely, no one was annoyed that it was taking so long that he was “not moving”, everyone allowed him to overcome his fear and supported him. It was truly a heartwarming moment that I will remember for a long time! “Agne
After the children’s camp, we continued our camp marathon with youth aged 14 to 18. This 5 day camp is a day longer than the younger camps. The extra day is really important for young people, as here they open up emotionally, thinking about things that are not paid much attention to on a daily basis. Every year, we seem to go deeper because a large part of these young people have grown up going to EW camps. They have already heard the gospel and now are ready to dig deeper. Most of these kids know the leaders, know the camp facility, remember the worship songs and look forward to experiencing these emotions again. This year, it was a special pleasure to hear how many young people were interested in the possibility of serving in the camp next year as leaders.
We feel your prayers every camp and are grateful for them! We see the campers come open and ready to hear about Jesus. Your prayers are also felt in the energy of our leaders, which is renewed every week so that we can all serve fully!
“At the 14-18-year-old youth camp, you can clearly see how everyone maintains some kind of facade or mask in order not to be hurt or to appear stronger than they really are. Again this year, I had the opportunity to see young people discover a real part of themselves, and to see genuine smiles and joy. Those who at first looked skeptically at what was happening, ended up dancing and singing along. This camp was like a sweet treat for me, meeting young people who have been going to the camps for several years, see how they have grown and how their personalities are developing. It is a great pleasure for me to spend time with these youth, because there is nothing forced or fake here. – I am in a circle of friends, and what’s more, I can glorify God through it, which brings great satisfaction and comes as a blessing to both me and them.”Patriks
EVEN THE LITTLE MATTER A LOT
This year’s youngest camp was held in the first week of July for children aged 7 to 8, with 26 campers and 19 leaders. In this camp, the children are divided into smaller groups because they need more individual attention. We saw that the number and diversity of the leaders really allowed the children to connect with an individual leader that they could relate to, a person to cling to and trust during the camp. These were wonderful days for leaders and campers alike, enjoying time together, playing games, singing praise songs and getting to know each other and perhaps hearing about Jesus for the first time.
A huge thank you to everyone for their prayers! Even though the campers were very small, they felt loved, understood. The leaders were able to find both a common language with these kids and the strength to devote such a large part of themselves to them.
“The little girls in my small group all wanted an EW sweatshirt with the camp logo. On the last day, one of the girls, Marta, ran up to me and said: “Did Mellene really give me his sweatshirt?” I didn’t know what to say to her, so I went and found Mellene to ask him. Sure enough, Marta heard right Mellene gave his EW sweatshirt to her! She was so happy. After the camp, Marta’s sister told me that Marta now wears this sweatshirt all the time. I will never forget her joy and smile when her wish came true so quickly and unexpectedly!Paula C.
OBSERVE AND BE NEAR
Our marathon of camps continued with the second children’s camp, with 60 kids aged 9 to 10. We realized at the beginning of this camp, that as leaders we have to remember that these kids are smaller than the ones in the previous camp. You had to be able to observe and adapt. In the end, we managed to find the right way to reach these kids; to make friends, to be happy together, to think together and spend a wonderful 4 days together.
This week we were visited by Liuba and Slavic from Ukraine, who led a wonderful craft time, and the kids also had the opportunity to try archery, which really fascinated many of them. During the handicrafts, many kids chose to create works symbolizing support for Ukraine. It was a pleasure to see that, although many of the children could not communicate with the guests from Ukraine, this did not hinder communication and a wonderful time was spent together.
“At the camp, a special moment for me was when I managed to help create trust in the heart of a little girl. I noticed this girl on the first day of camp, in the first hours we all spent together. She was very quiet and scared, not talking to anyone. I became sad as I saw myself in her – a little timid girl who is easily hurt. I immediately felt that I should be by her side, that this is more than the first shyness that children usually have at the beginning. So I chose to be with her, talking and playing games, sometimes we even just sat together and kept silent. In the end, we became friends and she loved me with all her heart and didn’t want to let me go at the end of the camp. I wanted to stay in that hug for a while longer. The greatest gift was hearing her laugh and seeing her smile on the last night of camp. That feeling cannot be fully described, it can only be understood by experiencing it.”Paula S.
THE MARATHON HAS BEGUN!
This year’s big camp marathon began with jr. high camp. We welcomed 63 kids from several different Latvian cities. From the first day of the camp, we knew it would be a success because everyone made friends very quickly, were ready to participate in the activities and obviously were enjoying every moment together.
The campers were divided into four teams where they competed together in various relays and team building tasks. The kids really enjoyed dancing the new EW summer dance, swimming, listening to the speakers and sharing in small groups during the morning and evening meetings.
This week’s highlight was special guest Miks Indrašis of the Latvian national hockey team, who in May of this year helped Latvians experience a historic moment winning a bronze medal at the World Hockey Championship beating the American team. Indrašis interacted with the campers, answering questions, signing autographs and participating in various camp games.
This is just the beginning of summer! 9- to 10-year-olds will jump into this adventure with camp next week. Thank you to everyone for praying for the campers and leaders this summer and supporting us!
“My personal highlight of this camp was during the last evening’s meeting. After worship, the kids were invited to pray to ask Jesus into their hearts. At first, only a few shyly repeated the words that were spoken, but after a short while, several kids accepted Jesus in unison in a loud voice! At that moment, I was overcome with great excitement – shivers running up my back, tears welled up in my eyes and it seemed that we were all overwhelmed by the great love of God, showing how much can happen in these days.”Betiņa
WE ARE READY!
We’ve had a wonderful training camp last week learning new things together, doing practical jobs preparing the camp for summer, and spending time in important lessons led by the team from Foundry church in Bend, Oregon.
One lesson was about our strengths and weaknesses. We thought about how each of us is important in teamwork. We considered how to use our strengths to solve different problems. We heard several special testimonies, and much much more!. The American team was a great example in the practice of teamwork. They modelled working as a united team, loving one another and giving 100% in everything.
During this week, we finished several work projects so that the camp is now ready for 65 campers who are already packing their bags to be here on Tuesday! We put our heads together to come up with a new game and we were able to remember a long-forgotten one as well. We also spent time together in prayer, worship and meaningful conversation.
The days spent together were a blessing for each of us, a great start to the summer, a huge encouragement and an important reminder of what matters. A big thanks to everyone who was with us this week! Special thanks to the team from Foundry church for sharing, cheering and being with us all week!
Thank you for your prayers, we feel them every day! We are really excited that the first camp starts this week for 11-13-year-olds. We would appreciate your prayers for each camper and leader!