Spending a week as part of Youth Camp at Kompas Park was truly a blessing! The leaders were upbeat, dynamic and passionate about the children and sharing the Word. It takes a lot of energy and patience to lead a Youth Camp, and these folks never slowed down, lost focus or stopped smiling. Their genuine affection and deep concern for the children was apparent in every aspect of the week. The entire program – from morning skits to afternoon games to evening talks and prayers – was both entertaining and effective in conveying the true meaning of Christmas.
Since the entire program was wonderful, it’s hard to single out just one aspect of the week that was particularly meaningful. But, having the opportunity to spend time with our two sponsored boys was probably the very best part. My husband and I had corresponded with the boys for quite a while and exchanged photos, so we knew a little about them before we arrived at Kompas Park. Having a chance to actually spend time with them – taking walks, playing games, sitting in the Hall and just hanging out – gave us insights that no amount of letter writing could provide. I learned that Sasha loves sweets, excels at tennis and enjoys doing a bit of acting! And Daniel plays soccer, loves his new fidget spinner, and has a kind and thoughtful heart (he said the Russian word for ‘dog’ in the Telephone game because he knows how we love our dogs!). Both boys lit up when they saw us around camp and we did too! Although we were at the camp for only a week, I feel that I gained years’ worth of understanding of, and closeness to, our boys.
Hope Now is truly making a difference in the lives of children in Ukraine! If you would like to help Hope Now and Kompas Park continue to make a difference, please consider supporting them in prayer and financially. To support Kompas Park camps, consider giving a gift at kompaspark.org. You can also donate to Hope Now’s Volunteer Support fund to help them bring volunteer leaders to camp, gift a Summer Camp Scholarship to send a Ukrainian to Kompas Park for a week, or give to Where Needed Most to help with their current camp needs (at the moment, Sports Equipment is needed.)
By: Teresa Kennedy
Danny and I had the opportunity to go back to Kompas Park Youth Camp in Ukraine this summer, and it was an encouraging week for many reasons. Both of us have volunteered at camp multiple times over the years (this was Danny’s 12th year!), and we praise God that He’s allowed us to be a part of this ministry over the years. There is something truly relaxing and peacefully familiar about driving through Khreschatyk Village into Kompas Park.
I was thrilled to return to Ukraine again this summer to serve at Hope Now’s Kid’s Camp. I wanted a break from my normal routine and to be with my Ukrainian friends again. I desired to be in a different culture and to see the children I’ve gotten to know over the years. I was excited about the normalcy of going to Ukraine again in the summer. But I wasn’t necessarily ready for conviction…
So often I fail at loving people the way Christ calls me to. I am quickly thrown off by my own selfish desires, focusing on my own agenda rather than the needs and wants of others. Truthfully, as Christ followers, we should be constantly in a state of loving others. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier to dislike people who are different from us rather than love them. But Jesus told us to literally love our enemies (which is way easier in theory than in practice, but yet I am called to do this). He modeled what real love looks like; He is love. If I’m honest, I fail every day at loving people like Jesus did.