Summer Camps - a place to find peace and joy

“Now I see myself differently...”

Sasha is 14 and lives in Rivne, western Ukraine. Her mother works for the security service and her father is in the army – on the front line.

Sahsa said, “Before I lived in Rivne, I lived in Kherson region, in Oleshky – which is now occupied by Russians.

“The town where I spent my childhood is flooded due to the dam explosion. I try not to think about it and I don’t watch the news. Otherwise I would never have any happy days at all.”

Every day, funerals take place in town squares across Ukraine. Today in Rivne there was a funeral of two soldiers. One of them was Maxim, who was just 25 years old when he was killed. He was a committed Christian, and his mother takes comfort in knowing she will see him again. About 10 years ago, Maxim went to one of Mission Without Borders’s summer camps.

With funerals never far away, summer camps – like the one Maxim once laughed and played at – are more important than ever in Ukraine. They are a chance for children to be carefree and joyful, to play and have friends, and maybe for a little while, to forget the horrors of war.

Most importantly, they give children the opportunity to hear about a loving God who is close to the brokenhearted – who will always be with them, even when summer camp is over; even when the war goes on.

Liliya, the leader of the teenage girls’ group at summer camp, shared about how Sasha – who was in her group – felt that God himself gave her this time at summer camp.

Liliya said, “Today we talked and prayed with Sasha. She cried and told us that she feels so happy being here at camp. It’s not because of all the fun, leisure time and good times, but also because she’s finally found what she’s been looking for: this peace, inner joy, and relationship with God.

“I suggested to the girls who are interested in building a life with God that we start up a Bible study group after the camp. Sasha joyfully agreed.

Sasha at Summer Camp in Ukraine
Sasha found peace and joy at Summer Camp in the midst of war in Ukraine.


Summer camp give Sash and other kids in Ukraine a much needed break
Summer camp gives Sasha and other kids in Ukraine a break from the stress of living with war.

“I can see that the girls have a lot of important – and sometimes tough – questions. They are looking for the answers, and I understand that it’s my duty to help them with finding out the right answers.

“One evening we had a special time when Sasha wanted to pray personally to Jesus, but she didn’t know how. I told her not to choose words but to talk from her heart. Later, she hugged me and cried on my shoulder.”
Sahsa said, “Here I was touched by the sense that the Word of God is addressed to me personally.

“I feel that the Bible tells the truth and I can trust it. I never imagined that I could ever have a better relationship with God. I used to pray to God once in a while, when I was in a stressful or difficult situation. Now I want to open myself up to Him, to communicate, to ask for advice, and to build my life based on His Word.”

Sasha found a special peace at camp
Camp gave Sasha the opportunity to discover and grow in her relationship with God

She added, “I can’t really express it, but now I see myself differently. In some ways, I am worse than I thought I was, but in other ways, I am much better and more worthy. I understand that only God can tell me the truth about who I really am.”

The camp coordinator said, “We cannot see children’s hearts, but we have the tools to influence them. We try to provide kids with the atmosphere of true friendship, trust, and acceptance. We realise that when the summer camp is over, they will be back to their usual lives. But we believe that summer camp makes changes. And yes, we believe in miracles too.”

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Kids in Ukraine Cherish Summer Camp

Summer Camp is a time cherished by kids in Ukraine, especially now as they live with the darkenss of war.