God’s love has no language, cultural barriers
By Deborah Leuthold, Photos by Stella and Olivia Frasca | Jul 20, 2021
Kids having fun comes in every language. Add cool weather, tall pines and the gospel and you have a special youth church camp at Camp Wamatochick in Prescott, sponsored by Live Love Ministries in Casa Grande and supported by First Baptist, Mayfield, Kentucky, among others.
“We wanted to provide an opportunity for youth in all the communities we serve to go to camp,” said Eric Gibbs, North American Mission Board missionary and director of Live Love Ministries, which has ministries spanning southern Arizona.
Students who have completed 6th grade through college, from multiple communities, including the Tohono O’Odham Nation, Gila River Indian Community, Pinal County Cowboy Church in Casa Grande, and African refugees were whisked off to Prescott for five days, June 27-July 1, to enjoy the outdoors, fun activities, water games and team competition.
However, it was not just fun and games. The students were immersed in worship, Bible study and opportunities to encounter God, and seven accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. Total attendance was 101 campers.
“The mission of this camp is to share the gospel with students and train them in Bible study, discipleship and evangelism,” Gibbs said. “Those that have been to camp before say they look forward to it all year long. The hope of all involved is that the students develop a Christ-centered outlook from what they learn at camp and are strengthened in their walk with the Lord.”
Although the students come from a variety of backgrounds, the message is the same to all: God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.
Godelive Sadiki, 20, a refugee student in Phoenix, looks forward to camp every year.
“Living in a world that does its best to disprove God and keep this generation from following truth, it is always good to come together as children of God to glorify God and to be reminded that we are not alone, to be reminded that there are still some of us who really want to walk like Jesus,” Sadiki said. “We also need to be reminded that we have a mission to help our brothers and sisters come to Christ. We must not forget we have a future with hope … this is why I look forward to camp.”
The yearly camp is a joint effort of many churches and people.
“I look forward to the camp because it is a great opportunity to serve the students by leading them in worship and helping point them to Christ,” said Steve Dokka, originally from India and now serving as a worship leader at Pinal County Cowboy Church. “Some of these students are hearing about Jesus for the first time.”
Among other individuals and churches who have offered support, First Baptist Mayfield has sponsored the camp for seven years. They spend the year raising money, planning activities and provide volunteers to help run the camp.
All of the effort is well worth it to see the impact on the lives of the camp’s participants.
“The students traveled from many destinations to sit together in one place as a single body of Christ to learn more about Jesus,” Gibbs said. “They became connected with fellow believers despite their differences and now better understand what it means to live for Christ.”
The prayer of Gibbs and his team is that these five short days make a lasting impression on each student and their communities at home.
—Stella and Olivia Frasca contributed to this story.