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Summer Ministry Report 2021

Summer Ministry Report 2021

Guy Restivo Counseling 3 children
Volunteer Guy Restivo counsels with children after the Bible Lesson

by Linda Parzek

“This is SO MUCH FUN!! We’re dancing and singing…can we sing John 11:25 again?”, exclaimed eight-year old Zavion* as he excitedly jumped up and down. What a blessing to be a part of bringing such joy to the 235 kids in the 11 day camps in Paterson where we conducted clubs this summer. They enjoyed the songs and games, of course, but many listened intently to the Gospel lesson brought each day and responded with many questions.

This is CEF’s 22nd year conducting 5-Day Clubs in Paterson day camps. Each day, trained volunteers teach an evangelistic Bible lesson, memory verse and prayer time, as well as leading fun games and upbeat songs. It seemed that the children were hungrier for answers to their questions this year, probably after going through all the changes due to the pandemic. In any case, in addition to the barrage of questions during the lessons, 76 children were counseled after the lessons and 24 of them made first-time professions of faith in Christ. One of them was a 17-year-old counselor in the camp! It seems that every year there is at least one counselor who outwardly professes Christ in one of our clubs. One of the campers, after coming aside for counseling, asked if she could pray for us, and she did!

A camp director remarked how happy he was with CEF coming to his camp. His daughter loved the program and couldn’t stop singing the song “His Name is Jesus” at home. He asked if we have more literature for the kids to read other than what we already gave them in their take-home bags.

When 12-year old Jazir* saw our team coming with obviously different colored skin than the campers, he made it a point to yell out “We’re not racist!” The children are very aware of the political unrest in the country, yet only a couple of children could tell us the name of the first people on earth. After hearing the story of blind Bartimaeus, one of the questions asked in the review game was “What was the name of the man Jesus healed of his physical and spiritual blindness”. One girl excitedly proclaimed, “Bartimedicine!”

What joy to bring the Good News to these children, many still living in the darkness of sin, and see some come to the Light. We heard outbursts of kids learning of Jesus and the things of God for the first time exclaiming things like, “So everywhere I go God is with me? WOW!!” Wow, indeed!

In August we had the privilege of conducting a club during the Paterson Salvation Army’s VBS program. One of the boys from the neighborhood brought questions for Mr. Rich every day.

Please join me in being thankful for the four teams (3 in day camps, 1 at the Salvation Army) comprised of 24 workers from 8 different churches, who made it possible for us to reach the 242 kids who heard the Gospel in 36 club sessions in 12 locations. We held one 5-Day Club, six 4-day clubs; one 3-day club; and four 1-day clubs this summer.

We’re especially grateful for the youth leaders and 5 teens who came up to serve from the New Life youth group in Toms River. Thanks to The Chapel for housing them and for providing our base camp at Crossroads Campus, and to all who prayed for this ministry.

*Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.