Peace to you, dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In Tuim (Khakassia) the “Family camp” was held in the SELC parish of Transfiguration. The first such camp pastor Pavel Zayakin organized in 2013. He explained that he saw many Christian parents wanted their children to participate in such activity, but the program of the camps was designed for teenagers. Thus he with the team of volunteers worked out a new “format” where the smaller kids would fit in. Children and parents were excited about the first two camps in 2013 and 2014. Thus, pastor Pavel Zayakin, after the break for the big Jamboree camp in 2015, initiated the third family camp in 2016.
The program was named “Treasure hunters.” For a week children and their parents were studying the Bible passages, which uncover the meaning of the gifts of the Three Kings. “What kind of a king is Christ? How is His kingship revealed in our lives? What does it mean that He is High Priest? How does He serve His people now? Why did He go to the Cross? Why do we call it victory?” — Participants were exploring the Scripture to answer these and other questions. However, they were looking for the treasure not only on the pages of the Book. Three field trips were undertaken to find gold, frankincense, and myrrh. That’s wasn’t easy! It took long walking, climbing up the hills, going down to the cave. From one hand it was a game, kids had fun, and thus they remember Bible story better. From another hand it helped to build a character, when they overcame their weariness, when they pursued the goal. Though these hardships were not so hard, it was very good to be in it with the parents. Surely these camps build up families, when kids and parents live together in the tents, study Bible, talk, meet different challenges, have fun.
Mrs. Tatiana Strukova, who came to this camp from Novosibirsk with her daughter Varvara, says, “It was a great opportunity to be together with brothers and sisters from different parishes of our Church, to talk informally, to discuss theology. I also want my daughter to meet Christian children from others places. I like very much how teachers in these camps conduct Bible classes for kids. They add many activities, like painting, playing, and singing. Obviously, children like it. Also, I see as very important daily matins and vespers. It really frames our life here. This year we had field trips every day, in contrast to the camps held last years. I think it was better for kids.”
This year pastor Pavel Zayakin intentionally was involved less in preparation and carrying the camp. He wanted parishioners from Tuim to take more responsibility. With his help and with the help of Mrs. Oksana Lapkovskaya (Sunday school teacher of the parish in Sayanogorsk), who was a director of the similar event in 2014, pastor Vitali Gavrilov and his wife Anna did a great job! Together with parishioners they prepared the venue and the program.
Pastor Jaanus Noormagi from Estonia, who visited the camp, said, “Everything was not only very well organized (spiritual program and technical things), but the people were happy. All participants felt not as guests, but as one family members. I came from a long travel, and I was just from the road, but immediately felt it. We, the Europeans, feel such things very easily. In Europe, usually individuals are very polite to one another, but they are strangers to each other. But here we all were like one family.”
People from the parish of Transfiguration were involved on different levels. Liudmila Kotova was the cook for the whole camp, Olessya Bebyakina helped with smaller kids, Valeri Gillyazutdinov was in charge of all technical issues. Other parishioners helped with preparation the church building and territory around before the camp and cleaning it afterwards. Finally, the parish in Tuim saw the truth of the words “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Being involved in all this work they realized that they are not just small and unimportant parish in the small town. They are members of Christ’s body, having their place and role in increasing and edifying of the church body (Eph. 4:16).
Please pray for the Lutherans in Siberia, and for developing of the Christian education for children.
“Faith and hope”
Please see attached photos.