London's Father & Son Camp Report
The Fathers and Sons had an amazing time in Gilwell Park. Few of us expected the weather to be so cold in late March but the snow did not stop us all getting fired up. With a camp fire devotional where we learned whose voice we really should be listening out for, to end-to-end running in the snow capturing each other’s flags and hiding out with each other in the mud as we played laser mayhem, we slept well by the end of Saturday night.
Some of our younger players are proving to be very shrewd indeed. I was caught out more often than I care to remember by someone shooting me from afar as I thought I had the best hiding place huddled in the snow and mud.
Sunday morning proved to be a memorable service as the kids, with some help from the dads, put on some really funny and uplifting skits. If you are stuck with what to do for a family devotional just get the Mr. T costume from Chris I’m sure that will help!
Life is so busy these days, but this is one event you don’t want to miss. To bond with our sons and see our children build lasting friendships with each other was unmissable.
Great fellowship, great fun and great food (thanks sisters, and Andy, for serving us). What more could a Dad and his son ask for except for the next one to come again soon next year.
Kevin, thanks for organising a memorable and inspirational event
Some of my deepest insights into the Word of God have come while I was trying to figure out how
to communicate it to children. This unexpected benefit of teaching children can offer a personal
motivation for insight and creativity in our role as servants to children. Still, the most obvious and
important motivation is to penetrate the hearts of our youth with a love for God and his Word that
will take them into eternity. It is our job to introduce them to a Savior now so that when they become
sinners they will know where to turn.
It would be wonderful if the hour or so that children spend in class on Sunday mornings were only a
supplement to excellent and consistent Bible instruction from home, but that is rarely the case. Too
often, that Sunday time is the only hope many children have for learning to love, believe and understand
the Word of God. If we are lax as teachers in our preparation and delivery of a solid, fascinating Bible
story, we may face the tragedy Israel faced in Judges 2:10:
“…another generation grew up who neither knew the Lord nor what he had done….”
It only takes a few years—such a brief time of neglect--to alter the course of an entire generation! Our
aim should be to pack as much Bible teaching into each Sunday hour as we are able to communicate and
they are able to absorb.
Take a cue from David, that man after God’s own heart who came to faith in his childhood. Let his
attitude toward the Word inform the elements of faith you will try to instill in the children you teach.
∙ to value obedience to the Word (Ps. 119:2)
∙to memorize scripture (Ps. 119:11)
∙to find practical solutions to life problems in the Bible (Ps. 119:24)
∙to pray (Ps. 119:62)
∙to be confident and courageous when opposed by unbelievers (Ps. 119:42, 61, 70, 78, 115)
∙to prefer righteous companions (Ps. 119:63)
∙to make good choices (Ps. 119:66)
∙to learn of the compassionate nature of God (Ps. 119:77)
∙to trust God
∙to enjoy worship and Bible study (Ps. 119:103)
Our children are growing up in an increasingly godless society. We must prepare them for the
opposition they will surely face. Our role as teachers is a high calling.
If the goals of faith from Psalm 119 undergird the preparation we do for our lessons each week, the
stories we tell, the games we plan, the songs we sing and the crafts we create will have a more focused
purpose. Children should leave our classes energized and eager for their next Bible experience.
Dr. Mark Brings Mukuru to Children in Atlanta!Dr. Mark Ottenweller, who is instrumental in bringing HOPE Worldwide's Early Childhood Development program to impoverished African communities, spoke to the North River children last Sunday about life in Africa, and especially among the children in the Mukuru Slum. The kids were blown away by Dr. Mark's ferocious lion roar imitation, and especially enjoyed watching their teachers attempt some African dances lead by our multitalented missionary. Starting today, the classes for the 3 & 4 year olds up to grade 5 will take up Sunday contributions to raise money for Generosity Sunday with a "Supply Mukuru!" campaign. The money they collect will mean that the children of the Mukuru Slum will now have the school supplies they need for school.
North River Children's Ministry, Atlanta
I once heard a parent say, “Camp is so expensive. Is it worth it?” Times are tough; money has to be appropriated and budgeted...I get that. And yet camp is one of the greatest monetary investments that can be made for our children. In America, it mostly comes down to budgeting; however, that’s not the case in many countries around the world where it is a struggle to cover necessities let alone a camp fee. I know a mother in Jamaica who went without lunch for most of a year in order to save money for her child to camp. Yet, regardless of the location, there can be no other more worthy investment. Why? So glad you asked. In a survey of over 5,000 campers by the American Camp Association, their top three greatest benefits were: 1) adventure/exploration, 2) make friends, and 3) positive identity. Our experience confirms this as well, no matter the country. I believe a week at camp offers kids of all ages chance to grow and gain new experiences. Former Harvard University President, Charles W. Eliot said, “The organized summer camp is the greatest contribution America has made to education.” I believe this to be true for all nations and it is a powerful developmental resource. In particular campers spend a great deal of time with other kids at camp; The Swamp model, in fact, is structured to allow for a sufficient amount of free time and situations where campers play games, interact, compete, eat, hang and learn from others throughout the 9-18 year old age limit. Inherently, they are developing new skills to make new friends, to work together, to manage their conflict, and to achieve a common goal. Our world societies need this before we, at best, grow so afraid that we don’t even try new relationships or, at worst, we participate in them destructively. In addition, campers in a safe and fun environment experience two key aspects of a healthy society: respect and self-integrity. God uniquely made each one of us with all our strengths, weaknesses and variations. A healthy camp culture fosters the individual through mutual respect and acceptance of each person; thus creating the right atmosphere for kids to try new things, explore new thoughts and develop/share their own convictions. All of which, builds a body from the inside out –self-integrity.
When I consider this and the many more benefits, I may go without a few lunches and continue to work, dream and plan to see camps all over the world. Who’s with me?
Executive Director of The Swamp, Atlanta
Teacher Of The Month: Claudia MartinezClaudia Martinez was baptized in the UCLA campus ministry in 1992 and married Mario in 1998 in California. They moved to Atlanta in 2002 and joined North River in 2008. They have five kids, Clarissa (12), Mario (9), Jessica (7), Saria (5) and Laura (3). Busy as she is, Claudia makes time to teach several times a year volunteering in the nursery and in the children's classes. Her heart for the children ensures she is always present and early in class, setting up to teach the children. Ever ready and dependable, Claudia shows us Jesus' heart to love and serve the children no matter how busy we might be.
THANK YOU for teaching!
Gilliane (7), Shishi (9) and Maxwell (8) qualified after a competitive and challenging two day World Youth qualifiers tournament held at Oshwal Primary School in Parklands.
According to teacher Samuel Kimani Ng’ang’a – the coach and the brainchild behind the idea, “the children were idle during the December 2011 holidays and I thought it wise to introduce something that can change their lives, capture their attention and make them be better people as they grow up. “
" However, God had plans for it. It is amazing that we met within three weeks in December 2011 and went to Mount Kenya competition with two of the children and Gilliane became the champion of Mount Kenya. In April 2012 we only had 6 sessions and God has graciously rewarded us by having three of our own children represent Kenya at the highest level of the championship. If you compare the time it takes to train a child and the cost implications then you see how God came in a great way to show how richly he rewards those who humbly and faithfully follow his commands."
Gilliane Otieno won all her seven matches to emerge tops in the under-8 category making her the new national champion in this category. This is her third win in less than six months. In February 2012 she won the Mt. Kenya Open championships in Karatina and in April 2012 won the Naivasha Open championships. She was fourth in the first round of the World Youth qualifiers held in Brookhouse School Nairobi. Her last weekend's win was the second round of the qualifiers and her finishing tops was a big achievement especially considering that she only started playing chess in December 2011.
Raisa Wanjiku (Shishi) finished runners-up during the second round of the World Youth Championships and is the second best nationally in the under-8 category for this year. This is her third tournament. She had also finished second in the first round of the World Youth qualifiers held in Brook house in February 2012 and was third in the Naivasha Open tournament. It was a crowning moment for her to be in the Kenyan team for the World Youth Championships.
Maxwell Wambua surprised everyone by finishing third in the second round of the World Youth Championships at Oshwal Primary School. He won all his four matches on the opening day and proved quite a threat to some of the best players in the country who even tried to use unfair means to take the trophy from him but thank God they did not succeed as fairness prevailed. Wambua was the best improved among those who participated in this tournament considering that he had earlier finished eighth in the first round of the World Youth qualifiers. He won the Naivasha Open championships and was expected to do well when he represented the country in the World Youth Chess Championships.
Kimberly Wanjiku was joint third in the girls’ under-8 category and improved from her earlier fifth position in the first round of the World Youth qualifiers. Though she did not get a trophy since she lost by a tie break to a third placed opponent, she has improved a great deal since starting to play Chess in December. She was runners-up in the Naivasha Open tournament after tying with Gilliane in first place and the deadlock had to be broken by a tie break.
For Abigael Wairimu, despite her busy schedule and lack of training time because of school work, improved her performance during the first round of the World Youth Qualifiers. Though she did not get a trophy, her major improvement makes her a winner in her own right and she is set for big things if she maintains such determination in future competitions.
Teacher Kimani notes that children have a lot of energy which needs to be directed towards doing better things. “Parents should expose their children to activities undertaken by the church for their potential to be realized in time. When we put the announcement the parents who brought their children are those who were curious and had no idea what chess was. Children need to be exposed to things which can challenge them in thinking and concentration as it will enable them to grow as better people.
However, it was not all rosy.” We had challenges at the beginning and started with about 5 children. Controlling them was not easy but God intervened. I was patient with them and some order was restored by the second day. At the moment I have about 30 children I am training and it is amazing to see how the children themselves have reached out to their friends whose parents are not disciples.”
The children received a standing ovation as they were recognized and awarded gifts and trophies by Evangelist John Kilaha. It was very clear that every parent(s) dream is to see their children excel in a given area and becomes more humbling when they excel in God’s Kingdom.
“I feel honoured to have worked with these children and for their parents to have entrusted me with them by going out of their way to make my work easy and enjoyable,” concluded the soft spoken teacher Kimani. He is a teacher at Riabai Secondary School in Kiambu and he is from Macedonia Ministry in Kariobangi Sector.
The children were happy and thanked teacher Kimani for his support to train them for almost nothing at a time when some parents are paying thousands of shillings per session for their children to be taught the sport. Truly it is awesome to be in God’s kingdom!
Last summer disciples from San Diego were able to take an amazing team to Open Arms daycare in La Mission, Mexico where we were able to teach a Vacation Bible School (VBS) in Spanish. There were were about 15 people adults as well as teens that went to teach the kids in the group. Open Arms daycare is a not- for -profit daycare that helps needy families in Mexico.
In September Kiev Church hosted the unique event. It happened for the first time within the International Churches of Christ - the Conference of Kids Kingdom Ministry for Eurasian Churches. The title of the conference was "Into the Future With Faith". Almost 300 brothers and sisters from 26 churches and 9 countries visited Kiev in September to participate in this great event. All 4 regions of Eurasia were presented not just by the participants - even the Organizing Committee consisted of brothers and sisters from different countries.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)
We encourage the children to come into our churches and learn about God, and our Children's Ministries around the world open their doors to thousands of children each week. We hope that these pages provide you with the tools, insights and knowledge you need to teach them.. Let's be the best we can be and encourage one another.
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:16-17)
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Kingdom Kids Editor