A new Children’s Camp & Retreat Center in middle Chile (roughly five hours south of Santiago) is in its initial stages of becoming a reality. On the drawing board is a Christian camp & retreat center with an emphasis on ministering to children and hosting retreats of various kinds, including marriage encounters, church retreats, and special presentations and seminars. It will also serve as a Christian Center of outreach to people of the surrounding area such as periodic medical clinics and programs for the elderly. At present there are few other such outreach-based Christian camps located in Chile that we know of. We are, at present, conducting summer camps on a 6-acre parcel of land owned by Domingo & Sandra Aguayo, partners with us in the project. An important first step will be the creation of a Foundation and supervising board consisting of several people who will govern the use and management of the property into the future. This and other “first” steps are presently being taken by Domingo & Sandra, Jack & Janine, and others helping in specific ways.
Other first steps of Stage One include:
- Reviewing the Aguayos’ property’s site map to delineate the exact land to be used for the Christian camp/outreach center. This process has been finished. but 30 to 50 acres of multiple terrain land will be needed to accomplish the bigger vision for the camps & retreat center.
- Look at other large parcels of land in the same area. We are presently in contact and conversations with the owner of a much larger parcel of land. We have also broadened our search into other middle Chile areas and there are others helping us look.
- Regarding the new Foundation:
- Meet with the notary/attorney who will be both deeding the land toward its new purpose and setting up the legal board to direct the work forward. (Also a process in motion, scheduled for 2017)
- Initial board members (four of us, at this point) are setting vision and steps in place. We need more vision-minded board members.
- Determine placement of different ministry facets of the camp/center within the land. As we go forward, a multi-purpose building , including a large room, kitchen and baths, and wings for sleeping quarters will be built, along with an outdoor amphitheater and other camp-related equipment and structures, possibly including an outdoor built-in pool. Designated locations for tent camping, along with the building of some cabins will also be decided on. Projected costs will be determined as we go forward.
- At present a well has been drilled on Domingo’s land.
RIGHT CLICK ON THIS LINK AND OPEN TO SEE AN EXCELLENT VIDEO PRESENTATION OF POTENTIAL LAND AND PROJECT: https://vimeo.com/131370462
Ñipas is located roughly 5 hours south of Santiago between Chillán, Chile on the east and Concepción, Chile on the west coast. It is also the specific area where the Children’s Camp/Christian Center LUZ EN EL CAMPO is to be constructed. The long-term vision of the Camp and Center includes this whole central region of the country, where nothing of this type of Christian influence exists. Concepción, on the coast, is Chile’s second largest city.
WE WERE EXCITED TO BE ABLE TO HOST A 3-DAY VBS IN THE SAN IGNACIO AREA OF ÑIPAS IN FEBRUARY 2016, given the local school for all activities. The VBS was based in the story of Joseph, in Genesis, and consisted of lessons, games, handicrafts, songs, puppets, videos, fun in a swimming pool, and even learning how to play musical instruments. The children then put on a presentation for their parents the last day. All activites were designed for children of 6 to 10 years of age, and roughly 26 children participated. Our 14-member team outdid themselves. All children received an illustrated New Testament. Here are some photos of the fun and time together.
A main ingredient in it all, as mentioned above, is the forming and developing of relationships in the area. Healthy, active, working relationships with the municipalities, churches, and neighbors in the immediate area will be crucial if we are to have their support and participation.
IN LATE JANUARY/ FIRST DAYS OF FEBRUARY 2017, TWO SEPARATE VBS’s WERE HOSTED IN THE AREA–one in the same San Ignacio school and one hosted in a local church in the center of Ñipas. Both VBS’s were successful (26 participants in the school and 35 in the church) and our relationships with area children, their families, and two area churches were further enhanced. This year’s theme was La Vida es Valiosa (Life is Valuable!) and many children professed faith in Jesus as Savior & Lord. Here below are four photos–the first two taken during the first VBS and the second two at the church:
IN LATE JANUARY 2018 WE HOSTED OUR FIRST TWO 3-DAY “CAMPS”, with some good steps forward in terms of their design. We included tent camping for children interested (with parental permission. We altered the age range of the children to between 8 and 14 years of age. We also conducted all daytime teachings on the Aguayos’ property in an area covered by many large trees.
This year’s theme was JESUS, THE CREATOR, and our main Bible verse Colossians 1:16. The setting was perfect in the woods as we went through the six days of creation, man’s fall, and restoration through Jesus. Lessons and discussions were tied to the lives of the children. Choosing Jesus, they become points of light now, and one day will know again the same perfect harmony and glory of a good, loving God that Adam & Eve experienced in the Garden in God’s presence. We used Adam & Eve puppets, a snake puppet, and Cain & Abel puppets. We also were awed at night with clear view and presentation of the stars. We had a first camp attendance of 16, with 7 camping in tents and a second week attendance of other children of 19, with 11 camping in tents. THANK YOU, LORD! Below are an assortment of photos from the two camps:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. –John 14:12
THANKS & PRAISE & PRAYERS
Our two January summer camps for children just ended and we are giving God thanks and praise! The above verse was used to highlight this year’s theme and teaching that God uses ALL of us, including children, who belong to him through Jesus to carry out his work. There is no limit to what he can do through us because we who belong to him have ALL of God in us, including his power. The children needed to know that this is a daily thing—not just a camp thing—all because God loves them and has chosen them and wants them to grow in him. In reality, John 14:12 is an important verse for us all to own and practice!!
Many of us have heard of CIY (Christ in Youth) in the States. We have given our yearly camps the name of ¡VaCAN! You are probably shaking your heads, asking “What does THAT stand for??” Our generation in the States used to say, “COOL!!” when we really liked something. Here in Chile young people especially say, “¡VACAN!” Similar to CIY, the CAN in VaCAN stands for Cristo Ama a los Niños (Christ loves children). The Va stand for Voy a (I’m going to….) In English, the the full word ends up to be, “I’m going to Christ Loves Children”. Since VACAN! means something really special, it ends up being something that people will easily remember. Thus, our summer camps are now, ¡VaCAN!
The above is quite a short summary, of course, of the camps. They included teachings, small group times, games & fun, pajama parties, the outdoors, and lots of support and interaction with the young adults who carried out the activities. The first camp in Ñipas ran 3 days, with 42 children participating with a team of 13 young adults (and me Jack 😊). This was our fourth year of “camp” in Ñipas. The second camp in Licantén—2 ½ hours northwest of Ñipas—ran 2 days, with 32 children participating with a team of 16 of us. Most of the Licantén children were not from the church, but were friends and relatives—another reason to praise God. This was our first year of doing the camp there, alongside of the church. Please pray that all of the children from both towns would go forward with a real Jesus in their lives.
The two biggest blessings of the camps:
- The teaching was God/Jesus centered, concentrating on his love, hope, and power through us. We used the Biblical examples of Esther, Joseph, Josias, and David, ending with Jesus himself.
- All of the young adults were well-prepared for their teachings (they coordinated and ran all teachings and other activities). Even more important, they all were totally-connected to their work and with each other, giving 100% of themselves in interacting with the kids and especially in reaching out to the ones who were harder to connect with. Here below are some of the many photos we took: