What is like to attend Markaz al Bishara's Kid's Camp? Especially if you're a West African child from a rural village? Our ministry partner shared this story about a young man who came to camp in August 2011. We must never underestimate the importance of sharing the Gospel with the next generation:
“Yusif Iddrisu” got up early in the morning and took his bath. The sun was just rising in the east, tinting the sky a beautiful yellowish-red color. Today was a big day. Yusif was leaving his village for the first time to go the city. His mind was filled with the many stories told him by those who went to the city. What if he got hit by a car? Or run over by a speeding motorbike? What if he never returned to his round hut’s dirt floor and grass roof? What if he never saw his six brothers and five sisters again?
Yusif had mixed feelings.
Although, at the age of 12, he was expected to participate fully Ramadan, Yusif chose to attend children’s camp in the city. He had been selected by his school to go, and when the time came he jumped into an ancient, cramped bus along with 29 other kids. They were headed to the big city! The dirt road was pocked with potholes and Yusif’s head bumped against the roof of the bus. He saw many big trucks loaded with farm produce. People sat on tops of the trucks like bees on the honeycomb. Sometimes the dust kicked up by the tires enveloped the road and he could hardly see anything. When he could see, he noticed that everybody was thickly coated with red and brown dust.
Finally, his bus arrived in the big city. Hundreds of bicycles, motorbikes, and cars crowded the streets. Yusif was stunned. Never before in his life had he seen so many vehicles in the same place at the same time! Towering buildings with glass windows and multi-color paint flashed past his gaze. Everything looked so beautiful! His eyes were glued to the traffic lights which controlled the vehicles without a policeman. He then understood what he was taught in class: “When you see a traffic light, there is something you should know: Red means stop. Yellow means get ready. Green means go.”
The bus pulled into the campground by mid-afternoon. After he registered, he was given a room with three other boys on the third floor. It was Yusif’s first time in such a huge building complex and his first time lying on a soft bed with an indoor bathroom nearby. He was also impressed by size of the camp’s auditorium – he had never heard of a “room” that could hold 1,500 people at a time!
After four days of camp with all the lessons, lectures, crafts, puppetry, songs, film shows, games, food, and real friendship, Yusif was troubled in his mind. “The Christianity I have been told about by my elders and people is not what I am experiencing here,” he mused in his mind. “I am beginning to see and love Jesus – the Jesus of the Bible.” The camp’s theme, God Loves Me, began to make sense to him.
During an altar call at close of one of the camp sessions, Yusif gave his heart to Jesus Christ. “Just as the traffic lights directs vehicles, so also does the Bible directs boys, girls, and grown-ups to heaven,” he said.
On the last day of camp Yusif proudly wore his camp T-shirt with the inscription: “God Loves Me.” He jumped back into the ancient bus, bound for his village some 87 miles away. Before he left, he asked one of the camp staff, “Can I please attend next year Kid’s Camp?” He was given the answer, “God willing.”
Last summer, Markaz al Bishara (Center of Good News) hosted 294 kids for a week of camp. The children came from the primarily Islamic region of northern Ghana. More than 50 percent of the kids were of Islamic faith and 78 kids gave their lives to Christ.
This August 2-11, around 450 children will be attending eight full days of camp. Each child receives a T-shirt and camp materials, along with three square meals a day. We are trusting the Lord to provide $20 for each of the 450 expected children. Ask your Father if He wants you to invest financially in one of these kids. You can send a check or give online to “West Africa: Markaz al Bishara.”
Most importanly, we ask you to pray for open hearts as the Lord continues to build His Kingdom through this outreach to Ghana’s kids.