Yura’s Life Changes at Summer Camp

18 Aug 2016

“Yura! Listen!” hissed the camp leader. “Stop distracting the others.”

The rebuke was a familiar one and one that both Yura and his group leader were growing tired of.

He’d been sent to the camp by his mum to give her a break. The second eldest of six children, 13-year-old Yura seemed to be the one that misbehaved the most. It was hard to blame him. His Dad had left when he was younger. His older brother was in a wheelchair. And his mum worked as many hours as she could to feed the family. Yura craved attention and rarely got it.

Yura craved attention and rarely got it.

A Tough Start

As Yura looked around the summer camp, he could see he wasn’t the only one who had it tough.

For some, this was the only week in the whole year they weren’t in the orphanage. Others lived with alcoholic parents. Many had dads like Yura’s who were no longer around.

The camp is led by Roman (pictured), a recent graduate of Innovista Ukraine’s Tempo programme who has a passion for kids like Yura. His heart grieves that they live with situations no child should ever have to. And the kids know that he genuinely cares for them, affectionately calling him “Uncle Roman”.

They live with situations no child should ever have to.

“I Want to Change My Life”

After a week of games and Bible stories, these 62 kids were given an opportunity on the last night of camp to step into a relationship with God their Father.

Yura, for once, wasn’t distracting the others.

He heard Roman share the gospel and invite anyone who wanted to follow Jesus to respond. Yura quietly counted five hands shoot up. He went to bed that night deep in thought about what he had heard.

The next morning, Yura made a point of talking to his group leader before he went home.

“I want to change my life,” he said. “I want to give it to Jesus.”

“I want to change my life,” he said. “I want to give it to Jesus.”

The Story Continues

The camp finished at the start of August. Since he’s returned home, Yura has set up a spiritual discussion forum on social media to talk with others about Jesus. 50 of his friends have signed up.

Roman and his team are launching a weekly club for the young people. “Tempo helped us to think about what we would do after the camp,” says Roman. “The process helped us see that our primary goal is not the camp, but it is seeing changed lives in these young people.” So the new club aims to link the young people in with local churches to see them discipled.

And, thanks to Innovista’s supporters, three more Tempo groups are scheduled to launch in Ukraine in the Autumn. Thanks to you, these groups will help leaders like Roman to grow their churches and ministries in hard to reach places and bring the hope of Jesus to more people like Yura.

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