by Tui Silafau
WAPATO, Wash., September 16, 2014 - “I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved” Psalm 16:8.
Lord, prepare me to be a sanctuary. Not only this was theme of our day camp but it was also a yearning within our hearts as counselors to our in God in heaven for these children to experience.
The beginning of the day always started with a lovely breakfast from our cooking staff which was followed by our day camp worship conducted by Jacinta Seiuli. It was our burden from the first day to share with these children the Sanctuary message which points to Christ in every facet of the Christian walk. Ninety-five percent of the children that attended day camp were of Native American descent and had little to no background in Christianity. The children’s ages ranged from six to seventeen. They were split in three different groups everyday: the first group ranged from six to nine, the second group ranged from ten to thirteen and the last group ranged from fourteen to seventeen.
Despite the fact that that they knew little of Jesus, we pointed them to biblical truth and taught them how to apply it to their everyday life through the various classes that followed worship time. The three classes that were conducted every day were the bible, arts/crafts and music classes. The bible class with Pastor Steve Huey laid the foundation for them through God’s Holy Word. The arts/crafts class with Sharon Maiava and Tasi Silafau-Fauoo taught the children the spiritual significance of the furniture within the sanctuary. Shortly thereafter the children would enjoy themselves by making different furniture each day with materials as instructed in God’s Word. The music class with Samuel and Ashley Fanene emphasized the message learned from the arts/crafts class through song.
Following the rotation of all three classes and another lovely meal at lunch time the day camp would head to a different field trip each day. The field trips included outings to museums, the bowling alley, the skating rink and different swimming areas.
As day camp progressed over the first week and transitioned into the second week we noticed that the children were changing. We must admit that when we first met the children it certainly was an experience where our characters were being built with more patience. It was not until the staff began to learn more of who these children were as individuals and where they were coming from that we noticed their behavior grow from indifference to respect. Most of the children came from single-parents homes or from homes where neither parent is actively involved in their lives. It has had a large impact on all of them because all the children could speak about were their families.
At the end of day camp, the children were able to enjoy themselves by participating in a scavenger hunt, a car wash and lastly a banquet. The banquet was just a way to demonstrate to the community as well as All Nations Center of the achievements of the children and the way that they have grown throughout the two weeks of day camp. Throughout the banquet, the children sung the songs they learned in music class and recited the memory verses they learned in arts/crafts class. Lastly, the children and volunteer staff were awarded with gifts for their hard work.
At the end of this experience all we could say is, “Praise the Lord!” As the Psalmist says in Psalm 150:6, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord!” Day camp made an impact on the staff as well as the children.
Nedralani Mailo said, “Day Camp was a very humbling experience. I have seen many walls broken down that allowed us to get a feel for them and hopefully have a positive impact on their lives. Love and miss those kids very much.”
Many of the staff felt it was such a blessing to share Jesus with the children and to learn patience. Sharon Maiava said, “God showed me through this experience just how valuable every single soul is to Him. Being able to show that to the children through music, arts/crafts and bible was the best part!”
Special thanks to all day camp helpers at the All Nations Center in Wapato, Washington And the volunteer staff from Seattle, Washington, Wheeler’s Kountry Korner Gas Station, Ann Lamberton, Carla Lamberton, Christy Twigg, Freida Soule, Jeff Jones and all other day camp helpers.