Our camp for 2017 was held from 5th – 8th of April (Wednesday – Saturday). 165 children attended from grades 1-6 which was 45 kids more than the largest number that we expected to show up! Straight away we were under the pump as we had only brought provisions for 120! However as you quickly learn in Vanuatu, everything rolls along and you simply go with the flow of whatever happens on the day…Miri and Abi quickly devised a cunning plan to expand the projects by removing the last 2 pages from each for the older kids to make another 45 projects out of seemingly nothing and so off we went!
We started each day with singing, prayer and a devotion. The kids sang some songs that they already knew and we also taught them four new songs about Moses which was our theme for the camp. The kids picked up the new songs very quickly as they absolutely love singing and the volume of them all singing as loud as they could whist contained in one room was incredible! Our ears are still ringing with the memory!
We had two Bible stories each day about Moses led by Jimmy, one after the devotion in the morning, and one following lunch in the afternoon. Jimmy did a fantastic job in retelling the stories as the man Moses, and involving the kids by acting out parts of the stories as he went through telling them about the events that happened in “his” life and how God helped him and the children of Israel escape from Egypt and a life of slavery. The kids absolutely loved the stories and were forever retelling afterwards the part where God turned Moses staff turned into a plastic snake at the burning bush and scared them all! (There are no snakes in Vanuatu!)
The parts of Moses life that we covered were: Moses as a baby, The Burning Bush, The 10 Plagues, The Passover, Crossing the Red Sea, Manna in the Wilderness, The 10 Commandments, The Bronze Serpent, and Moses’ death.
After each morning Bible story we did projects, tie-dying T-shirts and craft activities. Because we had so many kids we set up different craft stations around the school and rotated the groups around to different activities each day. Some of the craft stations we did with the kids were: friendship bracelets, playdough and bubbles, kite making, painting, colouring, snakes and ladders, finger painting, straw and string necklaces, origami etc.
Lunch was prepared each day by our local sisters and ready for the children to eat by 12. It consisted of rice and “Manna Packs” which is a nutritional supplement that the kids also have every day while at school.
Every afternoon following the second Bible Story we ran a different activity:
On Wednesday we held a sports and games afternoon. Dave made the mistake of thinking he was still young and played bare foot soccer at the end of the day with the older kids. His feet were swollen and sore for the next week and still haven’t fully recovered yet over a month later!
On Thursday we made Billy Carts. The sheer joy and excitement of the kids and adults alike when getting pushed around and having races on the Billy Carts was amazing to witness – they had never done anything like that before and the Carts were in high demand for the rest of the camp!
On Friday afternoon and evening we retold and “re-enacted” the events of the Passover. With the help of the local brothers, we had sourced two goats for the occasion (there are no sheep in Vanuatu.) The bravest of the kids (which interestingly happened to be all of them!) were invited to head out with the local brothers to kill and prepare the goats for the evening meal. We held the Passover meal in
the evening and quite a lot of the local villagers turned up for the experience which consisted of the goat meat, unleavened bread and some Tanna soup.
Friday night was sleepover night and all of the children slept all over the school in different classrooms supervised by their teachers.
Unfortunately, on Saturday, the last day of camp had to be cut short due to the fact that Cyclone Cook was on its way and the children needed to get home back to their families before it came.
The camp was a very exciting and memorable experience for all of us. It is always a joy to witness the growth, excitement and enthusiasm of the local young people in Vanuatu and to help them learn about the stories of the Bible and what God holds in store for all of us who respond to his call!
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