Full with astonishment and joy we're looking back at the past weeks. This was a relatively short, nevertheless the intensive time of preparation and realisation of the first official Jungschar tent camp and evangelisation in our village Dinkovo, in the northwest of Bulgaria. This region is according to statistics, one of the poorest and unterdeveloped regions of Europe generally. We had a time in which God shows to us in the most different manner his greatness and variety and brought the people with his kingdom in touch. A time where were confronted faith and doubt in the long-term fight, however, the faith triumphed. A time of the laughter and the tears, of games and learnings, of become acquainted and say goodbye, of tension and calmness, of grief and joy, of embrace and let go.
What has begun in summer, 2010 as a spontaneous and impromptu tent camp for our children and children from our village, unexpectedly outgrows this border. For this summer, 2012 came unexpectedly the inquiry of a Gipsy's church whether we can organise again a camp and take part to their children also. In spite of the fact that we neither bring experience in this work, nor our property at the today's time disposes of the suitable infrastucture, our answer was: Yes! Clear that this week has provided for much interesting substance and clearly that we can light up here only some aspects.
Our 3000qm property is absolutely enough and ideally for a tent camp, but as mentioned there is still not enough convenient infrastructure and suitable experience. Thus we have decided on a 3-day mini version of a tent camp with maximum 20 children. The inquiry was normally for about 70 children. Eager assistants from all directions have spontaneously volunteered for the participation in this adventure. We might lend big group tents and sleeping-bags from an existing Christian organisation which works in Bulgaria for more than 12 years in the Jungschar / Youngstars work. An impromptu outside toilet had to be sufficient for 40 people. Was cooked and just eat impromptu, but deliciously. Shower or bath we had in the river. We could cover the expenses to the smallest part about the camp fee (2.50 per child for 3 days of full accomodation incl. food. Cost recovery would be about 5) and the rest above different voluntary contributions.
On Thursday, August 30th we expected our small guests. When we wanted to pick them up from the railway station of the neighbouring village, someone said us that the police had already preempted to us! The whole group with pastor Elia and leaders was led to the police station. There they ask many questions about Who, What and Why. For those still knowing the times of the communism, were roused memory of the past. Also during the next days the police a few times more was visiting us. But they did not want to accept a serious invitation for lunch.
Then with delay we reached together our camp. There followed the reception, registration, refreshment, a warm-up game to start knowing each other and the first common lunch.
The time was fulfilled in the camp with a lot of games, singing, praying, being lazy, bathing, long and deep conversations in the campfire and sleepless nights. Then, unfortunately, we have to say goodbye on Saturday afternoon, quite too early again from the new friends. Maybe until the next summer? Because of the most different feedbacks from participants, assistants and the organisation team, we are all highly enthusiastically about the experience and even more in awareness of the overcomed difficulties and the stinking earth closet
We filled the time up to the evening and the planned village-evangelism with different games. We had been very surprised, because from about 130 villagers about 50 have come to the village hall for the movie presentation "Maria-Magdalena". It's a movie about the life of Jesus. Pastor Stanislav from Sofia complemented the film presentation with a suitable short message. Then after the screening the personal conversations took place. This was the first officially invested evangelistion in our village! The openness of single residents touched us deeply. From today our garden resembles a beehive, an active arrival and walking and other deep exchange between our employees and the villagers determine the day.
Also this year some children from the village spontaneously took part in our camp life. This is obviously a welcome change to the otherwise monotonous and hopeless village life. They enjoyed and shared numerous activities, spiritual food with us and also took part in eating. To us was not aware at first that many of the children lack more or less all: Warmth, secureness, security, sense, dignity and a perspective. But also food, clothes and partly not even an own bed.
One experience seems to us here still especially worth mentioning: Nasko, a 12 year old, quite wild boy from the village, was already during the preparatory phase around us and remained it up to the moment of our departure. His wish was to accompain us to the Sunday service of the 300 soul church of pastor Elia where Martin was invited for preaching. Then in the same evening Nasko came up to us with the wish to become a God's child!? Quite surprised about his statement we wanted to make sure whether we have properly understood him and, therefore, asked as he meant this.
He told us, how dirtily he feels internally to himself and he wishes forgiveness of his sins. The astonishing is present that it came till then to no suitable conversation with Nasko and he followed therefore his own deep conviction. Then a clear decision he sealed also immediately with a clear prayer around forgiveness and salvation. The fact that in this event 2 other children of the village were present and wanted to use the chance to participate this prayer also immediately, would be also still mentioned here.
Now some questions are unsolved: How it has to go on? What happens with the people in Dinkovo? Who looks after them? Concrete inquiries are already given for at least 2 other camps for 2013.
There are several places for camps and retreats in Bulgaria. But not in the northwest. We know about different people that apparently in this part of the country, still nobody has dealt with the realisation of such camps. But the wish and the need is big. With an average monthly wage of approx. 250 it is not often enough for the most necessary things in life. It is clear that a kids tent camp is not exactly on top in the priority list. As more in this region where the income still lies under this cut and the unemployment is the highest of the country. Who can afford to send his children in a camp, as more if this is still connected with additional, high travel expenses?
We dream about of adapting the infrastructure of our property to the needs, of improving and of extending, so that such camps are also possible in future. Among other things a suitable rebuilding project of the old barn is worked out, free of charge by a friendly architect. Here even other projects: - Rebuilding of the barn into a dormitory and a meeting place with kitchen, showering and toilets with the aim to make the whole infrastructure also for others accessible. In the past we already had inquiries if we like to rent out our house and garden for retreats. Unfortunately, we had to deny because of the mentioned reasons. - More trees should be planted on the big meadow to provide for shade.
Without them it is intolerable during hot temperatures (around 40 degrees Celsius and above that) in the summer months.
- Fencing and protection of the property.
- Water supply. For the water supply either we have to drill an additional well or the property has to be connected to the public water net.
- Furthermore it also needs group tents, sleeping-bags and insulation mats. Later then maybe also bunk beds, balls, ropes and what it else needs for a Jungschar / Youngstars camp.
So far we could done everything with own funds: grub of the property, rebuilding the dwelling house, extension bathroom, renovation of house extension etc.
Now we are at a point where we need assistance. Beside prayer in different ways, vigorous support at construction works or with the support for the realisation of Jungschar / Youngstar camps, material donations in the abovementioned sector, these are of course also purpose engaged cash donations. We depend on this to the continuation of this project. Also clothes collections (clothings, shoes, budgetary goods, bicycles) from a certain amount are very welcome. Further details in addition on request.
Let's collect together treasures in heaven and expect our wage from God. We are glad to work together with You in this field of God.
If you liked to know more about all this, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're glad to hear from you.
Family of Martin and Biserka Kräuchi-Petrova