Voices from the Field Paul & Tanya Gericke Get to know Paul & Tanya

Summer Camps

Published on August 10, 2023

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Happy summer, everyone! We have had a full last couple of months getting adjusted to being back in Romania after our home assignment and then running a full month of camps at Camp Falcon Rock! There’s lots to share!

At the beginning of July, we were busy preparing for camps and training our volunteers. What was unique this year is the number of local volunteers we had from all over the Hungarian Baptist community. We were blessed to have a number of new young people join us for the summer, including a couple of students from the Hungarian Baptist seminary. Overall, we had 18 young people from Romania join us for the month of July, along with two international volunteers and, of course, our NAB missionary team. It was encouraging to see how much our team has grown over the years and what mature and dynamic young people we have here in Romania who are passionate about camps and specifically discipling campers to come to know Christ! This year while camps were going on, one camper was so impacted by this group of volunteers, he asked when he is allowed by a leader too – and he’s only 12!

For our first week of camp, we had campers ages 10–15 come to Camp Falcon Rock. Most of the campers were from our village and our surrounding district. Included in this group of campers were a number of Roma children from our sister church. We were able to sponsor them to come to camp thanks to all of your generosity with the Sponsor A Camper fundraiser! Thank you to all of you who came around this campaign in May and June. All of our teaching for this week was focused on what it means that we are redeemed in Christ, specifically looking at four pictures to give us a deeper understanding of the richness of the word “redeemed.” What was incredible is that we saw young people come to experience the power of being redeemed within that week! At our final campfire, our speaker invited campers to come up if they wanted to follow Christ and experience redemption, and we saw over half our campers go to the front. The rest of the night was full of powerful prayer times where we saw Kingdom fruit come to be as campers experienced freedom in being redeemed in Christ.

Our second week of camp was also for ages 10–15, focusing on the theme of being “redeemed.” This week of camp has stayed pretty consistent in terms of who has come year to year. One large group of campers we get actually comes from a random connection from years ago when a parent reached out to us wanting her son and his friend to come to our camp to learn English. Each year we’ve seen this parent bring more and more friends with them. This year, the son of this parent couldn’t come, and yet we still saw all the friends come to camp! They were so happy to be back and kept talking about how Camp Falcon Rock has become their camp – they were quite emotional at the end of the week when we had to say goodbye. What struck us this week is how the seeds that are planted each year during camps can continue to grow as campers come back year after year. This is what we saw this week as we saw some of these young guys respond to Christ’s invitation to them. We saw how God’s patient love can bear fruit after years of building relationships through sharing about and showing who Christ is.

Our third week of camp is our youth / young adults camp, and this year it started in a different way. We had a massive storm on day one that resulted in us and the entire county losing power for three days! Very quickly, the camp team had to make some decisions: Wi-Fi or functioning kitchen? Charging cell phones or pumps to flush toilets? It ended up being a powerful experience for the youth and young adults with us to not have access to their phones or internet for that time and instead to have the space to focus on growing in their relationship with Christ and participating in numerous candlelight worship times and teaching sessions. Our theme for youth/young adults camp was “Knowing Christ,” where we invited them into a deeper understanding and experience of who Jesus is and the relationship he wants to build with each of them. We had a real mix of young people from the church and those from the community. In all of them, we saw God moving and speaking. We were pleasantly surprised by the few complaints we received while the power was out and surprised by the hunger and thirst for longer candlelit worship times together. It was encouraging to see how this group of young people bonded and desired to grow together in their understanding of who Jesus is to them. At the end of the week, we invited them to share testimonies of what God had been doing in their lives that week, and person after person shared how the power outage impacted them and deepened their experience of knowing Christ.

Stay tuned for our summer recap video, which will be coming out shortly!

Thank you for all of your prayers and care for Camp Falcon Rock summer camps! We are grateful to have each of you as partners in this Kingdom ministry.

Grace and Peace.

Paul & Tanya Gericke