Economic Crisis Does Not Hinder Ministry

“Is Camp South Africa worth all the time, toil, and treasure we are investing during these difficult economic times?” asked Jim Blake, director for Alliance Redwoods Conference Grounds (ARCG) in northern California. In spite of ministry budget cuts because of the dismal economy, Blake was determined to moved forward with the international outreach to Cape Town’s “street kids.” “For me, the answer is a resounding YES!” But he did inform the Camp South Africa (CSA) organizing team to reduce its budget by 10 percent.  
Knowing budget cuts translated into some kids not having the opportunity to hear the good news of hope in Jesus, Blake was thrilled when “a ministry partner who heard of the funding loss donated two weeks pay,” he said. “This reduced the short fall, but the last day camp still would need to be cut from the schedule.”  
Camp South Africa was founded by ARCG staffers Mervyn and Abigail Coetzee, who grew up in the country. Their dreams of one day hosting day camps for Cape Town’s “least of these” became a reality under the direction of ARCG.  
Most of the children who attend the camps are social outcasts, “abandoned as babies,” says Abigail. “They are hungry, have no shoes and only the bare minimum of clothing. Some come from extremely abusive homes; surviving a fatherless childhood runs as a common thread for many of our South African counselors and most of the children.”  
At the closing of one camp, at least 95 percent of the campers went up for prayer, indicating that they want to know Jesus personally. They were met by Germaine, one of the local camp counselors, who was saved nearly five years ago at the CSA outreach. “Words cannot express how God has used Germaine to bless these campers,” said Mervyn. “I shared how Christ had moved through Germaine’s life and that even though he still lives in a squatter’s shack, he has a joy that only Christ can give.” 
Blake, who participated in the camp ministry last year, is firm in his commitment to the annual December outreach. Trusting God to provide, he told his CSA team to go forward with the full schedule. “I remembered when I dropped Germaine off at his ‘home,’” he said. “He put his hands on my shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Don’t give up on us.’”


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