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Campers give $565,772 to international missions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–More than 78,000 youth and children attending summer camps sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention spent the summer playing, praying and learning about Bible study, but also took time to pitch in $565,772.57 for Southern Baptist International Mission Board projects.

“That’s more than they gave last year,” said Joe Palmer, student events director at LifeWay Christian Resources, referring to the 78,150 campers who participated in the summer’s Centrifuge, M-Fuge, Crosspoint, Centri-Kid and Centri-Break camps.

“I think they have a view that there’s a larger view out there and if there is a way they can minister to those needs, they will do so,” Palmer said. “We try to put them into a place where youth are helping youth, and for Centri-Kid, children are helping children. They begin to see they can make a difference globally.”

The free-will offering will be used to support five specific IMB ministries:

— short-wave radio broadcasts for the Hazara people, using a verbal evangelistic method called storying to teach foundational biblical truths.

— The Himalayan Java coffeehouse ministry that will provide a witness in the business community, while also allowing missionaries to engage others in non-threatening conversations.

— The Mercy Project, a ministry that meets the basic needs of families and children migrating into a city because of economic crisis. That includes providing shelter, food, clothing, scholarships and tutors.

— Palestinian hunger relief, a ministry in the Gaza Strip and West Bank that provides food packets, Scripture and tracts on peace to laborers and families living in poverty due to civil unrest in Israel.

— AIDS orphanage in Harare, Zimbabwe, which will attempt to provide placement and care for children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic.

Centrifuge camps began in 1979 with two locations and nearly 7,500 campers. Missions offerings began in 1984 as a response to famine in Africa. The offering opportunity became an integral part of the other LifeWay camps as they developed.

Palmer said of the 78,000 camp participants, 10,033 decisions were made for Christ. Those decisions included: 2,244 accepting Jesus as their personal Savior; 4,591 rededications; 761 decisions to enter some type of vocational ministry; and 2,437 who made other types of decisions.

Centrifuge camps are designed for teens in grades seven through 12, with youth groups of all sizes from across the country coming together for a fast-paced week of Bible study, challenges, inspiration and recreation. In 2002, nearly 40,000 campers took part in the summer camping event.

At M-Fuge, participants take part in large and small group worship and Bible study and are also challenged to complete service projects for the community. The projects may include construction work, children’s ministries, backyard Bible clubs or work with the homeless, sick or elderly.

Crosspoint, a Christian sports camp for children in grades four through eight, uses sports as a ministry tool to reach children and adults. The camp focuses on athletic instruction, Bible study and physical and spiritual growth.

Centri-Kid, the newest addition to LifeWay’s camp program, is designed for third- through sixth-graders. It focuses on Bible study, worship, devotions and recreation.

For more information on the youth or children’s camps offered each summer by LifeWay, call 1-877-CAMP123 or visit www.fuge.com on the Internet.

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  • Mandy Crow