Tasha's* heart broke when she heard the news.
An Arab teenager living in the Middle East, Tasha had persuaded many of her classmates to come to a Christian summer camp in her country. She was excited. Last year's camp had changed her own life forever.
Now her friends who are spiritually searching would meet young believers from America and hear the good news of Jesus, just like she did.
But there will be no camp this year. It was canceled.
After sending up to eighty Southern Baptist teens each summer for the last several years, the Southern Baptist International Board received only five applications for this summer's camp. Some young Southern Baptists—and many of their parents—are anxious about threats overseas after Sept. 11, particularly as strife spreads in the Middle East.
Tasha understands their concern. But she wants Southern Baptists to understand hers.
"After waiting so long for the camp … after convincing most of my classmates to participate and to give them a chance to know Jesus … I just heard there will be no camp," she said in an e-mail. "This really breaks my heart …. Friends, I just want you to know that there is no safe place in this world."
No safe place, but many lonely, dark places. This summer, Tasha's homeland will be a little lonelier, a little darker.
"When we are unable to honor a commitment we make, we disappoint some, break the hearts of others, and communicate to all that American Christians will go to other lands when it is convenient, safe, and affordable," says Kelly Davis, an IMB youth mobilizer. "I pray that this is the last time we will break the heart of a young believer or of our heavenly Father."
* Name has been changed for security reasons.