Dear Icthus Friend, June 2014
What’s the most creative tent you’ve ever had to construct? In Latin America, resources are slim, but this doesn’t keep Icthus guides from putting on creative, life-transforming camps for Icthus young people.
In this issue read about the first Icthus camp, and how low-cost tents led to a surprise Don Weisbrod will never forget! Also see how Icthus leaders in Chile saw God at work in providing resources to carry out a life-transforming camp for young people!
If you would like to help provide a meaningful camping experience for children,camperships are $25 per child.
by Jessica Saravia
It all began as a great challenge, planning the 2014 Icthus camp for our young people. We were concerned about how to finance it because many of our Icthus kids come from poor homes. So, we talked to the Chile Icthus office. They sent us a form to apply for campership funds from Icthus International. In faith and hope we applied.
We received an answer a short time later. We had received the camperships! We prepared the young people and had the camp. My husband and I feel very happy.
God has allowed us to use the wonderful Icthus ministry in this city for many years.
What motivates us most as a couple is seeing the joy and transformed lives of these young people who Saturday after Saturday come to our group to learn more about our God. We thank you for the help we have received.
SECIAL NOTE: John Shackelford, a co-founder of Icthus, went to be with the Lord on March 29, 2014. All memorial gifts in honor of John are being used to provide camperships. John and his wife Esther were passionate pioneers of Christian camping in Latin America.
We believe that John would have liked it that this legacy would be extended through Icthus camperships to children in need. Now, when Icthus leaders, like Jessica and Jaime Saravia in Chile, need help with camps they will apply to the Campership Fund named in honor of John and Esther. See more about John: www.IcthusKids.org
Camping has a tremendous influence on young people in helping to build skills, character, love of nature, and a closer relationship with the Lord. Thank you to the many Icthus Friends who have helped young people grow by giving camperships through the years.
by Don Weisbrod
It was 1964. I was 21 years old with just a smattering of Spanish when I began to develop the first Icthus group in the small town of El Progreso, Guatemala. One thing I wanted was for the kids to have a camp experience. No one could afford a tent and probably none existed in town. So using my scouting experience, I created a tent using cheap, readily available, cheap materials: plastic tablecloths, clothes pens, light rope, and rocks. It was simple, but what can you do when there are little funds?
Gilo Mendez (the 1st Icthus guide), missionary Tom Gyori, and I taught the children how to make the tent at one Icthus meeting. In the following meetings we taught them how to make a fire, how to cook a meal, how to make a canteen out of a gourd, and what to bring. We also took the kids on a hike. The kids were ready and very excited.
The following Saturday we gathered at the church and hiked up the mountain behind the town. The kids were a sight! Each carried their blankets (no sleeping bags) and their things in shoulder bags made of rope netting (no packs). Arriving at the top we had a great view of the town below in the valley. Everyone pitched their tents and I supervised making sure all were pitched correctly.
Ah, what a mountain top experience! We had games, a meal cooked over the fire, and as the sun set a campfire with songs, and stories. Later that night everyone happily climbed into their little tents and went to sleep. I drifted off pleased with the day.
At 2am all that changed! It rained! Not like the usual rains of Southern California— this was a tremendous tropical torrent! The sound of the rain on my little tent was deafening. Soon I felt water leaking in and soaking my blanket. In that fierce rain there was no way to fix it. At least the water was warm. Since I didn’t hear complaints from the kids I assumed that it was just my tent that leaked. I went back to sleep and dreamt a strange dream of taking a bath.
By morning the rain had stopped. Imagine my dismay when I discovered that every single tent had leaked. Everyone was wet! But, the kids were up before the adults having fun playing tag in the mud. Even though all their bedding and clothes were SOAKED there were no complaints - just enthusiasm. Later that afternoon we hiked back to town. Everyone was very happy… and tired.
What was the result of the first camp? The tablecloth tent was redesigned to better fit the tropics. The kids learned a lot about camping and survival. And, they were so excited about Icthus that they invited even more friends to come to the next Icthus meeting.
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