Cristo Vive International- October 2019
Camp and beyond
It’s always a JOY to hear about each and every camp that takes place throughout the year as Cristo Vive continues in so many locations. Each one is unique and special in it’s own way, mixing the local culture, leadership styles and camper personas into what we call ‘camp’. But what happens when ‘camp’ is done for the year? Well, we are happy to report that SO MUCH goes on throughout the year, and this newsletter is highlighting the ‘behind the scenes’ of some of our locations. Enjoy these snippets and pray for us as we minister to children and youth with special needs and their families!
(Camper names changed for privacy purposes)
Ice Cream + Burgers
Diana and Christy are sisters that attend our Rio Grande Valley location in South Texas. They have been attending CVI Camps for the last 5 years and have built relationships with many other campers and counselors as well. One of the CVI workers, who was Diana’s former teacher, would often reach out to their family and invite them to church or a church event. The girls would always want to attend, and were even able to travel with the youth group to the church’s summer camp in June of 2018. These girls have had 5 years of hearing the Gospel of Jesus and have always responded positively at CVI Camps, and both were growing in their walk with the Lord. While at this youth group camp, the girls saw other campers getting baptized and wanted to also take part in showing their love for Jesus. They called their mom to ask permission but she decided that she did not want them to take part in baptism at that time.
Shortly after returning home from camp, their CVI friend picked them up for youth group on a Wednesday night. Afterwards, she took them to Dairy Queen for some ice cream. The girls asked if they could also get some burgers and fries. The friend said yes and they ordered their food. When they were driving home afterwards, Diana quietly said, “Thank you for the food…..I was praying for food today.” The friend immediately felt sick in her stomach, “What? You were praying for food today?” Diana responded, “Yes, our mom lost her job and we haven’t had any food lately. Today we only had a bag of dried beans in the cupboard and some leftover soup, but we gave that to our little brother.” That night, their CVI friend went to a grocery store and bought some necessities for the family and quickly spread the word among some other ladies from their church that they were in need. Many others joined the efforts and donated food and money to help the family for the 3 weeks until their mom was able to provide food for them again.
On that first night when food was delivered by their CVI friend, the mom had come out of the house crying and saying thank you for the surprise delivery. She then went on to say, “Now I see how much you all care about my kids. I want to give them permission to be baptized at your church!” The very next Sunday, both Diana and Christy were able to be baptized among many of their friends, with their mother attending the church as well. We praise God that He intervened at the right moment to not only provide FOOD to a family in need, but also touch this mom’s HEART and allow her daughters to be baptized. Please pray for these girls! They continue to grow each week and are continuing to attend youth group and sometimes church on Sunday. We praise God that Cristo Vive Camp started this community of Jesus followers that have reached out to these girls and loved them throughout the year.
CVI LOVES OUR SPECIAL PARENTS TOO!
Our Conroe, Texas location director, Rachel, has been having great success connecting with parents and families of special needs campers through unique support groups. As our Conroe Camp is approaching it’s 3rd camp this January, it’s volunteers are meeting throughout the year with many parents to grow together in community.
This group is called S.P.E.A.K. which stands for
Special Parents Encouraging Amazing Kids.
These groups have been going on for over three years near our Soldotna, Alaska camp location and now its taken off in the Conroe, Texas as well.
“A place where parents can come and share advice and support to others in the group.” -Rachel
The Conroe volunteers use social media as a major avenue to keep in touch with parents, offering encouragement and support while bringing up topics that are relevant to many of these families. Rachel mentioned that many of these parents can show up feeling unsure of what to expect, but seem to leave with a renewed freshness.
Recent Comments from Parents attending S.P.E.A.K.:
“I didn’t realize I needed to talk about my family so much!”
“I’ve never had anyone I can share with who understands. “
“My husband cant stop talking about how much he enjoyed the group”
“S.P.E.A.K. means knowing we are not alone on this journey. Knowing we have support and a listening ear when we need it, we are so grateful and honored to be a part of this amazing group!”
Praise Jesus for what He is doing through these monthly meetings!!!!
In July, 2018, my adopted daughter Cassie was attending the newly revived Minnesota Camp with camp director Cheryl leading the way. Cheryl had the opportunity to pair up our daughter Cassie, who just moved here from China last December, with another camper that had also been adopted from China a few years earlier. Cassie had moved to a foreign land with a strange family(I can say that, since it’s mine haha) and for 8 months has struggled learning a new language and communicating with those around her. But for the FIRST time since moving to America, she finally had a FRIEND to laugh with, speak Chinese with, speak broken English with, and just understand each other! Their counselors would come to me each day and tell about how the girls had been up late chatting and laughing and having so much fun together. I praise God that my daughter had this opportunity to build a friendship with another girl that has had similar experiences as her.
These girls have become such great friends as they spend time each week talking over video chat on the phone, since we live in Texas. She looks forward to that time when she can talk about her week, show her friend new items she bought, share about school, and just be silly together. Cassie talks about Cristo Vive Camp almost daily as she looks forward to the next camp she might attend since she has already attended the RGV and the Minnesota location. At camp, it is her time to shine! To build friendships with other campers and volunteers, to sing and dance her heart out and to be reminded how Jesus loves her and looks past her special needs.
I have been a VOLUNTEER with CVI since 2001, but now in 2018, I became a PARENT of a CVI camper! 🙂 I am so happy to be a part of this organization and see the smiles and joy that it brings to campers, not only AT camp, but BEYOND CAMP! Thank you for reading these snippets of exciting things that are happening outside of our normal camp schedules. Thank you for your prayers and support of this ministry!
-Crystal Galvan, CVI Board Member