Children’s Camp

The Last Full Day of Camp

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I don’t want to talk about it.  It will be hard to say goodbye tomorrow.

UCC Days 4, 5 & 6

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Ok… so it’s been a little busy around here and I have fallen a bit behind with the blog.  (I’m typing in my sleep, actually.  I found it necessary to develop that skill.)  Below are the picture videos from the last few days, which will give you a good view of all we’ve been doing.  Tomorrow is the last full day.  We say goodbye to our dear friends, the kids as well as the Ukrainian team of leaders, Saturday morning, just before we leave for Warsaw ourselves.  Will you please pray over the beautiful children today?  Pray for the message of this week to take root – for them to leave this place with a new or deeper relationship with Jesus as their Savior, Father, Friend, Redeemer, Rescuer, Creator, Light and all the other names we’ve taught about this week.

UCC Day 3

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I’m missing campfire right now, my very favorite part of camp, because I seem to have caught the bug that’s been going around here.  Tori and I were discussing that there must be different viruses in Poland because we get sick at some point every year.  Tomorrow the group goes to Gdańsk, but the Porter family will stay behind – getting well, catching up on laundry, spending some time with each other (we hardly see each other at all when camps are in session), and starting to pack up.

Here is the picture video from today.

UCC Day 2

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I got to teach today about Noah – the events surrounding him and the Great Flood, but focusing on how Noah points us to Jesus as our Rescuer.  I had a great time sharing with the kids.  I gave them each a gift of a little rubber bath duck dressed up like an animal or even Noah himself.  They were to serve as reminders that Jesus will rescue them from their sins.  Our memory verse was John 10:9 “I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.”

Here’s today’s picture video (apologies for the duplicate pictures and a couple things out of order!)

Ukrainian Children’s Camp

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It is hard to find time to write during the weeks of children’s camps, so I hope you’ve all been enjoying the picture videos of each day.  If you’ve missed them, here is a link to the share site I made:

What. A.  Week.  Since the team from Hillside Christian had the lead on the lessons, crafts, etc. I was able to spend a little more time just hugging and enjoying kids this time.  ♥  What amazing children.  So many of them, like my sweet Ania, have lost parents to the war and/or have been uprooted from their homes.  Their stories make my heart hurt.  Our goal this week has been to make sure every child leaves knowing that God created them and loves them – by teaching Bible lessons, through worship, and pouring as much love into them as we possibly can.  This morning, Sandy shared about one of the boys that stood to make a commitment this week.   It sums up well what we hope has been happening in the hearts and minds of all of these children.

Sandy Hatfield's photo.Meet Daniil — one of the boys on my team at the Ukrainian refugee children’s camp. Even at his young age, Daniil is a deep thinker. This morning he was one of many who stood to say he wanted to come closer to God. Afterwards he told a few of us that before he came to camp he believed 3 things:

  1. Money is everything
  2. Evil will win
  3. People are cruel

He went on to say that during this camp his thinking has changed. Now he knows that there are people who are not cruel, that God and His goodness will win in the end, and that money isn’t everything — God is everything. So thankful for Daniil — I will miss this boy.

Daniil was an emotional mess (as most of us were) this morning saying our goodbyes.  I don’t know what sort of life he’s returning to, or if he’ll have any support in his new growing faith, and that’s what makes saying goodbye so hard.  I spent some time talking with one of the Ukrainian leaders yesterday.   Galina told me that they have tried to get many of these children to their own church and camp, but their parents won’t let them go.  She said many people in Ukraine are Orthodox Catholic.  Most aren’t really practicing the faith, but they were raised in it and consider it their religion.  She says this means they have been taught at an early age that protestantism is a cult, and that if their child decided to be baptized they would be sinning because they were already sprinkled as an infant.  This is their interpretation of Ephesians 4:5.  So they will not let their children attend anything related to the protestant churches. But when the opportunity arises to go to another country… it’s a different story.  They feel this is a worthwhile experience for their child, so they soften their stance against the Christian church and allow them to come.   Galina’s eyes welled up with tears as she was telling me that she just wishes we had more time because there is so much more she wants them to learn, and she knows that for so many these 7 days might be the only time they will ever hear it.   So please pray with me for them
God, please watch over these amazing children.  Seeds have been planted and watered with love, but now they are going back to a war-torn country and many to unhealthy or shattered families.  Please provide them with good soil for their faith to take root.   Protect them from the weeds and birds that will seek to destroy it.  Let the faith of these children change their parents  – that they too can come to know that The Creator loves them deeply and wants a personal relationship with them.  Soften their hearts and open their eyes to see that the church is good and teaching the love of the same God they believe in.  I pray these kids and many others will be able to journey back to Ostroda next year, so we can fill them up again and lead them on the next steps in their walk with You.   Thank You for letting us be a part of the miracles You worked this week.  My heart is so full.  
For Your Glory,
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Kids who made commitments this week!

We’ve Been Busy

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My apologies for a delay in writing.  My last post described preparations for the big 45th Anniversary celebration of Ostroda Camp – and what a great day it was!   Although I couldn’t understand hardly a word (the interpreters were all very busy through the day with various tasks), it was great to see the reactions to pictures, camp artifacts and stories shared about memories of time spent here.  Ben was able to finish the new camp sign in time to unveil it.  I know I’m biased, but I think it’s pretty amazing.  Just another example of how God gives us each our own unique gifts and then uses them for His glory if we are willing to serve.  Here’s a the old sign and its newly created replacement.

13418551_1804860999803236_1211767344721537391_oI’ll add some more pictures from the day to our photo album on Facebook, but here’s one of the kids ringing the bell to call everyone to the chapel.  Anna and I also had the privilege of singing as part of a small ensemble we pulled together for the grand finale in the final session.  We sang Agnes Dei.  After much (much, much) practice, God pulled our voices together to close out the day.  Several people joined us even when we sang in English, but when we switched to Polish… WOW!  The place was just filled with worship when we hit a  final chorus in both languages a ccapella.  It was awesome!


Once again we flipped the camp, this time preparing for the arrival of new team members from Missouri and Michigan, and 68 Ukrainian Children plus their counselors.  The American team arrived late last night and we spent the day getting to know one another, going over the camp schedule and making final preparations. At the last update I heard, the bus from Ukraine was at the boarder.  They expect this to be about a 2 hour process as the line of vehicles is TEN miles long and everyone over age 12 is fingerprinted.  Once they are in Poland, they will have another 8 hours on the road to reach Ostroda Camp.  We expect them early in the morning, and we are ready.  During this camp, we are playing a supporting role.  The group from Missouri is doing the teaching and leading.  There will still be lots and lots for us to do, but I’m hoping this means that I can spend more time just loving on these kids!

I really do have some spiritual thoughts to share sometime, rather than just news updates.  But the hour is late, I am very tired and brain-dead, and tomorrow begins early.  So I’ll just leave you with this… God is working and I can’t wait to see what He does with this week of camp.

Last Day with Children

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11329898_10153355749595731_8593059898027588011_nAs you are waking up this morning, the children will be on their way back to Ukraine.  We just said goodbye with our traditional chasing of the bus.  I don’t ordinary cry easily, but I’ve teared up at some point every single day of this camp.  Goodbyes are going rough, knowing what they are going back to.   In our morning devotion, I asked their counselors how we could be praying for them as well.  Sasha, the physiologist who came with them and worked with the children all week, is also a chaplain.  She will be on the war front and working with soldiers.  She asked for prayers of protection, ministry and the resources they need.  There were many requests for prayers for peace and for all of the children. The Korytkowski Telegram for this month includes a great list of names and situations you can be praying over with us, so I’ll share it with you.

Korytkowski Telegram 

From War Zone to Ostróda Christian  Camp
From Ukraine to Poland

While I am writing this email we are in the very last days of the camp for Ukrainian children.

About 10 of them lost  one parent in the war that is still going on in Eastern part of Ukraine. About 15 of them lost their homes and together with parents and in some cases with one parent live in churches, camp facilities and other places that became for them temporary shelter.
The entire group of Ukrainian children counts 47 and among all of these kids there is a lot of pain, questions about future and uncertainity.
But there are also many prayer requests and here there are some of them:
– For better grades and war at Ukraine to be over (Daryna)
– I want the war at Ukraine to be over (Nastya)
– For my mom (dad died in the war) (Diana)
– I am worring about my mom (dad died in April while fillling documents to go Ostroda Camp) (Anna)
– For the war to be over (Irina)
– Please pray for my husband he is in war now (Inna)
– For me to rest well (father died at war( (Artem)
– I pray that the war at Ukraine is over and every one is healthy and “in one peice” (mom died when the bomb fell on their property) (Laura)
– For peace at Ukraine (Eagor)
– that we will not have a war at Ukriane (Olga)
– I want the war to be over and I want to come back home to m firends (Zhenyn)
– Pray for my parents (separtaed due to the war) (Vova)
– I want you to pray for my city Mariupol (Mariia)
– I ask you to pray for all people and for the end of the war at Ukraine.
Above only a few prayer requests that were verbalized by Ukrainian children and written down by counselors.  I would like to ask you to pray for our entire team as we are ministering to these children at Ostroda Christian Camp.
He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3
Greetings and blessings
Andrzej & April Korytkowski

Ukrainian kids during a chapel meeting

All together in the front of the chapel

Ukrainian kids during olimpic day