Every year as we begin planning for the next Baltic Family Camp (BFC), I always have a moment or two of doubts. These doubts are not God-centered; they are self-centered. Is it worth all of the effort? Can we bring it all together again? Will families and individuals in the Baltic region of Europe still want to attend and participate? These moments are fleeting, but still real. Then we arrive at Camp Ruta in Molatai, Lithuania and enjoy a grand reunion with old friends and welcome new ones. I just silently say to myself–O ye of little faith!
The 2014 edition of the BFC gave me 10,000 reasons why this ministry effort is indeed worth every investment into it. It was a pure joy to be there together with brothers and sisters in Christ from the countries of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Germany, Sweden, England, and yes, this year–India (for a total of 96 people). The BFC truly illustrates that God’s kingdom knows no boundaries and that our bond in Christ Jesus is stronger than any nationality.
One of the main purposes of the BFC is to offer missionary families in that part of Europe the chance for rest and refreshment. We welcomed Mark and Karen Abercrombie (Liepzig, Germany); Ilia and Daiva Amosov and Juozas and Zivile Puodziukatis and family (Vilnius, Lithuania); Kestutis Puodziunas (Klaipeda, Lithuania); Joel and Yana Petty and family and Oleg and Natasha Yakimenko and family (St. Petersburg, Russia); George and Gabreille Opoku and family (Stockholm, Sweden); Jerry and Trina Ross and family (Tartu, Estonia); and Victor Barviks (Riga, Latvia) to the camp this session.
In addition we welcomed Christian families and individuals from across this region as we studied, fellowshipped, played, and worshipped together. Thirteen year old, Atile, who is one of the daughters of a faithful family from Kaunas, Lithuania was baptized into Christ by her dad. The church in this city–the second largest in Lithuania–meets in the home of her parents, Gediminus and Indre Ileviciene.
Did I mention we had a brother from India this year? His name is Chorlian Samsom Karumanchi. He came via the church in Tallinn, Estonia. Sansom’s father is a preacher in India and his family operates the Sathupally Children’s Home. The small church in Tallinn has partnered with them and made this orphanage a mission point for their church.
We had an incredible American team (most being from the Levy church in North Little Rock, AR but also this year from Clinton, MS, Plano, TX, Gueydan, LA and Leoma, TN) who served in various ways throughout the week including Richard and Jeanna Lynn May. They took their What God Has Joined marriage ministry on the road to Camp Ruta. This type of Christian-based ministry to married couples is greatly needed in the Baltics.
Our theme this year was inspired by the song, 10,000 Reasons. We did discover through our time together many reasons to bless the Lord and many more reasons why God is doing an amazing work with the Baltic Family Camp.
No doubt about it.