Swim Camp

Paul Olver
Swim Camp

How can we reach the children in our neighborhood? That was the question and prayer of Maria Elena Salas de Guerrero, pastor of the Carmen de Areco FMC in Argentina. The church has a 10 year history of effectively adopting boys who were troubled -- and troubling their larger community. Over 50 have been loved to wholeness in the last decade. The church has housed,

clothed, and fed them. They have taught them to read and write, and helped them catch up in school. But that’s a different story.

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Pastora Maria Elena was concerned about the children right around the church building with whom they had no relationship. How to connect with them? Then she had an idea. The church owns property across the street where they hope to build a school one day. What about temporarily installing several large above ground pools? Men from the church responded to the vision and carried it out. They ran water lines and even put in a couple of simple outdoor showers.

No advertising needed! Kids started coming by to ask if they could use the pools. It was hot; the summer was long. Although there are some swimming pools in the town, families in this neighborhood couldn’t afford to pay the fees. Pastora Maria Elena said, of course they could use the pools – ab_280_210_16777215_00_images_gallery_Argentina_neighborhoodchurchpool.jpgs long as they took her to meet their parents first

The number of neighborhood kids coming to the pools grew larger. The church youth group organized themselves to supervise. In fact, they started a day camp with the Jumeles (Juventud Metodistas Libres or Free Methodist Youth) eagerly serving as counselors. Some 60 children participated.

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On the last day of the camp the Jumeles presented the good news of Jesus using drama and dance. The choice was clear – to follow Jesus and live in the light or to give in to the evil one and live in darkness. Many of the children chose to follow Jesus, with tears streaming down their faces. The next time the church doors were open the neighborhood children were there. And they haven’t stopped coming to church since – sitting in the very front row and joining in worshiping Jesus.

We visited the Carmen de Areco church just a few weeks after the swim camp. We met several mothers who were brought to church by their children. Those children came to church and met Christ because Pastora Maria Elena asked the question: How do we reach the kids in our neighborhood? They came because people in the church were willing to do a crazy thing like putting swimming pools on their vacant lot and because the Jumeles were willing to get involved.

Oh, they also used the swimming pools for the latest baptisms at Carmen de Areco FMC.

Read 159 times Last modified on Thursday, 24 August 2017 21:00