In previous postcards we’ve mentioned the camp we have use of: we’ve named it Elama, the Finnish word for Life (pronounced EH-lah-mah). Before 1939 it was a Finnish health resort, after the war it was a Russian children’s camp before closing about 25 years ago. We’re slowly bringing it back to life, and this is the first of several years of rebuilding that are needed. Still, the fruit of this summer has already surpassed our hopes.
In addition to a few Christian families that are living there all summer, in July we hosted two camps run by a local church. First was a children’s camp with 80 participants and then a youth camp with 100 participants. Since we don’t have much decent housing, the campers stayed in tents. Even the kitchen was under a tent, and the picture at left is of the ‘dining hall’. The church did a great job of improving the land — clearing the swimming area, building outhouses, clearing trash, they even built a dock in the lake.
Later this month, we’ll host a week-long church camp for thirty children and other groups will have picnics. Elama is available free of charge to all. This summer we’ve installed the beginnings of a water system (we now have one sink with running water), we’ve begun repairs to several buildings, obtained a couple of small refrigerators (donations), purchased tools, cleared away a lot of trash and scrub brush, and swatted a lot of mosquitoes! We ran out of money for this summer, so some tasks (painting, roof repair, heating, a new well, etc.) will have to wait until later. There is still very much to be done. Groups from the US and the Netherlands have expressed interest in sending work teams. An architect in the US has agreed to help design a pavilion/summer kitchen that we hope to build next May. There is a lot of activity and many opportunities. Elama is coming to life, just as we had hoped.
Please pray that we’ll have God’s wisdom as we make decisions about the future of Elama — may it always bring glory to Him and peace to the people who are there.