As we strive to minister to children at-risk, we do not want to neglect the children in “our own backyard.” For us, that means we do not want to forget to reach out to the children in the village of Kolentsi. The village of Kolentsi is where our camp is located and where Andrew and Jenny Kelly, our missionaries, live.
The families in Kolentsi are very poor and live a life of basic subsistence. They grow large gardens and the produce is either eaten through the summer or canned and stored for winter. Most families have their own chickens and a few have a cow or a pig. For most of the children in Kolentsi, they feel that they have no hope of a better future.
Once a month, we invite the village children to a Saturday program with Bible stories, games, crafts, snack and other activities. Also, during winter and summer holidays, the children are all invited to attend a week of camp, at no cost to them or their families.
Throughout the year, Jeremiah’s Hope also does other various goodwill gestures for the village, including building a playground, organizing the repair of the main village water pipeline, hosting a free medical clinic for all villagers, etc.
The above activities have piqued the interest of the parents and adults in the village, who approach us to ask for Bibles and to thank us for serving their kids. The activities we do, for the children, provide us with a foothold, into the families of the community and the groundwork for a church to someday be established in this village. This will ultimately be the best service we can provide for the children of our community – getting their parents involved in Christian life.