CampsAbroad visits Bangladesh With Dan Brooks and Tim & Rachel Endean

We made it to Dhaka early on Wednesday morning with our ears still ringing from the complimentary multi-hour performance of the in-flight children’s choir. It is still far better than taking the boat as William Carey did to this part of the world over two hundred years ago. We learned today that Pastor Joseph’s great-grandfather was saved through the mission that William Carey started here in Bangladesh. (Joseph is our primary contact here.)

Dan and Joseph

We arrived at Joseph’s house where his wife, Nance, was waiting for us. We got cleaned up after the long trip and enjoyed reconnecting with them. Their young daughter, Joanna, kept us entertained as we talked about the upcoming camp. We spent the daylight hours on Wednesday with Joseph and Nance before leaving for the campsite that evening.

Dhaka at rush hour is a chaotic dance between rickshaw and bus, carriage and pedestrian. No one waits for anyone, but neither is anyone in a hurry. The choreography is horrendously complex and bewilderingly accident free. It’s quite a sight.

The facility is well-suited for camp with good spaces for games and meetings. Staff Training has gone smoothly, and the pistachio-green walls add a nice touch. The counselors listened well through a full day of training. They have good energy, and they seem eager to learn. It’s always a challenge to fit a lot of material into a short time.

Tim & Joseph

Joseph and the others are excited about this new opportunity in a new location with new people. This camp is far away from the previous camp. Several of the same leaders are helping to run this camp, but all the counselors are new, and they are expecting nearly all the campers to be different too.

Camp counselors
Preparing for game time!

Joseph is working hard, and he is eager for this camp to go well. He has done a lot of work to prepare as he coordinated this camp with nine other area churches. And he translated hard all day today. He loves using camp to reach young people in a challenging environment. Campers arrived late this afternoon, even though camp doesn’t officially start until tomorrow. But for us and this new group of counselors, campers are here, so camp has started.

Future campers looking at all the activity!
A very enthusiastic game of Cannonball.

There were about two hundred campers and they settled into the games quickly. We had Daniel and Ijack (Isaac), two of our key camp workers, run significant portions of the games. That sort of crowd control is a bit of a learning curve, but they did well, and the campers loved it. We are told the teens from the rural areas are more easygoing, and they got into the activities a bit more than in the camp held in March.

Dan coaching as Daniel leads a game
Another point for their team!
Meal preparation

During free time the girls enjoyed making bracelets with Rachel and trying several games. The guys especially enjoyed some competitive volleyball and soccer. The games were frequently interrupted when one of the balls splashed into one of the ponds on either side of the play area. Here in the low country, ponds have been dug out and the dirt mounded to separate the water constitutes most of the dry ground.

A favorite sight-pure joy on a camper's face!

Christians in Bangladesh face consistent challenges. Pastor Jun is a Filipino missionary in Dhaka, who spoke at the camp this week. His church has many former Muslims. For safety, the church meets on varying days of the week, and the gathering constantly shifts who attends which meeting. He was able to find only one building owner in the area that would let him hold a church service, and this owner did so only on the condition that he rent two flats in the apartment.

Joseph, Rachel, Tim, Jun, Dan

Joseph particularly mentioned twelve Hindu girls that were present. A few of them did make professions of faith. Joseph is working hard already to ensure that pastors in their areas can follow up with these young people. In addition to unsaved teens, our driver was Muslim. And there is a Muslim man who has been with Joseph’s church for a year, who came to see the camp. Both of these men attended some of the services, even though they didn’t have to.

Pray for those who attended!

Camp was held at a church facility this year, so as we finished off camp this morning, the campers combined with the church for a service. The pastor spoke from Luke 15 regarding the Prodigal Son. How good it is to be reminded of how God has felt compassion for us despite our foolish rebellion against Him. And how good it is to share that hope with young people or anyone else dying from spiritual hunger. What a privilege it is to see souls turn to the One who alone can satisfy.

A Thank You from Joseph and Nance, our Bangladesh friends and camp directors
Group photo - there's still a little room in the front!

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