A Summer of Hope in Christ – Full Circle
Douglas and Karen Bernhardt adopted three children from Romania in 1999 and 2001. This year, as a family, they returned to Romania to serve orphans at Camp of the Good Shepherd. With Jaylynn, Jaymin and Jarrett in the unique position of once being a Romanian orphan they were able to share their own stories of God’s love and grace in their lives. The Bernhardt’s served the first week of camp with the children from the Special Education Placement Center from Turnu Rosu. “What a wonderful camp for the children, it is truly a life-saving experience for them. We have to be OK with not knowing how we may have touched a child’s heart and spirit; that is God’s work now. Our work is to continue to pray for all the children and know God holds them in His hands.” Karen Bernhardt.
At Left: Jaylynn Bernhardt – it’s not all fun and games!
At Right: Jaymin and Jarrett Bernhardt – big brotherly love all around!
“I don’t know if I’d be alive if my parents hadn’t adopted me, and for sure I would not have the wonderful education I have that I need for my life.” Expressed by Jarrett after returning to the States
Saying goodbye…The last day of camp is a bit bittersweet. It is a highlight and culmination of a week of spiritual, physical, and social nourishment. As a tradition, each child receives a new camp T-shirt. Team prizes - like sunglasses, and cabin awards are also given. Camp and its traditions are milestones for many of the children we serve that have lives of interruption and uncertainty. We are so very thankful to Leonard and Georgene Bernhardt, who sponsored the Camp T-shirts this year and to each and every one that has provided for one of the least of these to be embraced with the love of Christ at Camp of the Good Shepherd
A Voice to the Voiceless…
In many ways the children we serve at Camp of the Good Shepherd are voiceless. Institutional living does not provide much opportunity for one on one nourishment, care, and listening. An over-burdened staff, even when well intentioned, rarely has time to hear all the words a child wants to say. On the last day of camp we give the children the opportunity to express their voice and be heard. Each and every child that wants to say something about camp has this opportunity. The common words of thankfulness and remembrance that are spoken are somewhat depicted in the pictures below:
“I loved the food this week!” Camp food is of the highest quality and plentiful, balanced with healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins. We try to staff each table with one American and one Romanian volunteer; providing translation and fun meal time conversation.
“I loved the games and crafts this week!” Each day has two scheduled times of organized games and crafts. Water- balloon tosses, relays, soccer, volleyball and ping-pong tournaments provide fun and team building opportunities.
At Left: Volunteer Julee with camper Bella – “I loved meeting Julee and all the volunteers, they showed us so much love. It was here at camp 2 years ago where I first learned to love God. I used to say God doesn’t exist but here I learned even when we are lost He never leaves us and always loves us and He will always be with me.”
At Right: Volunteer Heather with a young boy from the Orlat Placement Center. “Camp brought both new faces and familiar ones; the best part was the chance to love each child and to give them the opportunity to learn more about Jesus. It’s all worth it when we know the eternal value, and we trust God to grow the seeds planted this year.”
Please join us October 25th in Portland, OR at the World Forestry Center or on November 14th in Camarillo, CA at the Sterling Hills Golf Club for the Heart of Hope Ministries International ‘Open Door of Hope Benefit Dinner and Auction’. Invitations soon to come!
Thank you for your continued prayers and support as we finish camp well!
Yours in Partnership, Debbie and Your HHMI Board