15 Years of Camps: Heaven on Earth

I am actually grateful to God for my disability; otherwise I would have never been invited to this camp and experienced so much love.
— David, teen with cerebral palsy

Words cannot adequately describe what just took place at Mission To Ukraine’s annual camp for kids with disabilities.  Each year is even more dynamic than the year before.  It has been described by many as “Heaven on earth.”  I wholeheartedly agree. The minute the kids and parents arrive they are greeted with smiles, hugs, and helping hands. The week is packed full of games, crafts, food, boat rides, inflatable slides, puppets, songs, and devotions. The highlight of the week is Special Olympics, where every child participates in events - and at the end is awarded a gold medal and cheers from the entire camp. Joy radiates from their faces and tears stream down the parents’ grateful smiles to see their children receive such attention.

Celebrating 15 years of overnight summer camps for children with disabilities

Parents are also given a rest because volunteers spend the day with the children. Moms and dads are in small groups, which offer devotional messages and prayer time for their needs. Moms express the joy of having three meals prepared for them each day and not having to cook. Dads enjoy knowing they are not alone in the struggle to provide for and raise a child with special needs.  The spirit of the camp is overwhelming. Every day there is laughter and joy throughout the camp. Yes, there are burdens to be shared, but joy permeates the environment. At the end of the week, an invitation is given to parents to receive Christ. This camp was a special blessing: 29 parents received Christ!  One father, always attentive during our daily devotions, put his faith in Christ and said, “this camp has changed my whole worldview.”

MTU overnight summer camps 2017
I am thankful to the Lord for giving me my “sunny child,” Vera (girl with Down Syndrome). Thanks to my Vera I had the opportunity to fellowship with volunteers from the United States as well as staff and volunteers here in Ukraine. Their lives are truly devoted to the Lord; and they show it by helping children like mine. These volunteers are truly the hands and heart of the Lord on earth!!!
— Tonya Tugas, mother.
Tonya and Vera

Tonya and Vera

Over 100 children with disabilities and 92 parents were served during our two camp sessions. Sure, it costs a significant amount of money.  But there is no doubt in our minds that the investment made in the lives of these kids and their parents is well worth the return!  What price can you put on a soul? Only God knows what happens within the hearts of parents and campers, but for those of us who volunteer, we will never be the same! Thank you all who gave, prayed and volunteered. May God bless you 100 fold!  Our cup runneth over!

Don Lawton,

MTU Vice President