Famine relief for refugees launched from local youth
* Boiling Springs Christian Service Camp teaches kids about food hardship in Ukraine, Uganda
May 13, 2022
ALVA, Okla. – Every summer children from Town and Country Christian Church in Alva travel to the east-side of Boiling Springs State Park as youth gather to nurture bonds of friendship lasting into their adult years. This year, six Alva kids are attending.
Linda Gordon, Town and Country's youth director, says it is an amazing opportunity. "It shows that we are members of a global church and that missionaries are real, ordinary people who love God. It lets our kids know that they can make a difference in someone's life while opening their hearts to a life of service," she said.
The Christian Service Camp office – a skid-built building doubling as a nurse's station – has made its migratory path from a church parking lot, where it was wintered, to Boiling Springs State Park near Woodward. The park's main stone shelter, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, is rented to local churches to host their annual youth camp.
Boiling Springs Christian Service Camp's goal this year is to provide a corn-soy meal for over 200 families for famine relief through Mercy Partners.
Mercy Partners forges alliances in various countries to make providing food and aid possible in war-torn areas. For example, during the current Russian invasion of Ukraine Mercy Partners has raised over $18,000, assisting orphans, purchasing food and mattresses, mobilizing aid workers, and supplying ongoing emergency food for over 1,500 “internally displaced” people. And this June, while working with the youth at the camp, Mercy Partners Director Tom Kilian will be communicating with their teams in East Africa, Ukraine, and surrounding countries that host 17 Ukrainian families the group is assisting.
One of the campers' activities is participation in a special water relay: campers carry jerry cans of water, which many children use in developing countries for hauling daily drinking water. It doesn't sound very hard, until campers actually begin: the five-gallon jerry can weighs about 40 pounds when full.
"Learning to appreciate how important water is to life flips a switch,” said Kilian. “Once you get it, everything you think about begins to have a gravity of appreciation.”
The campers will also send food to famine-plagued Bidi Bid in West Nile, Uganda, one of the world's largest refugee settlements, said Kilian. Every $7 feeds a child an enriched nutritional meal for two to three days. In addition, Mercy Partners documents children's mental and physical developmental performance, seeing marked increases during their relief efforts.
"Having the youth of the Christian churches among the Hi-Plains (Hi-Plains School of Missions, Shattuck) participate in giving a hand up to refugees makes a global impact,” said Kilian. “It provides the children of this region a larger frame of reference that will combat prejudice and injustice right in their community."
Those interested in learning more can visit http://www.mercy-partners.org (where you can also contribute to “Mercy for Ukraine”), or call 910-920-0004 or email [email protected] If you'd like to donate to the feeding campaign, visit https://donorbox.org/boilingsprings by June 1.