“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs to the kingdom of God” (Mark10:14 ESV)
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Please take a moment to re-read, ponder, and even visualize the beautiful words of Mark 10:14 written above. It is easy for me to close my eyes and vividly see a child running, or maybe leaping, into the arms of Jesus, whether in Michigan, South Africa, or Europe, and it is truly a magnificent image. We have probably experienced this with our own children when they ran full speed and leaped into our arms. Perhaps today the children doing this are your grandchildren.
I encourage you to never forget what you have just visualized. Why? Because we all know, or at least know of, children who may not know they are loved by Jesus. Those entrusted to care for them have failed in their responsibility to bring Jesus into their lives. I know that we are deeply saddened by this, because we know how vital it is for children to know, and learn, about their Savior at an early age.
You Can Have an Impact
Although we cannot change or control every situation, we can have an impact. One of the ways I’ve seen that take place for literally hundreds of children over the past four years is through our Acts 2 Enterprise (A2E) Summer Sports Camps/VBS outreach programs in Detroit and Pontiac.
These camps, two in Detroit (one on the east side and one on the west side) and one in Pontiac, have shown to be very successful in introducing children to Jesus. Pastor Christopher Bodley guides the two Detroit camps, and Pastor Dietrick Gladden has done the same for the two years the Pontiac camp has been offered. We praise God for these two men who have dedicated their ministry lives to seeing that children, and their families, are introduced to Jesus.
These hard working men, however, cannot do this by themselves. They need help, and lots of it. First, they need missionaries (volunteers) to be at the camps and teach the children the various sports skills being taught throughout the week long camp. Typically, five or six different sports are introduced to the participating children, who are between the ages of 5 and 17.
Missionaries are also needed to lead the daily “huddle” meetings, which are the Vacation Bible School component of each camp. These missionaries truly have an opportunity to bring Jesus into children’s lives, and even into the lives of their parent(s) through the relationships and trust they build with each. If you have an interest in being a Sports Camp/VBS urban missionary, please let us know.
Providing the Experience at no Cost to the Campers
The second way you can help is critical to the success of the Summer Sports Camp/VBS ministry. Our goal is to be able to provide these camps to the hundreds of children attending at absolutely no cost to them. We have been blessed to be able to do so for the initial four years of the camps, and our goal is to continue to do the same during the summer of 2017.
This is accomplished through camp sponsorships provided annually by those who have a desire to see children have an opportunity to meet Jesus. $55 sponsors one child; $110 sponsors two children, and so on. We have been blessed by individuals, congregations, and organizations who have sponsored 10, 20, or even more children. We have been able to maintain our sponsorships at $55 since the inception of the Sports Camps/VBS programs four years ago because so many caring sponsors have chosen to invest in the life of a child.
What the Sponsorship Covers
In addition to the camp activities, every child receives a delicious meal each evening, daily refreshments, and a t-shirt to remind them of the important things they learned during their week of camp.
Please prayerfully consider how you can help this year. Your decision to sponsor one, five, ten, or even more children, will be a wonderful blessing from the Lord. You are making an eternal difference.
Thank you for assisting Pastor Bodley and Pastor Gladden to help show the love of Jesus.
May God grant this for His sake, and for the sake of the children who will hear the Word of God this summer.
In shared service and love for those who are least among us,
Rev. Dr. David P.E. Maier, President
Michigan District, LCMS
P.S. As Sports Camp/VBS gifts are given, if the A2E ministry is blessed to receive sponsorships that exceed the number needed to sponsor every child, any funds exceeding that need will go towards the general support of the A2E ministry.