BULGARIA YOUTH CAMP

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Summary

The Bulgaria Youth Camp project seeks to facilitate racial reconciliation between the Turkish speaking and the Bulgarian speaking segments of the church through a summer youth camp program which has been on-going since 2011. The goal of the program is to encourage and teach young adults Christian ethics and view points and raise a new generation of young leaders in the church who are open to diversity.

Cost

The total project cost is $4,883 per year.

BACKGROUND

The Bulgarian Evangelical Church of God Youth Camp began in 2011 under the leadership of former missionaries Dave and Kathy Simpson. Dave and Kathy saw a need for ethnic reconciliation between the Turkish speaking and the Bulgarian speaking parts of the church as the two parts did not communicate or work well together.

Vision

The idea was that the young people do not have the same prejudices as deeply ingrained in them through the culture. The youth camp exceeded expectations and continues to be a great avenue for the reconciliation between the two parts of the church.

STRATEGY

The main goals of this project are racial reconciliation between the Turkish speaking and the Bulgarian speaking parts of the church, encouraging and teaching young people Christian ethics and view-points, and raising young leaders in church. The total project cost is $4,883 per year which covers campsite lodging, transportation, fuel, materials, and t-shirts. 

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Bulgarian Youth Camp Goals

1.1

Racial Reconciliation:

The Turkish speaking part of the church comes from a minority group in Bulgaria: the Turkish speaking gypsies. They face daily prejudices in Bulgaria and most of them have low self-esteem when in contact with Slavic Bulgarians. They live in ethnic ghettoes (“mahalas”) within different towns and villages, set apart from the rest of the town. The city of Plovdiv has one of the biggest gypsy ghettoes in Europe and the Church of God is located in the center of this neighborhood. These are places where other Slavic people are scared of visiting.

Unity among the youth is important. There’s unity as we plan and execute the camp. There is unity as we worship and study at the camp. There is unity as we play games and are involved in many other activities.

The camp is a place for most of the young people from these neighborhoods to feel accepted, and provide them a safe place where they can interact with the other Bulgarian-speaking youths.

Young leaders:

Currently the Bulgarian Church of God is facing a leadership crisis. Recently there has been a change in the leadership structure as they find solutions to the problems. The core of the leadership crisis is the difference between the two racial groups of the church.

The camp has been providing a leadership structure that gets everyone represented and heard. It has provided the possibility for young leaders to be recognized not only from the Bulgarian-speaking part, but also from the Turkish-speaking part of the church.

The planning team also meets many times during the year to plan other church activities. Thanks to Dave & Kathy Simpson (retired missionaries to Bulgaria who started this project), the young leaders have learned new ways of leadership which are inclusive and educational.

Camp themes and lessons are well-planned and usually reflect actual problems faced by young people, and especially faced by the minority populations in Bulgaria.

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Youth encouragement:

The three Bulgarian-speaking churches have less church members than the Turkish-speaking churches. The youth population is significantly lower. The camp provides the possibility for them to meet with many other young believers from other churches. Sincere relationships have been developed among the races over the few years of this camp ministry. Foreign visitors also play an important part of the camp. The Bulgarians understand that they are not alone and belong to a much larger community of the Church of God around the world.

Cost Breakdown

Camp site lodging (6 days)

Transportation (Bus rental)

Fuel (equipment transportation)

Materials (booklet, games, prizes)

T-Shirts

Other

Total = $7,100

Campers provide $2,217 for registration fees for a total project need of $4,883 to subsidize the camp.

$5,358

$855

$171

$228

$260

$228

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Photo Album from Previous Camps

Bulgaria Youth Camp
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Bulgaria Youth Camp

The Bulgarian Church of God leadership writes:

Brethren in Christ,

On behalf of the Bulgarian Evangelical Church of God, I wish to thank you for the support and encouragement you’ve shown towards our youth. The camp project and other youth activities you help fund and encourage, have produced young leaders and committed youth.

Dündar Esman

Will you join Global Strategy in preparing a path for the next generation of leaders?

Ways to make a difference

  • Check – make checks payable to “Church of God Ministries” and specify “Bulgaria Youth Camp – 42.40088 in the memo line.
  • Online – visit this link

For more information, contact Alyse Hoover at 800.848.2464 or [email protected]

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