The end of summer tends to mark transition on our team as some of our full time team conclude their work with BlueSky. In the picture above, our team is saying goodbye to Lexi (Camp), Daley (Youth), Bryce (Youth) and Stephen (Climb). Each of these individuals poured over two years of their lives into the lives of students and young adults in Kenya. Their impact is seen and felt in the lives of those who have come to Christ through their ministry, those who have gone deeper in their faith, and in those seeds that have been planted in the hearts of those who do not know Christ. We are so thankful for each of them and the unique gifts and passions that they brought to our team.
As we look toward the fall, we are anticipating seeing the Lord continue to move in the community around us.
Kim is our executive director. In addition to growing BlueSky into the future, she recently moved into a cottage in a neighborhood that lacks the influence of believers. She is looking forward to building relationships as she shares her life in this community.
David and Tammy (Wesley, Hannah) are entering their third year of service with BlueSky. David is our director of operations. The Prestons are known for their hospitality and it is such an example to all of us. By opening their home and sharing a meal together, they have been able to develop friendships with families who would otherwise be unwilling to spend time with Christians.
Michelle is entering her third school year as the director of our Youth ministry. She has done so much to add both structure and depth to the Youth ministry. We are eager to see the Lord continue to move through her as the new school year kicks off.
Luke and Christie are serving as the Climb Director and Climb Events Coordinator as they enter their second year of work with BlueSky. They transitioned to these roles in May and have been working hard to develop the Climb program so that it can increase its impact in the surrounding community.
Kaelyn joined our team in February and serves as the Camp Program Director. She has one summer under her belt and will be continuing to work to make camp even better next summer. She also loves both students and climbing and looks forward to serving alongside both of these teams during the "off-season."
Brett joined our team in April and is settling into his role as Assistant Director of Middle School. He will be reaching out to students by planning weekly events, leading covenant groups, and spending time on campuses.
Will and Brittany have been in Kenya since July. Will is serving as the Assistant Director of High School and Brittany is also serving as a Youth staff member. They love the Indian community and are very excited to get to know and share Christ with students from this background.
Stu and Lauren (Graham, Haddon) will be arriving in Kenya next week. Stu will be serving as the Adventures Director and Lauren will continue to serve as the Communications Director. They are excited to grow the impact of Adventures and live missionally in the Indian community.
This summer, 727 kids took part in Camp BlueSky! 5th session was the final week of camp and 175 kids attended, making it the largest session of our largest summer ever! As they heard messages developed from the theme, "Awaken," many of them did just that. They heard the truth and responded to it. We have much to celebrate. Our leadership team spend months preparing for camp, praying about the program and for the staff, asking the Lord to make much of Himself as he transformed campers hearts this summer. We had a great group of counselors who loved the campers and served them selflessly. We have much to celebrate this summer. Thank you for praying with us and celebrating all that the Lord did in and through Camp BlueSky this year!
For the past two years, our team has had an increase in the number of Youth staff in the field. Michelle, Daley, and Bryce started the year, with Brett joining the team this spring. As Daley and Bryce return to the States, Brett, Will, and Brittany will join Michelle to pick up where they left off. This team is in the schools, leading weekly events, and are there to disciple students deeper into their walk with the Lord. As a result of their labor, we've witnessed more students coming to camp and we are seeing more Gospel impact in their lives.
Raashi has been a Camp BlueSky camper for many years; but until this year, we only saw her when she came to camp. Daley has been serving in her Hindu school and has had the opportunity to INVITE her into relationship. Now Raashi, her brother, and several friends have begun to CONNECT to Christian students and staff, as well as hear Gospel messages by attending weekly Youth events hosted at Climb BlueSky. Last week, when she was at camp, Raashi and her brother, Hiran, were Awakened to the Gospel and began to follow Jesus. Praise God!
During Daley's first year in Kenya, she diligently pursued opportunities to be on campus at Raashi's school and began developing relationships with the students. Over the past year, she began to see students engaging with BlueSky outside of school and had the opportunity to plant seeds of the Gospel. And finally, just before she finishes serving with BlueSky, Daley has seen 2 students from this school come to Christ. What a huge blessing from the Lord to see the fruit of her work in Kenya.
We are seeing the Youth ministry and the Camp ministry work together to have a greater impact in the lives of students. It has been such a blessing to see the fruit of this growing team and know that as some of our team move on, we have others stepping in to continue impacting students.
Last week, 168 campers attended 3rd session. Many hearts were awakened to the truth of the Gospel. Here are just a few of their stories.
Oscar has been a camper for many years and has heard the truth many times. He doesn't come from a Christian home and lives outside of Nairobi, so his week at camp has likely been his only time to hear the Gospel. This week his heart was Awakened and he became a Christian.
Edward is from the United Kingdom heard about Camp when he attended a wedding in Pakistan. He flew in from the UK just for camp. He didn't know Christ when he arrived at camp. He said this was the most important week of his life and he left changed by the power of Christ.
Asha is in middle school and comes from a Hindu background. She had never heard the story of the crucifixion and she was so moved by the story. She asked for a Bible but was too scared to take it home in fear of what her parents would say. On the last day of camp she decided that it was worth the risk and asked to have a bible to take home and was overjoyed to start her relationship with Christ.
Paavan was a Hindu middle school student whose Dad died not to long ago. At the beginning of the week, he wasn't open to God and was very closed off. His counselor encouraged him to keep seeking God. By the end of the week, he shared that he now believed in God, which is a huge first step towards responding to the truth.
Please pray for each of these students as they return to their families who don't know Christ. Pray that they would continue to grow in their faith or continue search scripture for answers to their questions. Pray that they would be a light to their families and communities.
The BlueSky team is thrilled to welcome Will and Brittany Parker to our full-time team. They landed in Nairobi over the weekend. Brittany served with our camp staff from 2008-2010 and has always desired to serve in a full time capacity. After they were married in 2011, Will and Brittany began to pray about joining our team. We are so thankful that the Lord led them to Kenya!
William will be the Director of High School Youth and Brittany will serve as a member of this team as well as use her photography skills to help communicate the message of BlueSky's work. As they work with students, they will be spending time in schools, INVITING students into relationship. They are praying that Will's talent for music and Brittany's photography will create inroads into the area schools. They will be living very close to the climbing gym and are looking forward to building relationships in the area.
In addition to inviting students into relationship, they will also be CONNECTING them to the Gospel and the BlueSky community through weekly outreach events. Each week they will INVEST in students through Covenant groups.
Please be praying for them as they begin their work in Kenya. In addition to adjusting to life in Kenya, they will also be serving with the camp staff during July. William will be the camp pastor and Brittany will be serving in communications. Pray that the Lord would open the door to relationships with students during camp, helping them to build friendships with students who they will be serving throughout the year.
On the first night of camp, a cabin of girls stayed up late talking. One of their counselors said, "I have never felt so much darkness, just in their conversation, how they talked to each other, etc. Six of them said they were atheists, one is Hindu, and one said she basically grew up in a “Christian” home but didn’t believe." Of the same girls, their other counselor said, "My girls came in NOT believing-they were in darkness."
The counselors had a physically and spiritually exhausting week, the girls had so many questions. The Lord was faithful to carry them through and give them the answers tot he girls toughest questions. On Tuesday night they really opened up and said they wanted to believe in God, and believed all the stories, but nothing has ever happened to them personally to make me believe in God.” As the week went on, the girls continued to encounter the living God and the Spirit was working on their hearts. By the end of the week, the girls left in the LIGHT. The most hard hearted girls walked away believing that God is real and knowing that Christ died for their sins and he desires that they put their trust in Him. Praise God who softens the hardest of hearts!
Many other counselors saw hearts soften throughout the week as campers were Awakened to the truth of the Gospel. Thank you for praying and please continue to pray for these precious campers!
This week, 112 campers are having an incredible week at Camp BlueSky. Most of these children don't come from Christian backgrounds, in fact many are taught to believe that there is no God or to follow a god who is not the God of the Bible. These are the children of global leaders who are being raised to be the world leaders of the future. Camp provides us with the incredible opportunity to impact them during a pivotal season in their lives.
Over the past couple of years, the camp program has been modified to provide greater opportunity for Gospel impact. We've added the role of camp pastor, Jared, and he speaks to the children each night, which allows for greater consistency and depth of message. Jared presented the Gospel to the campers on Wednesday night at the CrossTalk and afterwards they had the opportunity to spend some time alone with the Lord, staring at the beautiful African sky. In addition to giving the kids more opportunities to hear the word and having more time alone, the campers are also having more cabin discussion time and some time for just guys and just girls each day. We're praying that each one of these changes gives campers the opportunity to hear, understand, and respond to the Gospel.
Would you continue to pray for the campers this week? Pray that many hearts would be transformed by the Gospel.
First session has come to a close and we have much to celebrate. Here are just a few of the ways that we saw the Lord working in the lives of our campers and staff last week.
Josh is one of our Junior Counselors and one of his campers really struggled with being OCD and one day was really home sick. Josh was able to use this opportunity to talk to him more about his struggle and encourage him in the Lord. Wednesday night after the talk about Christ's work on the cross, they were out in the field star gazing and this camper was really upset because he wasn’t sure if he was a believer. He didn’t know if what he had experienced in his past was real, and how to tell if he was a Christian. Because of the relationship Josh built with him, he was able to talk to him at a deeper level. Josh was able to encourage him and let him know that he saw fruit in his life, the camper was such a servant leader. On the last day, the camper thanked Josh over and over again for all he had done for him, by being a friend an encourager.
Darci was a servant of Christ this week. She had some very young, home sick girls in her cabin and even though they didn’t always want to be involved in what was going on at camp, she stuck by their side. She was a walking testament of what it looks like to be the hands and feet of Jesus. She was so patient, caring, and loving to the girls. It really blessed some of our other counselors to watch. We can all learn from Darci on how to serve God’s children.
Meradyth, one of our Meru counselors was able to share her testimony to her girls on Wednesday night. When they were out on the field star gazing, they started asking her lots of challenging questions so she decided to share part of her story. The girls were glued to what she was saying and were so engaged. It encouraged Meradyth to see how God can use her testimony to reach and encourage campers.
We asked you to pray for Aiden earlier this week. After hearing the Gospel on Wednesday night, his counselor John Allen talked with Aiden when they were star gazing and asked what he believed. Aiden shared his fears and his questions about God being a loving God. He worries about what his friends and family would think if he became a Christian. He is still searching and we need to continue to pray for him, he is so close to surrendering his life to Christ.
Camp BlueSky kicked off the camping season on Sunday when 101 campers arrived at camp. This year, the camp theme is "Awaken" and the theme verse is Ephesians 5:14 - "Awake, o sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Throughout the week, the campers are hearing a series of Gospel messages that are centered on this theme.
As we pray for all of the students hearing this message, our team is also asking for prayer for one specific student. Two years ago, a high school student, who is a professed atheist, walked into the lives of some BlueSky team members. Over these last years, Aiden has overtly and clearly shown his dislike for anything to do with Christ. However, thru BlueSky, he's found acceptance.
Last year, he began attending the weekly BlueSky Youth events, and then he committed to attending weekly Youth covenant group, where he sat around a table with others his age as a BlueSky Youth team member lead the guys in discussions about Jesus. A year ago, he went with BlueSky to a YoungLife camp in Tanzania, and everyone has watched his heart continue to soften. Over the past few months, he's attended church for the first time (just to check it out), and then he decided he wanted to come to Camp!
This week, Aiden is at Camp BlueSky, where he's clearly hearing a message about how Christ desires to Awaken us (Eph 5:14). On Wednesday night, he sat in a room with all the other campers and saw a visual display of the sacrifice that Christ made for us — that Christ died so that we might live. So many of the BlueSky staff have walked alongside this student over these years; and last night, the staff were boldly praying for this student to encounter Christ. During this week, this student has already shown even more of a softened heart and he's already learned all the Bible verses required to attempt the Lion's Pride Challenge (test at the end of the week of Camp). Will you join us in praying for this student, specifically this week? Pray that THIS week he will accept who Christ is and what Christ has done for him!
BlueSky Youth celebrated the end of the school year with the students recently. This semester the students heard a weekly message on the theme TRUTH. The theme verse was John 14:6, "I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me." In addition to hearing the Gospel at the weekly event, seventy-five students were involved in weekly covenant groups where they went deeper into the Word and sought to walk out their faith in community. Here are a few pictures from the final events and covenant groups.