Camp Betel: A miracle from God
    August 9 2010 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    TEGUCIGALPA, HONDURAS — Outside during play time, Cristian held both ends of the string and tried to make the green button spin around fast on the string. Most of the children got the hang of it and Christian did too, with a little help.

    When a Deep Impact participant gently moved Cristian’s hands close to the left side of his face, up next to his left eye, his spinning got faster.

    Cristian usually stood outside his house as the Deep Impact teams drove out from camp each day down the long windy road covered in so many bumps that even a seat belt didn’t do a thing to stop the rocking and swaying and jerking down the mountain.

    At home Cristian didn’t wear his bandana, exposing the tumor that caused discoloration on his face, the right side of his face around the eye to swell and his right eye to remain shut. Regardless, with a little extra care, Cristian participated in the fun just as did the other children.

    BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

    Betsy Skinner, left, of Memorial Baptist Church in Williamston, plays with one of the children at Camp Betel. Deep Impact teams held Vacation Bible Schools, medical clinics and did construction. See photo gallery.

    Cristian is one of about 30 children who attend a preschool hosted at Camp Betel and who came to a week of Vacation Bible School led by Deep Impact students and leaders.

    The VBS at Betel was one of six mission projects during the weeklong mission trip in Tegucigalpa.

    The children learned Bible stories and did arts and crafts. Perhaps some of the most fun they had all week came when the leaders made balloon animals.

    Once the children discovered that rubbing their finger up and down on the balloon produced a loud squeaking sound they proceeded to keep it up the rest of the morning, laughing hysterically every time.

    While one team led VBS, another team worked with the children’s mothers and grandmothers.

    The mothers and grandmothers also heard Bible stories and did crafts, their project for the week being cross-stitching.

    Although many of the ladies had never cross-stitched and learned for the first time, by the end of the week they arrived early to start work on their projects and worked until the children came by after VBS.

    Some of the older ladies couldn’t see as well as the younger ladies, so they helped keep the babies entertained while the younger ladies cross-stitched their bookmarks.

    Deep Impact is hoping the ladies can sell their bookmarks and use their new skill to earn money to help their families.

    A Deep Impact construction team also worked at Camp Betel all week, hauling cinder blocks and sand and laying mezcala in order to build a new preschool building. The building replaces the current rundown building being used for children’s ministry and the feeding program run by Elva and Ignacio.

    For two days a medical team set up a free clinic at Betel before moving to El Tablon.

    The husband and wife team of Elva and Ignacio own and operate Camp Betel.

    “It was a vision God gave us,” Elva said.

    Twenty-six years ago they began the camp as a place to train pastors and leaders, and as a place for pastors to meet and fellowship.

    Many pastors who come to retreats at Betel serve in areas where they are the only pastor and the loneliness can become hard to overcome.

    Camp Betel is what it is because Elva and Ignacio practiced tremendous faith.

    “We prayed,” Elva said very matter-of-factly, as if that’s all that was necessary for vision to become reality.

    Within three months of deciding to buy the property, an anonymous donor from the United States gave Elva and Ignacio the money they needed.

    Every other building on the property was built the same way — they prayed, God supplied donors and volunteers and funds.

    “Everything we started here was out of nothing,” Elva said.

    Camp Betel runs a feeding program for children and their mothers five days a week.

    They also teach the children Bible stories, celebrate birthdays and teach good habits, such as saying “good morning” and washing their hands before they eat.

    Elva also reaches out to the mothers on Mother’s Day by providing a food basket with basic items such as beans and sugar.

    Elva and Ignacio and their son, Sonny, used to live in the city, but moved out to the rural area to be closer to the camp.

    While Elva grew up in a Christian home, Ignacio did not. Ignacio lived with his grandmother awhile before turning to life on the streets. Eventually he moved in with his sister and her husband, who is a pastor.

    In their home Ignacio learned about God and through the pastor’s mentoring God changed his heart and he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

    Ignacio enjoys working with the pastors who come to Betel.

    Pastors and leaders often invite friends who are not believers and when they come to Betel, they hear the Word of God.

    “When they come here, something happens,” Elva said. “That’s a blessing to us.”

    Related stories
    Camp Betel: A miracle from God
    Grateful hearts worship in El Tablon
    Honduran pastor leads charge to change community
    Guest column: Reflections on Honduras
    Medical team makes Deep Impact in Honduras
    8/9/2010 10:36:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments

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