Early 2005 - Keynsham Elim partners with CASA Grace
CASA Grace, based in Oradea, Romania reached out to the charity TEN (Transform Europe Now); the charity is based in Bristol and was set up to raise awareness of the great need in many Eastern European countries. CASA Grace requested help with their social work. Our leadership, wanting to encourage the youth to engage in our ministries, agreed with CASA Grace to jointly organise and run a summer camp for the underprivileged children from Oradea and the surrounding villages, with the aim to bring hope to children from these deprived areas.
Summer 2005 - First summer camp
With a small youth team of 12 people, we took on the challenge of foreign mission by putting on a summer camp. We faced many new challenges and learnt lots of important lessons. Living conditions were testing, water, new foods and the language barrier were very trying for our new team. The reality of the situations these young children lived in, moved us.
Together in partnership with CASA Grace, we saw many lives changed for those first youths. We were profoundly blessed and radically changed as a result of this camp. 4 of our 12 went to Bible College, 1 founded an orphanage in Kenya, and another became a doctor - the impact the camp had on our own team was life changing.
2006 - The summer camp returns
Inspired by our first year, and acutely aware of the encounters the children had with God, we agreed to return for a second year, again partnered with CASA Grace.
2007 - The summer camp grows
Having now led 2 successful summer camps, and keen to reach more children, we were ready for a new challenge. CASA Grace works with many families, and in this year we were able to support 120 children for a week long camp.
2008-2010 - The camps continue
Year on year we continued to support more and more children. Learning from our continued experience, we were able to continue to have a huge impact of the lives of these children.
2010 - sponsorship launches
Our camps have always been supported through charitable donations and volunteers, and without them, we would not be able to run these camps. Particularly, some individuals from our church and other friends outside of our church were keen to support our work in Oradea. As a result, a small sponsorship programme was launched, enabling individuals to pay for a named child to attend the camp. A handful of individuals chose to sponsor a child through regular ongoing donations. Since 2010 through little publicity of our own, demand has grown organically for the sponsorship programme which now consists of around 30 regular sponsors.
2010-2017 - Sponsorship continues
The sponsorship programme has grown, as have the children attending our camps! With many challenges we've experienced along this journey, we have had continued prayer and support from our regular sponsors. Without this support we would not have been able to work with CASA Grace to forge ongoing relationships and see the positive changes our ongoing work has on families in the region.
2018 - Relaunch of the sponsorship programme
In recent years we've experienced new and reoccurring financial challenges that come with changing economies, rise in flight costs and other increasing pressures. At the same time, we have a growing number of supporters from our communities who valiantly want to support our volunteers financially. Through relaunching our programme, and advertising it to the wider public we hope to better enable those who wish to support the children to do so with regular donations, and help fund the camp so we can continue to make an impact to the hundreds of families our partners CASA Grace regularly support.