In the final term of the school year, South Simbu Christian Academy hosts an evangelic outreach event. The students anticipate it, and the teachers spend much time planning and preparing. In 2015 the day was entitled Camp Day. It is a day of games similar to those played at a summer camp.
The students were informed of this at the start of the quarter. At the same time the school was split up into two teams: the Green Pythons and the Orange Spartans. For the next five weeks they had the opportunity to receive points for their team through behavior, scholastic achievement, and games. The competition ended on Camp Day, with a prize given to each member of the winning team.
Excitement was high throughout the five weeks. Students were continually peeking into other classes to get a glimpse of the points posted. Each teacher awarded points for different things. Yes, there was a competition between the Green and Orange teams, but there was a more informal one among the grades as well — which grade earned the most points for their team that week? This friendly competition brought out a desire to do well along with the occasional resentful attitude. While the latter is not desired, both responses resulted in quite a few teachable moments.
In addition to the points received in the classroom, Matthew and Rebekah Crain and Jessica Foster spent many lunch periods teaching the students the "camp games." From human pyramids, which produced hilarious results (Is it still a pyramid if most of the participants are lying on their stomachs?) to games with large inner tubes, the kids had many new experiences. Some of the events had mixed reviews from the students afterwards, but the smiles and laughter during the learning process were impossible to ignore at the time. Even the occasional poor attitude during or post game provided opportunity to sit down and discuss the importance of having a Christ-like attitude at all times, even during a competition.
The weeks leading up to Camp Day were full of laughter and excitement, but it was also a time of preparation and evaluation for the students. We asked that each of them decide on one friend to invite to Camp Day. This friend was to be someone who does not regularly attend one of our churches. Our desire was to present the Gospel to kids who do not often hear God’s truths. The students would have the opportunity to talk with their friends on their own. Time was spent in the classroom asking the students to think through their own testimonies and reviewing verses that would be helpful in leading someone to Christ. Our prayer was not only that the students would have a desire to share Christ with others but that they would also use this time to evaluate their own faith — what are they trusting in?
Finally the day dawned. We had been praying for good weather, and the Lord provided. In their anticipation, most of the students - with their friends - arrived early and were able to help set up things for the games.
Matt started the events with prayer and led some songs. From there the group was split up into its two teams. Those who were not students joined their friend’s team. One team wandered off to a nearby classroom where Rebekah presented the Gospel to them in a group format. The other team split off in pairs, each student with his invited friend, and our students shared God’s Word one-on-one. Once Rebekah’s presentation was finished, the teams switched places. This portion of the day ended with all the students together as Matt issued an invitation. Though there were no outward responses at this time, we know the seed was scattered and pray that it found fertile ground.
Then the games commenced. While competitive spirits were high, friendship and good sportsmanship were predominant. It was a blessing to see none of the poor attitudes that had occasionally surfaced during the weeks prior. There was a lot of laughter, smiles, treats, and, of course, prizes at the end for the victorious team (though it was a very close score!). But, above all, we trust that God was glorified and Christ was revealed in both word and action.