“Yes urakh em, Hisus indz ksire!” “I’m so happy, Jesus loves me!” More than 220 campers sang these words this summer throughout Armenia at Backyard Camp. Kids from around the country had the opportunity to see Jesus through programming translated into their heart language, hosted by local leaders, and resourced by the global Church of the Nazarene.

The Church of the Nazarene is young in Armenia. Led by teens and young adults, camps reminded those involved of Paul’s charge to Timothy: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12)  The camp production team organized leaders, translated and recreated resources, crafted gifts for campers and beyond.  

In the capital city of Yerevan, leaders gathered early each day to share breakfast and coffee during a devotional from Pastor Anna. Further north in Akhuryan, Pastor Rosa would ring a bell, calling campers together for group worship. In rural Maralik, surrounded by fields of wheat, the day began with singing and dancing. In Gyurmi, local leaders encouraged and prayed for their campers. 

Throughout five whirlwind days of joy and hope, campers worshiped and learned together about the abundant love of Jesus. They sang songs, saw stories brought to life, and built clay compasses to help learn about God’s presence. 

On the last day of camp in Akhuryan, parents came to hear the kids sing and dance, and then heard the gospel. Pastor Sayran and soon-to-be ordained Pastor Gohar closed with a call to salvation.

Team members worked hard, some serving all four camps. Each camp also helped build leaders within their local churches. Leaders were the hands and feet of Jesus in Yerevan, Akhuryan, Maralik, and Gyumri—reminding their communities of Jesus’ words: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

– shared by Jonathan Daugherty, serving in Armenia