‘Champs’ meet Christ at Croatian camp

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In this once-communist nation, non-Catholic believers often face suspicion. But Churches of Christ report progress.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | The Christian Chronicle

ZAGREB, Croatia — For nine years, members of Churches of Christ in this central European capital have organized an annual outreach to children known as “Champs Camp.”

It’s not every year, though, that the weeklong, Christian-themed day camp mixes Vacation Bible School songs and lessons about Jesus with a venue normally reserved for dancing and drinking.

“This may be — I don’t know — the first VBS ever held in a nightclub,” quipped American missionary Steve Taliaferro, who arranged the alternate location amid rain and the threat of lightning at the normal outdoor site.

The 85 Croatian children who showed up didn’t seem to mind — or even notice — the whiskey bottles stacked high along the Aquarius Klub’s walls.

They were too focused on the Croatian and American teens — including a mission team from the Crestview Church of Christ in Waco, Texas — who led them through six stations: one for crafts, one for games, one for sports, one for skits and songs, one for snacks and one for Bible study.

“We walked in, and I saw two bars immediately,” said Grant Davis, 16, part of the Crestview youth group. “I was like, ‘What is this place?’ I found out later it’s a nightclub.”

He decided they might as well redeem the space.

Read the full story.

This story appears in the August edition of The Christian Chronicle.

RELATED COLUMN: On Croatia trip, a son reminds his father of the value of missions (reporting from Zagreb, Croatia)

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