The Camp Site project came into being in the year 2008 as Pastor John Wynn, one of the Assistant Pastors of the church, started praying for a vision about building a Camp Site; having a deep longing for every young person to have that opportunity to be under the influence of the preaching and fellowship of a youth camp and at the same time an opportunity to make life changing spiritual decisions. One of the other ministries that Pastor John has is the Youth Camp that we have every year and it was where the vision came from. Throughout the decades, the Lord has been using the Youth Camp to lead many lives of young people to step into God's will and it also has been one of the ways to reach the lost souls.
Pastor John, at the age of 16, was called out to be a missionary in one of the Youth Camps here in the Philippines, years back. At present, most of the local and foreign missionaries that we have are those who made major spiritual decisions in a Youth Camp. We have missionaries in Vietnam, Taiwan, Burma, Indonesia and in many places here in the Philippines serving the Lord and fulfilling His calling, and it all began one night at a youth camp when the Holy Spirit of God through His Word gave them grace to surrender their lives to Him and for His will! These are decisions that set the lives of young people in a direction that has taken many off to different places and has involved them in Church Ministries.
Down through many years that the church have handled annual youth camps were sometimes in Tacloban, Dulag, Tolosa, Alang-Alang and wherever else it could find the facilities that would accommodate campers and be affordable. The places we have been to are not formally camp sites; they are usually schools that can function as camp. In the past years, we have held it in our church where we tried hard to accommodate more than a hundred of delegates from the different places in the Islands of Samar and Leyte. Many of the young people don't actually care about how nice and comfortable facilities are; everyone just looks forward to the fun and fellowship in youth camp no matter where it was or what the facilities were. During the last years that we have had youth camp, it seems that one of the main difficulties for the host church is finding the facilities big enough to accommodate the growing number of campers we have. As a result camp fees have gone higher, and our church here in Tacloban does not have the facilities to be able to properly take care of almost 180 campers and workers who attend. Thus, several years ago the Lord Has put in the mind and heart of Pastor John (the Camp Site Director) the burden to initiate this Camp Site Project - Camp facilities to hold youth camp for the churches we fellowship within Leyte and Samar.
The Birth of Another Ministry
The Camp Site project became another ministry. With a great conviction of this vision, immediately the search of a property began. Pastor John started looking for a piece of property and found somewhere in Babatngon, Leyte, a 45- minute drive from the city. Just before going on a furlough, he produced (together with some young adults in the church) an Audio-Video Presentation for a fund-raising campaign in churches in the US. He was able to present it to churches in the States and begin raising the one million pesos which was set as a budget for the 4 hectares of property to purchase for the campsite. As the campaign started in the US, there was no concrete idea where the money would come from, but God does and that alone kept the fund raising moving forward. Little by little, the money came in enough for a piece of property. Going back to the Philippines after a six-month furlough, Pastor John had so much excitement to share that the Lord had worked in so many amazing ways to show how He is a great God who can provide everything.
CAMP VICTORY - A Work in Progress!
The Lord allowed us to find a place with the right price in Babatngon, Leyte, where actually the first prospect is nearby located. It was a four-hectare land situated in Brgy. Victory of the said town and as a result, the camp site was named CAMP VICTORY. The clearing of some part of the property was immediately initiated. Pastors, Bible Students, and some church members were actively a part of this activity. Everybody has been very much involved in this endeavor. The church also has organized "pintakasi" (group cleaning operations) which was a way of fellowshipping and working. Clearing was continued and by God's grace and provision, the driveway was built and the culverts were installed.
At present God has blessed Camp Victory with a full-sized gym, first class kitchen, offices, sound room, snack shop, one fully furnished cabin, two dormitories, staff housing and many more things. We just hosted three camps with 330 in attendance, 20 professions of faith and a host of young people who decided to put the Lord first place in their lives. We also host many weekend retreats and outings now at Camp Victory. To all those who helped us with this project, your labor has not been in vain. God bless!