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Encouraging English Camp Staff & Volunteers in Moldova! by Linda Sheimo

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Hi Friends

Olive Branch International (OBI) is a unique organization grounded in partnering with other organizations to accomplish a project or program. We partner with organizations, government agencies and people with the needed skillsets and capabilities.

"Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love,

a tender heart and a humble mind." 1 Peter 3:8

One such example of this is the 2019 English Camps in Moldova. Mariana was the camp director for these two English Camps. We worked with the Ministry of Defense on the location. One non-profit organization provided the American team for the first camp and OBI provided the American team for the second camp. English as a second language was the main goal along with the opportunity through many experiences for teens to grow and mature in many ways. In February of this year, Mariana organized a reunion for Moldovan in-country staff and volunteers. These meetings served as a time to reinforce English speaking skills learned at camp, as well as spiritual truths. OBI supported the camp reunion including the attendance of Bruce Kittleson and Jeff Jernigan. OBI and our partnering organization realized we could not host English Camps in the summer of 2020 due to COVID-19.

Even though they could not meet in person Mariana recognized the need for contact, encouragement and training. Mariana led several ZOOM meetings with the American and Moldovan staff to understand what was happening in our countries and communities, encourage each other and also learn new techniques. It was early Saturday morning for me, but I was happy to see familiar faces and meet new ones over Zoom.

Mariana with Volunteers

They expanded the ZOOM meetings to include campers who wanted to stay in touch. She followed the same format so we were able to see everyone's smiling faces and share much laughter. We learned from each other and were able to celebrate the victories. We all expressed appreciation for the opportunity to meet a year ago at English Camp as well as share our love for each other even now in the middle of a pandemic.

Just a few weeks ago, God told me to reach out to Mariana and pray for her. When I did that, she was able to update me on the challenges of returning to school to teach. There are still classes, people wearing masks, the use of hand sanitizer and students taking classes online. It sounds just like here. But she also shared that this summer her camp team created a magazine that describes English camp, how campers and their parents reacted to their experience at camp, how the Ministry of Defense enabled the camp to happen and the hope that was shared with campers and parents. She is researching how to distribute the magazine, so when camp can be held again there will information to draw in more participants.

The work continues in Moldova through various programs. God has used Mariana to bless her neighbors and all those who have and will attend English camps.

We too are pleased to have the opportunity to bless others around the world through the work of OBI even in the middle of COVID 19. Our work continues around the world through creative implementations and partnering with other organizations in-country. We look forward to resuming travel as soon as the restrictions are lifted. For now, our work continues remotely through innovative approaches.

Your donation enables us to bring hope and encouragement in these uncertain times.

Your Sister in Christ,

Linda Sheimo

Board Member

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