MTÜ Peeteli kiriku


So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Summer Camp in Saaremaa

In the spring of 1998, we began searching for a location to organize a summer camp for children. We found different campsites, but when we told them who we wanted to camp with, we were told that unfortunately, it was not possible. Just when the situation seemed quite hopeless, God led us to meet the people responsible for the Tumala Manor House near Orissaare, who kindly welcomed us, listened to our story, and gave us the opportunity to hold our camp there.

The Tumala Manor House had long served as a school, but after the school was closed, it had stood empty for years. There was no running water in the building, but the doors and windows were still there and some rooms had electricity. These conditions suited us well.

The situation with lice and scabies was very challenging. We built outdoor washrooms from boards and plastic sheeting, and for heating water, we used an empty gasoline barrel over a fire. Initially, it was very difficult to get the children to wash themselves, but soon everyone realized how good it felt to be clean, and before long, there was a long line at the washrooms in the evenings. 🙂 It was a huge help that our good friends from Norway, Sweden and Finland sent us clothes and groceries for the camp.

The summer camp, which lasted for more than a month, proved to be a real challenge for both the children and the adults. It was filled with surprises and disappointments, joy and anger, trust and betrayal, and a lot to discover and learn. Learning to understand, forgive, and love.

There was a lot of unresolved conflict between the children, which they knew how to resolve with nothing but physical force. To prevent clashes, we often had to sit in their room in the evenings and read the Bible until they all fell asleep. At the camp we organized a nighttime church service in Pöide church, and children who wished were baptized during that service.

During the camp, the trust between us grew even stronger, and by the end of the camp, the children said they didn’t want to go back to Kopli. Although initially, washing hands and feet in the evening seemed like a hassle, now everyone wanted to sleep between white sheets. That’s when we finally understood that the children were ready to change their lives, but they needed a safe place to live. They needed to feel protected and cared for like any other child. They needed a home.