“‘The whole camp is on fire!’, yelled one of the boys in art class after we learned about Pentecost and made our flame headbands,” recounted new OCMC Missionary to Albania, Theophani Sarigianis. The Protagonist School Day Camp in Albania really was on fire - with the Holy Spirit - thanks in part to Theophani and her husband Steve.
Over 200 students participated in this year’s summer camp which is run for kindergarteners through 5th graders who are part of the after-school “Spiritual Journey” catechism program, 20% of whom are not Orthodox. The camp makes for an excellent opportunity to witness our faith to the children!
Having recently arrived in Albania as OCMC Missionaries, this is one of the first major ministries in which Steve and Theophani have participated. The annual camp is led jointly by Albanian teachers at the Protagonist School and OCMC Missionaries, including Presbytera Georgia Gilman-Bendo, Director of the Protagonist School, and Presbytera Alexandria Ritsi.
The theme of the camp was Holy Week, Pascha, Ascension, and Pentecost, and they learned about these feastdays in daily lessons throughout the week. They also enjoyed participating in art, gym, and music classes, and worked on skits, songs, and flags together.
This camp was both fun and deeply spiritually edifying for the children. “There was one student in my class, Petro,” reflected Presbytera Alexandria, “who really enjoyed the story of Thomas not believing that Christ had risen from the dead. He related to his doubting and understood that he should pray to God when he feels in doubt or like he doesn’t believe.” It’s essential we focus on cultivating and raising up our youth to be the future of the Church – and the Protagonist School Day Camp is doing a fantastic job of that!