Horse Program Highlights 2011
22 March 2012
The horses at Camp La Joya, Peru, have become a highlight of camp experience for hundreds of children. These huge, gentle animals access the hearts of children in ways that nothing else can, and expose them to the grandeur of God’s creation. Over the past decade many camp visitors have mastered skills of horsemanship and personal character which they never imagined that they were capable of. In the process, they have grasped spiritual truths and made spiritual decisions of life-long impact.
In 2011, the camp offered its first Horse Camp—level one of equitation and horsemanship. This was an intimate time with four campers focusing on the Bible, sharing life together, and improving their horsemanship. Laughter was a constant companion. The camp administrator is very motivated to develop more “specialty camps” after witnessing the profound results of smaller, focused camps.
Another encouragement has been the training of Pinto, a horse that was born here. He is now being ridden by campers.
For three girls who attended both junior youth camps, these horses are a ministry in their lives. These girls live in a children’s home with 22 other children ranging in age from 2 to 18. They attended the first camp as campers, and the second as helpers. Spending time with the horses was healing for them. They are from a “children at risk” home and are seldom given the opportunity or permission to just be kids without the responsibility of caring for younger ones. Time spent brushing and riding the horses was a rare and significant gift to them.
Several junior youth confessed that the reason for their great excitement was their personal victory over fear of horses. They were so encouraged that they could do something which they felt that their fear would forever keep them from trying.
A father and son meet the Father and Son
This past year, Agapito, the man who shoes the horses (a police officer who does the horses for the police force in Arequipa) hurt his back and needed an operation. As a camp, all the workers were praying for his recovery and that God would use this time to touch his spiritual life as well. In one of our phone conversations shortly after his operation, while he was still in the hospital in Lima, he told us how God had been speaking to him and he had been “born again”!
During the retreat he came to the project manager, Vegas Dargatz, and hugged her saying he was a new person with peace in his heart! We rejoice that through our horse contact with his dad, both father and son now know the Lord and are planning to attend a C&MA church in Arequipa! Praise God with us for these miracles of new life in Christ! Please pray for Agapito’s son to integrate well with the youth group of the church.
Thank You!Thank you for "saddling up" with us in 2011. We are asking God for funds for a closed-in corral where training and riding instruction can be given without fear of escaping horses. If you would like to donate towards this, please contact your nearest SIM office or give online to project 89011. Thank you and God bless!