Barefoot Republic, one of Fellowship Bible Church’s local partners, was founded in 2009. Its mission is to facilitate Christ-centered relationships between individuals from diverse racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds through an equally diverse platform of artistic, athletic, and team-building programs. While Barefoot Republic has a retreat center in Kentucky, Fellowship’s partnership focuses on the weeklong summer day camp in July at our Brentwood campus. Children from all backgrounds, including kids from Fellowship, El Shaddai, New Hope Academy and the local community, had fun and built relationships. This year, we were grateful to have a group of 14 Fellowship students and 8 adults from Fellowship and El Shaddai that served alongside the Barefoot staff. You can see a recap of the camp week by watching this video as well as below pictures showing activities throughout the week.
Loneliness and isolation during the pandemic have affected children more than we could have imagined, which makes the need for camps like Barefoot Republic greater than ever. The staff at Barefoot Republic encourages and models for their campers “how good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity” as stated in Psalm 133. The breakthroughs and cross-cultural friendships have served as a beautiful reminder of how the Lord has intentionally designed us to be in community with one another. This was exemplified by a senior high female camper that invited her "Republic" to the bonfire pit the last morning of her camp session. She had come to camp with her suicide letters already written, but the love that she experienced at camp compelled her to burn these letters with her newfound sisters in Christ. She shared through tears that she had once again "felt seen" by her peers and that she sensed that she "had purpose" through her Savior. It is the hope that every camper who attends Barefoot Republic experiences the same love and pursuit of Jesus.
The Lord has been faithful through partners like Fellowship Bible Church in helping Barefoot Republic navigate the financial downfalls of running a camp during Covid-19. Some of the reduction in revenue from cancellations in retreats and programs was offset by an increase in donations, which still enabled 1,250 campers to attend one of Barefoot Republics’ camps. Amazingly, participation by over 60% of these families and campers was supported financially! Please join us in praying for these children and their families.
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