“This summer we have three main projects: One in Rison, one in Moscow, one in St. Petersburg,” Mangione says. “It’ll be four weeks in the first location, two weeks in the second location, and one week in the third.”
Every camp will work on “building relationships, teaching life skills, teaching English, teaching the Bible, and living day-in and day-out with the youth.” But each location has its own set of goals, too. The Rison camp is primarily concerned with English-learning, Moscow with Bible studies, and St. Petersburg with discipleship.
But none of the camps are run for free. SOAR needs funds to cover curriculum, materials, and travel expenses, just to name a few. “When you donate towards summer ministries, it kind of encompasses everything,” explains Mangione.
Mangione says the energy volunteers bring into the mission field is incredibly helpful, but the volunteers can also become drained. “These trips, you give and you give and you give and you give, and there are some days where your body just kind of shuts down.”
That’s why above all, SOAR International is asking for prayer: “Prayer for the teams, for the comradery of the teams, for their health, for their strength, [and] for that transition.”
If you want to follow the progress of the teams, you can do it from SOAR International’s Facebook page. The first group will leave on June 8th and won’t be back until late July, but it’s not too early to start praying.
“Prayer is a huge thing and so beneficial, and we feel it when we’re over there,” says Mangione. “Some days you’ll be completely exhausted and the next day you just feel this burst of energy that you didn’t think you’d be able to have anymore, and there’s no other explanation.”