Yeshua demonstrated his compassionate heart towards children, and though scripture provides us with only a few examples, it is not hard to imagine that He formed relationships and impacted the lives of many children in this Land while He walked among us. He walks among us still!
From small beginnings, with a few activities for the mothers with their children at holiday times, our outreach to children and youth has now expanded to encompass a wide range of programs throughout the school year and during holiday times. Our heart’s desire for the youth and children is to develop supportive relationships with each of them while having fun together. A side benefit of our ongoing activities is the development of lasting peer support groups and friendships with other believing youth outside of the school environment. This is a huge encouragement to our youth, many of whom stand alone in their class or school as the only believers in Yeshua. Our ministries to children and youth include:
After School Activities
During the school year we offer a variety of after school activities. Small groups of children in similar age ranges meet for sports and games as well as for Bible study, English lessons, arts and crafts, and other areas of interest. The younger boys and girls meet together, while the youth divide up into girls and boys groups for their activities. The youth meet all together for a monthly “club” that includes games, worship, teaching, and fellowship.
Hiking and Camping
During the Passover holiday vacation, Yuri and other dedicated members of the staff take the youth out into the desert for three day hiking and camping adventures. Though they complain about the heat and hurting feet, the youth really enjoy these challenging hikes which provide lots of hours on the trail for building relationships and building character.
When the hot summer rolls around, it is time for camp. We come together with the older youth (ages 11-16) for five days and nights of team building and group activities, swimming, sports, worship, teaching, special activities, and fun. The staff goes home exhausted, while the kids go home energized and encouraged.
The newest addition to our work with the children involves a partnership with a ministry in Austria called KISI. In December of 2013, we produced a musical, translated into Hebrew, and starring our kids of all ages. The preparation began months in advance, leading up to an enthusiastic performance of singing, dance, and joy. The activity was a huge success, and artistic productions are now an integral part of our work with the children of Afikim BaNegev. KISI hosts large, spirited worship conferences in Austria annually, and whenever provision is made, we have taken several of our young people to the KISI conference where they have received huge encouragement and an expanded vision.