Camp Betel: A miracle from God
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 09, 2010

Camp Betel: A miracle from God

Camp Betel: A miracle from God
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
August 09, 2010


Outside during play time, Cristian held both ends of the string and tried to

make the green button spin around fast on the string. Most of the children got

the hang of it and Christian did too, with a little help.

When a Deep Impact

participant gently moved Cristian’s hands close to the left side of his face,

up next to his left eye, his spinning got faster.

Cristian usually stood

outside his house as the Deep Impact teams drove out from camp each day down

the long windy road covered in so many bumps that even a seat belt didn’t do a

thing to stop the rocking and swaying and jerking down the mountain.

At home Cristian didn’t wear

his bandana, exposing the tumor that caused discoloration on his face, the

right side of his face around the eye to swell and his right eye to remain

shut. Regardless, with a little extra care, Cristian participated in the fun

just as did the other children.

BSC photo by Melissa Lilley

Betsy Skinner, left, of Memorial Baptist Church in Williamston, plays with one of the children at Camp Betel. Deep Impact teams held Vacation Bible Schools, medical clinics and did construction. See photo gallery.

Cristian is one of about 30

children who attend a preschool hosted at Camp Betel and who came to a week of

Vacation Bible School led by Deep Impact students and leaders.

The VBS at Betel was one of

six mission projects during the weeklong mission trip in Tegucigalpa.

The children learned Bible

stories and did arts and crafts. Perhaps some of the most fun they had all week

came when the leaders made balloon animals.

Once the children discovered

that rubbing their finger up and down on the balloon produced a loud squeaking

sound they proceeded to keep it up the rest of the morning, laughing

hysterically every time.

While one team led VBS,

another team worked with the children’s mothers and grandmothers.

The mothers and grandmothers

also heard Bible stories and did crafts, their project for the week being


Although many of the ladies

had never cross-stitched and learned for the first time, by the end of the week

they arrived early to start work on their projects and worked until the

children came by after VBS.

Some of the older ladies

couldn’t see as well as the younger ladies, so they helped keep the babies

entertained while the younger ladies cross-stitched their bookmarks.

Deep Impact is hoping the

ladies can sell their bookmarks and use their new skill to earn money to help

their families.

A Deep Impact construction

team also worked at Camp Betel all week, hauling cinder blocks and sand and

laying mezcala in order to build a new preschool building. The building

replaces the current rundown building being used for children’s ministry and

the feeding program run by Elva and Ignacio.

For two days a medical team

set up a free clinic at Betel before moving to El Tablon.

The husband and wife team of

Elva and Ignacio own and operate Camp Betel.

“It was a vision God gave

us,” Elva said.

Twenty-six years ago they

began the camp as a place to train pastors and leaders, and as a place for

pastors to meet and fellowship.

Many pastors who come to

retreats at Betel serve in areas where they are the only pastor and the

loneliness can become hard to overcome.

Camp Betel is what it is

because Elva and Ignacio practiced tremendous faith.

“We prayed,” Elva said very

matter-of-factly, as if that’s all that was necessary for vision to become


Within three months of

deciding to buy the property, an anonymous donor from the United States gave

Elva and Ignacio the money they needed.

Every other building on the

property was built the same way — they prayed, God supplied donors and

volunteers and funds.

“Everything we started here

was out of nothing,” Elva said.

Camp Betel runs a feeding

program for children and their mothers five days a week.

They also teach the children

Bible stories, celebrate birthdays and teach good habits, such as saying “good

morning” and washing their hands before they eat.

Elva also reaches out to the

mothers on Mother’s Day by providing a food basket with basic items such as

beans and sugar.

Elva and Ignacio and their

son, Sonny, used to live in the city, but moved out to the rural area to be

closer to the camp.

While Elva grew up in a

Christian home, Ignacio did not. Ignacio lived with his grandmother awhile

before turning to life on the streets. Eventually he moved in with his sister

and her husband, who is a pastor.

In their home Ignacio

learned about God and through the pastor’s mentoring God changed his heart and

he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.

Ignacio enjoys working with

the pastors who come to Betel.

Pastors and leaders often

invite friends who are not believers and when they come to Betel, they hear the

Word of God.

“When they come here,

something happens,” Elva said. “That’s a blessing to us.”

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