At the mention of the name “Camp Sumatanga” you will see a smile come across the face of many of those who attend Fayette First UMC. Sumatanga has made a huge impact on many lives and the congregation has a great love for the camp. Because of that, the Fayette First UMC youth chose to serve three days at Camp Sumatanga painting, clearing trails and building a fishing pier as their mission project this summer.
Dana Gilliam, Director of Youth Ministry at Fayette First UMC explains, “Instead of heading out of the state or out of the country to do mission work, we decided to give back to our Conference. Camp Sumatanga has touched so many lives through summer camps, week and weekend retreats and also the Emmaus Community so we wanted an opportunity to share in their ministry.”
Senior Pastor of Fayette First UMC Rev. Eric Bagwell says, “It is fantastic to see the enthusiasm our students have for helping at the camp. Most of them have been to summer camp at Sumatanga several times. They are talking with pride about their contribution making an impact on generations of campers. God is doing amazing work through our kids.” He adds, “Our ‘grown folks’ support the youth program well here, but we all could still learn a lot about the joy of giving back from our young people!”
Sumatanga’s Executive Director Matt Johnson adds, “We were so blessed to have Dana and her team visiting us and helping with the projects. They were a joy to work and play with. I hope this is the beginning of some great partnerships with local churches and youth groups. There is always much to be done, and we love hosting groups who want to share their time to help Sumatanga continue its ministry for years to come. “