Rene and Cristina Matus are Ventura Missionary Church missionaries, serving in Mexico through Love in Action Partners. One of the events that has been significant in their ministry over the years is an annual "APV" camp where they share God's beautiful design for abstinence and purity, and ultimately the value every individual has in Christ. In early August 2021, they hosted their seventeenth girls camp! (They have hosted boys' camps as well.)
Cristina shares, "God's sweet and comforting presence was there and His joy filled the campsite…It was amazing! 220 girls attended, a wonderful team of volunteers was there to serve, and 38 accepted Christ into their hearts for the first time."
Among those who participated in the camp were girls from two orphanages, and some girls who are deaf. In addition, some girls who had never left the mountains where they live traveled by bus to be a part of the weekend.
We were able to sit down with Rene and Cristina and hear about some of the stories from this year's camp.
One story involved a girl who shared with Cristina that in 2020 during the Coronavirus pandemic, her mom had run across the digital version of the camp and they had watched it together. Cristina said at the time, they wanted to provide some form of the camp, but due to all the restrictions, a virtual camp was the only opportunity they could offer. They didn't know if a seemingly impersonal way of sharing the content of APV would have any effect on people's lives. But this teen and her mom had gotten so much out of the two-hour event through a computer screen, they were determined to sign up for the in-person camp this year.
The APV camps have been shown to have a lasting impact in many lives. Selene, a young woman who was a participant a few years ago would attest to that truth. She was so inspired through her experience, she later returned to volunteer with her mom. And, right before this year's camp, Rene and Cristina were able to attend Selene's wedding. Selene actually timed her wedding and honeymoon around when camp took place so that she could again serve as a volunteer and help other young women learn to put Christ at the center all their relationships the way she had learned to do.
To partner financially with our missionaries, like the Matus family, note "Missions and Outreach" on your check, bill pay through your bank, or online gift.