Children Camp “Good Deed” in Cologne
During the autumn holidays, the 16th-20th of October, the Child-Youth centre of “Saint John of Shanghai” in Cologne was hosting another children and youth camp. The coordinators and pedagogues decided to name it “Good Deed” this time and dedicate it to the theme of compassion and support of ill children.
The main “good deed” was the preparation to a charity fair which will be held in Cologne, on the grounds of the church of Great Martyr and Healer St. Panteleimon, as it is the tradition, on the 18th and 19th of December. Inspired and with a lot of joy the children and adults crafted christmas tree decorations, decorative wooden panels with ornaments made out of pebbles from the Rhine River, girls sewed aprons. Before the work started, the adult volunteers of the Diakonia “Good Deed” told the participants of the camp about the ill children that we are helping out.
By the look in the eyes of the younger and older children it was apparent that the stories about the children from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, who came to Germany for treatment, moved them. Why someone can’t go to school, has to live outside their home for months or even years, in another country, away from parents and friends, experience pain and suffering?
It seems that the children started to understand, that these questions, which even the adults had no answer for, could only be answered with warmth, love and care. The spiritual crafting turned out to be a showing of true love. Even the most chaotic children got involved.
“Hurry to do good deeds!” – we spurred each other with the words of the famous Moscow doctor Fedor Petrovich Haass. Hardly anyone knew that his actual name was Friedrich Joseph Haass, that he was born into a family of a chemist, on the 24th of August 1780, in the little medieval village of Bad Münstereifel at the tumultuous mountain river Erft in Eifel. Nowadays you can easily reach his hometown from Cologne within an hour. Which we did. The weather forecast threatened us with heavy rain and wind but we prayed, took our umbrellas and set out on our pilgrimage nevertheless. The day turned out excellent and the rain only caught up with us on our way back.
At the camp we carried out the ceremony of knighting a couple of the leavers of the sunday school – they became leaders for the first time and, we hope, with time they will also become active members and volunteers of the Diakonia Good Deed. They are however already helping out with the preparation and execution of benevolence faiers, shows, concerts and balls. Talents pop out right in front our eyes. The story of Haass impressed the new leaders so much that upon the arrival back they invented and led a quiz adventure with the kids based on the hot trails of the pilgrimage.
Fedor Petrovich (Friedrich) Haass, who “gave his soul for his neighbour”, bonded Russia and Germany with the heroism of active love, using every day of his life to show that true christian love will conquer all borders – territorial, administrative, social, religious. We believe that the doctor unknowingly blessed the members of the camp to hurry to do good.