GOING GLOBAL: RFK Camp Comes to Ghana
Pastor Joshua Earnest Tay (aka “Papa JET”) flew to the USA this year to raise funds for his ministry in Ghana, especially for children’s programs. Ghana has over one million AIDS orphans and many are abandoned and live on the streets of Accra, not far from Glorious Harvest Ministries Church where he serves as founding pastor.
In May, Pastor Joshua came to the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Chicago for new ministry ideas, but he kept returning to the Royal Family KIDS booth, quizzing Kerry Rhodes about RFK camp. He loved the “treat people royally” message, but he could not see a camp working in Ghana. “We just don’t have the money!” he told Kerry. Plus, most Africans don’t get paid vacation so how could volunteers give a week to help kids? “This is God’s camp for HIS kids, if it is going to happen it is up to God!” Kerry told him. Then Kerry, Glenn Garvin, John Schweider and the RFK team gathered around Joshua and prayed.
Within days, Joshua was emailing the office and chatting by phone with Joanne Feldmeth, who directs RFK international programs. In June, he got on a bus for a 17-hour ride from Illinois to Texas for Camp Directors’ Training! He emailed the office: “By the grace of God I arrived successfully in Texas yesternight for the RFK Directors Training Institute Camp. Scott Murrish picked me [up]… He and the wife are hosting me in such a wonderful way … We have had our orientation. It’s exciting! …Am meeting more wonderful leaders and friends… God bless you all and the big royal family kids leadership…”
When the training covered “Everybody’s Birthday Party,” Joshua confessed he had never had a birthday party! So Training Director Jeff Juhala and the class threw him a party! By the end of the week, this young pastor was determined to bring RFK ‘royal treatment’ home to abused and abandoned children in Ghana.
Once home in Africa, Joshua’s preaching changed. In September he focused on the gospel messages about orphans and vulnerable children and explaining the Royal Family KIDS approach to his church: 18 camp volunteers signed up! The new team started intensive planning, deciding on the Christmas 3-day holiday for a weekend camp. Joanne emailed new camp covenants and legal agreements to establish the program, and ‘met’ some church staff via Skype. Jeff sent e-versions of the training manuals and Joshua launched formal RFK Counselor and Staff Training in November!
With an estimated $4,000 needed to run camp, a committee went to local Accra corporations for sponsorships. They were turned down by every company they asked! Three weeks before Christmas, Pastor Joshua refused to delay camp, convinced God was calling them to move forward in faith. He received the OK from Joanne and Jeff to approach his American RFK training class, and Jeff also contacted key USA Camp Directors.
On December 12, $3,639 was wired to the church for RFK Ghana! The funds came from RFK friends, directors and churches. On Christmas Day 2014, the first RFK Camp in Ghana welcomed orphaned and abandoned children as a result of Royal Family international partnerships and the unwavering vision of a young African pastor we met in Chicago!