Friday, July 18, 2008
Two Weeks of Summer Break
It's been two weeks since English Camp (whole group from English camp shown in picture), and they've been wonderful. I have spent a lot of time preparing for my English classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings, working on my June newsletter which I finally sent yesterday, and being with the youth group kids I love so much. I am still working on uploading my photos from English Camp to a web album on Picasa (operated by Google). Once I've finished, I plan on including a link on my blog to the album. I took over a thousand pictures during EC, but Picasa places a 500 photo limit on its albums. This is for the best, as I'm sure I don't have even 500 pics worth sharing with the whole world.
There's really not a lot of news to share about what's been happening during my weeks "off," but I guess I have a few favorite things that have happened I'd like to share. I got to spend Sunday afternoon with Pastor Michal and his family (wife Sarka and their four kids). We went to a retreat center in the mountains where a bunch of families with young children were having a weekend retreat. There Michal spoke with about marriage; how to keep your marriage healthy, how to honor your own marriage and how to honor the marriages of those around you. In the afternoon, following his talk, we all went to Sarka's parent's cottage where the kids and I swam. It was great fun. I especially enjoyed the splashing game that we got into. It's great to play in the water with kids who haven't yet figured out how to splash someone effectively. I guess I had an unfair advantage, but I don't regret it. It started to rain (and practically hasn't stopped since) and we had to get out of the pool. It was a really great afternoon.
Another favorite thing of the past two weeks is that this band, made up of six young men with whom I'm becoming friends, has been practicing in the basement of the parish hall in the evenings. They are the main worship band for XcamP, a huge camp event that begins tomorrow and lasts through next Saturday. I really love to sit in on their practices and sing along with the songs that I recognize and watch them as they interact and as they jam out on their instruments. They are some of the best musicians I have ever known, and they are really tight. I think they've all been playing together for about 4 years, and so they follow one another really well. I wish that all of you reading this could have the opportunity to watch and hear them rather than just reading this inadequate description of them.
It was really wonderful to go out for coffee yesterday afternoon with one of the members of the Czech team from English Camp, Katka Konesová. This girl is incredible. I really enjoyed her and her crazy-fun personality and her energy and her love for Jesus when we were at English Camp. She isn't from the Trinec Lutheran Church-- she isn't even from Trinec-- and so I never get to see her. But we made a date for yesterday to spend time together and get to know one another better. It was just wonderful. I have hopes to build a really good, lasting friendship with her.
Another delightful thing of the past two weeks is that I have started to have some Czech lessons. One of the members of the worship band, Tomas, and I became friends during the English Camp. After camp, I knew that he didn't have a summer job, and so I told him that since he had so much time on his hands, he should help me to learn Czech. He thought that was a great idea, and so I've now had two Czech lessons with him. For our first lesson, we went to a pub and he taught me all about all of the things one finds in a pub and how to order food or a beer and things of that nature. It was a great time. For our second lesson, we talked about daily routine. I learned all about how to describe my patterns for getting ready in the morning and how to talk about what I do throughout the course of the day. Today I shared what I have learned with some of my other friends, and they were all amazed. I was kind of embarrassed and nervous that I would say things incorrectly because I didn't practice a lot, but so far everyone has been pretty impressed. I have to say though, that I don't think they are impressed so much at my stunning ability to speak a little bit of Czech as they are at the fact that I've learned anything.
So, tomorrow I go for a week to XcamP. This is a huge event for this area, organized by Daniel Chlebek, the youth pastor for the whole Silesian Church. It's a really big week of evangelism and discussion about a Bible topic (this year it's about the Exodus, hence the name "X"camp), with all kinds of cool events like sports and concerts. It's kind of like big summer music festivals in the US in that most of the people who come pitch their tent and sleep right next to the big tent where all of the big festival activities take place. My role for the week is to be a group discussion leader. I will be leading group members in English discussion about our twice daily Bible topics. I am really looking forward to this and am hoping that the people who opt to be in my group really are ready and willing to discuss the topics in English, rather than hoping to get an English lesson. Another important thing to note about XcamP is that not all the people who come are already Christians. In fact, I understand that a really large number of them aren't already believers, and so we have our work cut out for us to show these young people through the story of the Exodus how God also wants to lead them out of their bondage to sin into the Promised Land of heaven through His Son, Jesus Christ. I'm really excited about it!
-Please pray that God would use XcamP as a huge tool for the spreading of His Law and Gospel into the lives of young people in this area who have either never heard the Truth before or who have heard it but never really been affected by it.
-Pray that all of the leaders at XcamP would be faithful to our task to lead discussion on God's Word and that we would be tools for God. Pray that we would be sensitive to God's movement and that we would be welcoming to serious questions and discussion about real problems or doubts in the lives of the members of our groups.
-Please continue to pray for the children who attended English Camp, that those who received faith in Christ would grow and be nurtured in their new faith and that those who are not yet believers would grow to believe what they have heard.