This summer's English Camp in Smilovice, a nearby village, was July 6-12. This was such an incredible camp this year. Last year was good, of course, but this year was incredible. It felt to me as though this year was really focused on what is important, that is, that this year the point of the camp was to tell the teens in attendance about Christ, and English was simply the means to do that (last year I felt as though the camp was more concerned about "fun" and teaching English).
Just as last year, an American team came from two congregations in San Jose, CA (and one man from Iowa). The team of 12 people (3 women and 9 men, 4 teens and 8 adults) arrived in Trinec a few days before the camp started in order to have a day for the American and Czech teams to bond and to create one English Camp leadership team. This was a great addition to the camp, as it really allowed the teams to unify, to get to know one another, and to get on the same page, that this year we were going to be about sharing Christ first and teaching English second. We also had a lot of fun, having a photo scavenger hunt at a local castle during the day, and cooking dinner for each other in the afternoon.
English Camp T-birds
During the camp, every day we had English classes, Bible studies, and discussion topics. There were also activities such as a hike up a mountain to the location where Protestant Christians from the area would meet to worship during the persecution of the counter reformation, lots of sports and outdoor games, crafts, and free time. In the evenings, we had several different programs, such as a campfire, an Oldies party, a talent show, and a very complicated scavenger hunt with a puzzle and text message clues, which we played throughout the whole of the village of Smilovice.
One of my favorite parts of the camp was getting into deep discussion with another of the leaders (our wonderful, German photographer) about how we are saved, whether God or man does the choosing (which of course, God chooses us and man is completely incapable of making any kind of "decision for Christ": we are DEAD in sin and trespasses before the Holy Spirit calls us and gives us life through the Word). This was a very lively, passionate conversation which had many rounds and lasted a couple hours in total. For me it was wonderful, because it was the first time I've really had a chance to get into a debate with someone about anything in over a year. It was so refreshing for me to be able to go deep with this brother of mine, to completely disagree with one another but to still have great friendship and mutual respect, still being able to enjoy one another's company. Wow it was great.
Finally, the theme of the camp this year was "Y" and we, every day, took on one of the difficult "Why" questions of life (my dad always says "you can't answer 'why' questions"; nevertheless, we still labored to give answers to life from God's Word to the kids in attendance).
Good things have already come from the camp for God's kingdom. L-- a non-Christian girl who came with her Christian friend, B, to camp-- said to B last weekend, only a week after the end of English camp, and said, "By the way, I'm a Christian now." Hallelujah, God be praised for adding people to His eternal kingdom!
Please pray that the students from English camp who learned about Christ, but who have not believed in Him yet: that the Holy Spirit would do His work in their heart though the Word of Christ which they have heard. Also pray that the students who already knew Christ before the camp would persevere in their faith and that they gladly seek out opportunities to tell other about the forgiveness which they have in Jesus Christ, our wonderful God and Savior.
"God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved." Ephesians 2:4-5
"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you." John 15:16