Thursday, August 13, 2009

Children's English and Dorost Camp

The final week of July-- the 27th through the 31st-- was my final English camp for the summer. During this week, a few women from the church in Trinec, a few American volunteers, some Czech youth volunteers and I worked together to do an English day camp for children at the parish hall of our church. For 5 days, from 9 to 3, we basically had a VBS in English for the Czech kids, ages 7 to 12. Some of the children were from our church, but a lot of them were from non-Christian families who have a strong desire for their children to know English. Our activities included singing, story time, Bible story time, snacks, crafts, 2 English lessons, lunch, and outdoor sports everyday. We used last summer's CPH VBS materials (the leftovers from my home congregation), and so our theme was all about friendship, what kind of friend Jesus is for us, and how we can be good friends for others because of Jesus' friendship for us. My favorite part of the day was working with my students to learn their Bible memory verses every day.

For me, the greatest blessing of the week was getting to know one of the women on the American team. The American team was composed of three people, two were my World Mission field coordinators, David and Radka Fiala. The third was a dear Mrs. Carlton from Michigan, the widow of an LCMS pastor who has an extensive background in overseas missions and who has spent the majority of her summer in Poland and the Czech Republic, serving her neighbor in Jesus' name at English camps and laboring for Habitat for Humanity in Poland. This woman was such an encouragement and blessing to me in so many ways, and her love for her Lord and the people He died to save was inspiring.

Bright and early on Saturday morning after the Children's English camp ended, I was on the road to go to a 7 day youth camp with the youth group from the Trinec congregation. About 5 adults, 25 youth, and I went to a sort of retreat center just outside of the village of ─îim, which is about 50 km south of Prague. The area was surrounded by woods and hills, with a creek flowing through the camp's grounds to a nearby lake. We spent the week hiking, swimming, boating, and running around after dark playing games in the woods. We also spent part of one morning rolling down a hill in our sleeping bags and playing other great sleeping bag games. Two times a day we met in small groups for discussion of our daily topics, Bible reading, and prayer. In the evenings, we had a speaker each night to teach us from Scripture something related to our camp theme.

The theme was "Two Ways" and we talked about this in two contexts, the first, the difference between the Two Ways that people live, with and without faith in Christ. The second context was in decision making in the Christian life and what kinds of things in our lives we often struggle with that can either draw us nearer to Christ or draw us away from Him. The topics included laziness, peer pressure, loneliness and fear, among others.

The week was a great time for me to get know the youth better and make great friends of a few of the girls [younger sisters, at their request :) ]. It was also a good chance for me to deepen my friendship with some of the teen leaders of the youth, as well as expand my Czech vocabulary. It was also a very fun, relaxing week, a good one for my last week in the country before a month-long vacation at home in the States.

Please pray:
-for the kids who learned about Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and promised return for the first time during the children's English camp: pray that the Holy Spirit will grow the seed of the Word which was planted in them during the camp, giving them faith in Christ and salvation in His name
-for the youth group: that these young people will continue in their faith, growing and following Christ, not being distracted or discouraged from the Lord by the things of this world. Pray that the young men will grow up to be strong men of faith, understanding what it means to be a man of God, spreading the Gospel to those all around them, growing to be leaders in the Church. Pray for the girls, that they will grow up in their faith, finding joy in the Lord and strength from Him, and learning who they are as women in Christ.

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