Monday, August 10, 2009


Xcamp was from July 18 to the 25th. It is a huge youth gathering organized by people from my church here, SCEAV. It is a big tent, week-long evangelism meeting. The teenagers stay over night and have small group discussion/Bible studies, attend fun workshops and seminars on different Christian topics in the mornings. In the afternoons adults (and young people not staying on-site) come to hear the evangelist speak, to sing, to have supper, and then attend a concert in the evening.

Xcamp by night.
The teens slept in the tents in the background.
All the meetings happened in the big tent on the right.

This year was my second year at the camp, and I have to say it was far superior to last year. This year I wasn't lonely because I'd spent the whole year getting to know people who were at the camp. It was a lot easier for me this year, because my Czech has really improved, so I wasn't lost all the time. The evangelist was an American, too, so that didn't hurt, to be listening in English (and also paying close attention to the translation, too).

Xcamp by day.

This year was wonderful for meeting new friends, and I was especially blessed to have some pretty extensive, deep, hard conversations with some non-Christians. The most memorable was talking with a young man who'd been invited to the camp by one of our mutual friends. We spent a very long time talking about God, what kind of a being He is. My new friend, R., is the most honest non-Christian I've ever met. He knows and believes that God exists, that He sent His Son to die for the sins of the world, but for him none of that matters because he hates God. That's right, those are his words. He admitted it. It's important to note that most people who hate God (i.e. everyone who hasn't been given the gift of faith in Christ Jesus-- the Bible describes all of us before faith as God's enemies) won't come right out and say it. They'll say they don't believe He exists, that He's just a fairytale. Or they'll say that they don't know. Or they'll say that they hope that they are well behaved enough to get into heaven, even if it probably doesn't exist (figure out THAT logic...).

No, R. is honest. He knows God exists. He also knows that because of his own rebellion against God, he deserves hell. He kicks against this, it chafes on him, because he knows that there are only two options: believe, trust and worship God or go to hell. He doesn't want either one. He says, "It's not fair. God didn't ask me if I wanted to be created, and now I have to love Him or suffer." He says that God is evil because in spite of the fact that He knew before creating the world that there would be sin and that His creatures would not believe Him, that they would go to hell, He still created them. And He still created them with the possibility of sin. "Why didn't God just create everyone in heaven with no sin to begin with?"

As you can imagine, it was a very long, very difficult conversation to explain to someone who hates God, who thinks Him evil, that He's really good, that He defines good. And how to explain the "WHY" questions: Why did God still do it? Why is there evil? Why did He create ME, knowing that I wouldn't want to exist? I had my work more than cut out for me. My concern for R. and that God would shower His grace on him, snatch him out of his sin and rebellion and hatred for God, has been hard on my heart in prayer. It pains me that someone can confess that my God is but so COMPLETELY miss who He is and what He has done, the nature of His altogether lovely and irresistible wonder, goodness, and holiness.

*Interesting note that God's nature is so hidden from and unknown to R. This year's Xcamp theme was "K neznámému Bohu" or "to an unknown God," from Paul's visit to Athens in the Acts of the Apostles. We spent the whole week talking about God's various attributes...

I had another conversation with a girl, B., who sort of grew up in the church, but now she doesn't think she really needs "that kind of thing." She was at the camp because she had been visiting her grandmother, attended church with her, was caught by the kids in the youth group and insistingly invited to come.

Of course I had a number of talks with fellow believers which were of untold encouragement, conversations which magnified Christ's goodness and glory, the wonder of His atoning death. In short, it was a great week and I'm looking forward to attending the camp again next summer!

My Xcamp group
Ashley Angerman (center, in white), the other LCMS missionary in the Czech Republic, and I led it together.
The photographer wasn't concerned with making us look good...

Please please PLEASE pray for R. and for all other people like him who are at such all out enmity against God. Pray that God would make His own glory great by conquering such a rebellious heart and making him to be a worshiper of Jesus Christ. If the Lord can save a sinner like me, He can surely do the little thing of rescuing R. from his sin and rebellion! May the Lord open R.'s eyes to His own infinite mercy, goodness, and love to him through Jesus Christ and give him joy in living eternal life before the throne of the Almighty!

Please also pray for B. that she will see her need for the Lord and believe that Jesus has died for her sins, to make her His own and to be her treasure.

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