Sunday, July 24, 2011

Zlin Camp

we just finished camp and now we have two camps under our belt. wow! i cannot even believe how fast our summer has gone. i mean we will be home in almost three weeks, unbelievable!
click on picture to open a much bigger size!

Zlin has a stellar youth group who were all eager to serve the students from their town. it really amazed me watching these students talk to, spend time with, and minister to their fellow students. they really were on top of every task that they had been given!

we had 63 people total at this camp.

  • 6 Americans from intern team
  • 4 Americans from american church
  • 2 Americans from a military base in Germany
  • 10 Czechs from the Czech team
  • 41 Czechs from Zlin or from surrounding towns
i was pretty nervous going into this camp, because it was my first time teaching all the night talks. i love speaking in front of people, but (being extremely honest) i get terrified when it comes to communicating the Word of God to a group. the week went very well though. there were no major problems, and i felt like i was able to really connect with some of the students. the theme of camps for this year is: Collision. 

the main theme of the week is about people in the Bible who have had collisions with Christ, and how those collisions have changed them.

we have seven talks during the week:

  1. Christ is different than you think
  2. Jesus and the adulterous woman
  3. Jesus and Zacchaeus 
  4. Jesus and the rich man
  5. Jesus and Pilate
  6. Jesus and the two thieves 
  7. Jesus and Peter
this theme and the talks are meant to challenge students to (re)think who Christ is, and who Christ is in relation to their life.

it was a really successful camp! and i use the word successful in a way that may not make sense to the world. 

we did not have anyone (to my knowledge) give their life to Christ.

we did not have anyone (to my knowledge) want to join the local church.

we did not have anyone (to my knowledge) promise to change their lifestyle


we did have students ask for Bibles

we did have students tell us that they were interested in learning more about God

we did have students tell us that they had never thought about God, Jesus, or the Bible in this way before

we did have students that looked physically distressed in their wrestling of where they stood with God

in man's eyes i am sure that this camp would be deemed completely unsuccessful, but i know for a fact that in God's eyes this camp worked out perfectly in His master plan. and that is all i need to know.

we will add more soon telling more about his camp. stay tuned!

a better picture of camp

i realized yesterday that we haven't posted anything that would help you get a better idea of what our schedule is at camp and what we do every day during camp. we wanted to make it a bit clearer for you. there will also be another update coming later today or tomorrow about our second camp as well.

so this is what happens for a typical camp. we arrived to the camp location on:

Friday (this is the day before camp, students arrive saturday)

  • dividing up bed rooms
  • making banners, signs, and mailboxes for the doors
  • setting up technical equipment for band/projection equipment
  • praying for the camp, students, and our team
  • spend a little more time getting to know the Czech youth group

Saturday (first day students arrive)

  • check the students in 
  • play games with them as they wait to be tested for English
  • test the students on their English comprehension and speaking abilities
  • place the students into classes
  • take students to their room to get settled in
  • eat dinner together as a camp, and introduce leaders
  • first evening program
  • announce English classes
  • go to discussion groups

Rest of the Week (everyday has the same basic schedule with minute changes)

8:00 - morning meeting with all Christians

8:30 - breakfast

9:15-10:45 - morning program/English class starts

10:45 - break

11:00-12:15 - English class

12:30 - lunch

1:00-3:00 - free time/workshops (i.e. friendship bracelets, guitar lessons, art lessons)

3:00-5:00 - sports

5:00-6:00 - free time

6:00 - dinner

7:15 - evening program starts (i.e.  announcements, game, camp dance song (one shot - hawk nelson), other camp songs, evening talk)

8:30-9:00 - break out for discussions groups (same group as for English class)

9:00-9:30 - end discussion group

10:00-11:45 - free time/evening activity

12:00 - lights out

this is a typical day at camp! have any questions or comments? please leave a comment below this post and we would love to respond and answer any questions that you might have!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trinec Camp

Trinec camp ended yesterday and it was such an amazing camp! we had just around 60 people total at camp, and it was a huge success! this camp was only the second for the town of Trinec, but it was almost like a brand new camp because last year they only had 2 students outside of the youth group sign up. this year we had over 20 students outside the youth group come to camp.

the american team that we had came all the way from Gig Harbor, Washington. the team was comprised of 2 leaders and 12 students from their youth group. they were a truly amazing group to work with. they were eager to help, and stepped in wherever we needed them to, and not only accomplished what was asked of them, but went above and beyond our expectations. i am praying that the Lord would make it possible for this group to come out and work with Trinec again for the next few years to come!

the Trinec youth group did a superb job of serving the students of the camp, and for all they knew, there wasn't even a youth group; that is how good the youth group was at getting to know new people. i get really disappointed at most Christians because they cannot seem to break out of their circle of Christian friends. this was not the case at this camp and i believe this is one of the reasons why our camp was so successful.

i have said some things about the different teams, but i haven't even touched on the most important team of all. that team would be the team that we all became when we met together at camp. i have never seen the czech, american, and intern team work together like ours did. it was so cool to see how Christians, literally a world apart, seperated by: language, culture, and history, can instantly come together with one common goal and work together for the Lord's glory!

the conditions for camp did not lend themselves to creating a good camp atmosphere, it literally rained over half of our time at camp. even though the weather forced us to stay indoors, it did stop us from having a blast from within our entrapment. Caro, did an amazing job of facilitating sports for camp indoors. we had a great amount of activities to do that kept us sane and in a right state of mind.

the night talks were given by Johnny, the leader of the american team, and he did an amazing job! he is a gifted speaker, and definitely helped the students engage with what was being taught and really challenge them to actively process and wrestle with what they were hearing.

english class went great, minda's fears concerning teaching english were squelched after she got into the teaching groove, and she found that she actually quite enjoyed it. and from the laughing coming from her classroom, i assume that her students enjoyed it as well! this was my only camp that i will be teaching english, due to the fact that i will be giving the night sessions talks for the week. i am looking forward to being stretched from this, but extremely nervous about it as well. i love talking in front of crowds, but i still struggle with being confident while speaking the Word of God; i want to do it well and do not want to leave anything out.

i have never seen students more open to hearing and talking about God before. it was really cool to have discussions about Him and have the conversation not fall into a negative light. by the end of camp there were two students that accepted Christ to my knowledge! what an awesome answer to prayer! i do not want to list their names, because of their personal privacy, but please be praying for these new believers, i am sure that they will need the support of their new family!

we have two days rest until we begin our next training and camp so please be praying for:

  • the Lord to prepare me for teaching
  • for our team to get much needed rest
  • for the two new additions to our eternal family!!

Where's Waldo?: Find Minda!!

Friday, July 1, 2011


i had the most amazing conversation yesterday and i just had to share it with you all. it is just another example of God's goodness and the amazing process of how He works in His timing.

i came to the Czech in 2009 as an intern for the summer. during one of the three camps that i was at for the summer, cesky tesin camp, i met this really cool girl named Natalie. she was one of those students that was seeking the answers to the BIG questions in our world. things like: why are we here? what is our purpose? does my life mean anything?

Natalie was in my english class and discussion group, and this was her 2 or 3 camp. at the time she was kind of into buddhist thought and idles. she talked about being good to people and how she thought that this would be enough to fulfill her. she is the type of girl who would not accept the status quo and would definitely not accept weak answers to her questions. we had a lot of difficult discussions as a group and one on one; and i am sure that there were more unanswered questions than answered ones. all that to say that Natalie left camp without making a decision to follow Christ. this was obviously disappointing for me, but a reality of doing ministry in the most atheistic country in the world.

maybe you are wondering why i am talking about this student? well yesterday i was at training for the american team (camps start this saturday) and Natalie comes up to me and greets me. i am super excited to see her and say hi, but my brain is not processing why she is here at training. i soon realize that she is a Christian now and a part of Josiah Venture's ministry and that of her local church. i had the privilege yesterday to sit down with her over lunch and hear the missing part of her life story.

Natalie told me that after camp she was still seeking the meaning to her life and seeking what would make her happy. she told me that she started attending youth group in cesky tesin and was learning more about God. she said that a few months before camps last year, that she felt in her heart that there is only one thing that will bring her absolute and fulfilled happiness and that is God in her life. so she accepted him and started serving Him at camps. this year she is the main translator for camp! this means that she is responsible for translating the night talks and communication of the gospel to students!

God is so amazingly good in how He reaches people. i am so completely at awe that i was able to be a small, small part of Natalie's journey to finding the Lord. sometimes we get so caught up on things happening in the here and now that we forget that God's timing might be somewhere else and in the future. the truth is, is that we never know when we might be able to be a part of someone's journey to God and we need to stop tapping our feet at God waiting for Him to work; but instead we should be seeking out every opportunity to serve Him, realizing that if we wait around for God to work on our schedule we might miss out in being a part of His amazing plan.

Natalie's testimony gets me so ridiculously excited! i cannot in words even come close to describing how good God is. just to know that He is bringing students to Him, and that they are willing to turn around and serve and reach out to their fellow peers is so amazing. the impact that Czech believers can have in students lives blow mine out of the water and that is my prayer; that Czech Christian students and Czech youth leaders would be able to have maximum impact in their villages, towns, and cities, bringing the gospel to their fellow countrymen.

Praise the LORD!!!