Hey Everyone! I want to start off by saying that we are all thoroughly loving our experience in the Czech Republic. We are at a camp in a beautiful valley in the middle of the forest near the town of Tisnov in the southern region of the country. Our travels were long and arduous, three flights, two trains, and a total of nearly 36 hours! There were no major hiccups and we are almost over our jet lag.
We had two days to prepare and bond with the Czech YoungLife team that is doing a fantastic job running the camp operations. (not to mention what God is doing thru them throughout the year in Ostrava) We even have two staff on summer assignment from Singapore and a volunteer from Texas. Team unity is excellent and we are enjoying getting to know them and learning from them.
Campers arrived on Friday and we greeted them in wacky outfits and much excitement as they got off the bus. Our daily routine has been kind of like this: start off with a team-wide prayer meeting, breakfast, morn. English class, workshops, lunch, afternoon English class, big camp game, free time, dinner, Klub, 2nd dinner/cabin time, and then lights out. We have already made great connections with the kids and have begun to form some incredible relationships. The kids are loving the English classes and we have been told we are some of the best "non-English teacher" English teachers that Fishnet/Younglife CZ has ever worked with. We are also leading workshops in film-making, softball, cheerleading, and ultimate frisbee and those are turning out great as well. The film team is capturing all of this for not only our documentary, but also for a promotional video we have been asked to make for YoungLife Europe.
Quickly, for those not familiar with YoungLife, let me explain Klub (Club in Eng). Klub is a fun-filled time where we sing/dance to pop songs, play wacky games, and get to hear from our camp speaker, Jim. Jim is speaking to the kids through an interpreter (Luci, the camp program director). He is very methodical in how he is building up to sharing the gospel with these kids, and after hearing from the Czech leaders who work with these kids on a regular basis I know why...there are strongly held opinions held by many of the Czech students that the Bible and its contents are not accurate and Jesus was not the Son of God. Please pray that Jim will continue to slowly break down this barrier and that they will began to question their scientific, agnostic worldview. After Klub, they meet in their cabins and their Czech cabin leader leads a discussion about what Jim said. Some of us may have to opportunity to participate in this cabin time in the next few days and possibly share our testimony with the students. Please add this to our list of prayer requests.
Speaking of prayer requests, please continue to pray for the Holy Spirit to fill this camp and to touch the students. There is also some spiritual warfare in the form of distractions during Jim's Klub talk. Also pray that we continue to build the relationships with the kids and that we may have an opportunity to have a spiritual conversation with them in the next four days. Another barrier we are coming across is that the kids fear that Christianity will divide them from their families, who strongly agnostic. Lastly, pray for physical, mental and spiritual strength for both our team and the other leaders as we finish out the week. Some of us are getting sore throats and bad allergies to bug bites and to the pollen. Today it's rainy, so that might exacerbate the situation.
I wish I could upload some video or pictures, but the internet connection I am transmitting from is incredibly slow. The film team promises many pictures and videos when we return!
Thank you so much for your prayer and support. God truly is working here and we are excited to be a part of it! Our nightly prayer times with our American team have been growing us all so close. We are constantly praying together for these kids and hoping God will use us in his plan to reach this region of the world. The Czech kids are so unique. They are respectful and kind and they are learning how to share their opinions with us. The trust being built is amazing. After a couple of days they are giving us tastes of their ice cream cones, asking to have dinner with us, and trusting us with the details of their lives. We are doing the same with them and it's an awesome experience.
Melissa Mills and Chris Garcia
5:09 PM -Czech time, July 6, 2010