Czech Republic Update #3 - July 3, 2017
I write to you over a course of two afternoons as I sit in my room on the top floor of our lodge at English Camp. It has been a crazy few days and as we have some much-needed free time after lunch, I finally have time to send out an update of what the American team from Heights has been doing over the last few days.
Starting on Friday: Off to Camp! In the morning, we loaded up our group bags and sent them off with Landon and Jenny, the lead missionaries taking care of us, as they were to take them to camp while the rest of us from Arizona would take public transportation to the sight of the English camp. We then met our first of three trains- a small, slightly rickety affair consisting of three or four cars- which would take us towards camp. This first leg did not last long and we soon found ourselves at another stop where we then hurried to board our next train which was already waiting for our group. Once the team was all safely on the second train we settled down and enjoyed the ride. Well… we WERE going to settle down, but this idea did not last long. Shortly after boarding, the entire team ended up playing an extremely fun, albeit enormously loud, game of “Heads Up” on the train, thus fulfilling our comical role as the “boisterous young Americans.” The chittering sound of laughter reverberated through the train car and out the open windows as the team rocketed north through the swaying fields of Bohemia.
The final train on our journey was large, fast, and quiet. The cars consisted of many first world amenities- snacks, drinks, comfortable seats facing each other with a table placed sturdily in-between- all things which we enjoyed vicariously through those who arrived early enough to grab a seat. As most every member from the American team was left standing for the duration of the ride, wonderfully awkward encounters then followed as the poor man checking tickets and delivering refreshments tried to squeeze passed us. Though amusing, the train ride was brief and we soon found ourselves exiting the train station in search of the bus station where we would take two uneventful bus rides to the beautiful ski town of Pec pod Sněžkou. From there we loaded our bags into a car which would take them up to our final destination. After loading the bags, we set out on our final task of walking the hour or so up the mountain using a road which flanked the ski area. Winding through the tall spruce trees, we ascended an ever-steepening road. Though our bodies were tired, our hearts were excited to finally be at Camp. After reaching the top of the mountain, the landscape flattened out and as we looked down to the left, we saw a large, dark brown building with a green pitched roof. Finally, after so many miles, we were here, at a ski house called Lesní Bouda which in English means “Forrest Cabin”- the sight of English Camp. Happy to finally be at camp, we met the Christian Czech team who was there waiting for us and we all ate dinner together, thus concluding yet another amazing part of our journey. We thank God, as well as all of you who prayed for our safe travel, for supporting us as we traveled all the way from Prescott, Arizona to this quaint lodge at the top of a mountain in the Czech Republic- the lodge where we will teach English and share the Gospel with the kids who come.
The next morning, we had some much-needed time of preparation for camp as well as time to bond with our Czech translators. The time consisted of markers, scissors, cutting, stressing; a little bit of everything in nervous anticipation of the week to come. In the afternoon, the kids arrived and the rest of the day was spent getting to know them through talking, eating, some very windy Frisbee games, and Ice-breaker games. We found that most of the kids speak surprisingly good English which meant that we could have good, meaningful conversations with the kids, even without our translators.
The next day we started right off with our first English classes, and even though we were nervous, God worked in a mighty way by calming us all and guiding our words and actions as we began to teach. The class times were fruitful and many bonds were made between the Czech students and the American team. After lunch, the afternoon was spent playing sports. The Czech students are extremely athletic, so our entire afternoon consisted of 10 fast-paced team games which allowed us to further get to know each other. In the evening, all of us tired, we ate dinner and had our evening program which consisted of signing, doing our “Camp Dance” and listening to someone share the Gospel. After this we were given time to have our evening discussions with our English classes where we had some life changing conversations about Christ.
Finally, to conclude the day, we reconvened in our main meeting area where we would have one more high energy activity- a dance party; a fitting way to end the first extremely exciting day of camp.
For those who are supporting our team through prayer, please pray for our conversations with the Czech students as we have already had many chances to share the Gospel with eager Czech students. From the outset, it has been very apparent that our team has been sent out through Divine authority to impact the lives of the Czech students, and we ask that you would continue to pray for good interactions with our students. Even those students who are skeptics and confessed atheists have expressed great interest in getting to know more about who Christ is and what we as Christians believe.
In relation to praying for our conversations, please pray for discernment amongst our team in how to go about approaching these topics we go into difficult conversations with students. The kids here are enormously smart and like to ask very deep spiritual questions. Please pray the Spirit will guide us in conversing with the students and that they might see Christ through not only our words, but our actions as well. We also ask that you pray for spiritual protection as we dive into these deep, difficult topics.
As ever, please continue to pray for the students who have come to camp and pray that their hearts might be opened to the Gospel as it is portrayed to them throughout the week. And finally, we ask that you continue praying for the team from Heights- that we would not loose energy or become worn by travel and the sheer intensity of camp. We do not want to forget the reason that we are hear and the role that Christ has us in this place. Pray that we can continue to build each other up and that we can lean on each other in the days ahead as we become tired and fatigued. Our prayer is that we can represent Christ’s church in a God-honoring way and that we can represent heights church the best way we can as we continue to minister to the people of the Czech Republic.
On behalf of all of us from America, we love you and we thank you for supporting us and lifting us up in prayer.
Brian Wade on behalf of the team