Our time at English team training has been fantastic. We are here at Mlyn Brejlov on the banks of the Sazavou River about 40 minutes south of Prague with four other teams from the US and the Fusion Team (more on that later). In addition to our Arkansas Team, there is a team from Portland, Oregon and a very large team from First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton, California (where Chuck Swindoll pastored for over twenty years). The team from Fullerton had been doing English Camps in Ukraine for years; but due to the unrest there this summer, they came to Czech instead. There are 14 interns doing camps in Ukraine made up of college students and led by our own Chris Loux this summer. However, Josiah Venture (JV) decided to not send American church teams to Ukraine. I am very glad to be in Czech and have an entire country (Poland) in between us and Ukraine this summer.
The Fusion Team is a new development for JV over the last three or four years. Fusion Teams go into a town and partner with a church, but instead of doing an English Camp they do a Music and Arts Camp. During the week the kids at camp all practice being a part of a rock choir (every Czech teenager wants to be a rock star) and they also participate in piano, drum, guitar, dance and anything else artistic you can image. At the end of the week the group puts on a concert in the town where Fusion Camp is held. The Fusion Team is made up of amazingly gifted musicians from the US and Czech who have a high quality sound system and lights they got from a real life “rock band” I think. When the concert is held it is s sight (we saw some videos). During the course of the week the team is developing relationships, teaching some Christian songs to sing at the concert and sharing the gospel clearly each night. This has been a huge success and is spreading in all of the 14 JV countries. I am very impressed at how JV is being creative in getting the gospel to the youth generation.
Our team training has included a clear understanding of the Josiah Venture Mission: “A movement of God among the youth of central and eastern Europe that finds its home in the church and transforms society.” We also gained a clearer understanding of why we are here: “To build well on the foundation of Jesus Christ in partnership with a Czech church to present the gospel and develop disciples.” We have learned a ton about Czech history and culture. We have heard testimonies from many Czechs who came to Christ as a result of English Camps and who are praying that they will be the first of many generations of Christians in their families and towns. We have prayed a ton, laughed a bunch, and slept enough.
Tomorrow (Friday) we send two of our team with two Czech leaders from our church in Pardubice at 5:00 a.m. They will travel to Pardubice and help with packing the equipment for camp. The rest of us leave from Tynec nad Sazavou (“Fortress over the Sazavou River”) on a train at 10:20 a.m. We will travel to Prague, change trains and then travel on to Pardubice where we will get a chartered bus to camp. We are all very anxious to get going.
Please pray that we will bond quickly with the Czech youth leaders. (We know all of them from past camps, but many are new to the leadership team.) Pray that our first timers (Fozzy, Amy Borota, Kelly Gillis, and Emily Evans) will adapt quickly once we become the minority as English speakers at camp. That will take place on Saturday at about 3:00 p.m. when 65 Czech students arrive.
My last story of the night comes from Petrunda (a student from the Czech youth group in Pardubice who is a JV intern all summer with camps). She said that the team was planning on having a much smaller camp this year and focusing on students who have come multiple times in the past. But they were invited to come and do a presentation at one school by a student who came to camp last year. They went and talked about camp and showed a video of last year’s camp. Before they knew it the camp had jumped from 40 to 65. Apparently God had different plans. Needless to say, please pray that we will be able to develop relationships quickly with all of the new campers and that we will share the love of Christ with them by how we treat each other, love them, and talk about Jesus.
For the only cause that matters,
Ken – for the Team