17 days, just a little over 2 weeks to finish shopping for and packing your Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes!!! It’s GO time in more ways than one. Remember in OCC lingo, GO also stands for Gospel Opportunity, which is exactly what each of our shoebox gifts serves as to their recipients around the world. Can you commit to serving in this ministry? Here’s some ways you can get on board. First you can commit to pray for your box’s recipient and all the hands that will help it get to it’s destination or even just for the ministry itself. Second, you can spread the word. Tell a neighbor about the ministry and help them pack a box. Third, shop The GO Store. It is your one stop shop and chock full of everything you need for your box at a great price. Stop by the thrift side too and pick up a little something for yourself while you’re at it. Fourth, join us during Collection Week by volunteering at the Central Drop Off location here at Fellowship. Please consider helping by bringing snacks, preparing a lunch, or working at the Central Drop Off during open hours helping collect shoebox gifts as they come in. Click Here to sign up for a time slot and view volunteer needs. We need your help to reach our goal of sending 30,000 Gospel Opportunities from the Arkansas River Valley Area!
Ahoj! Here’s another update from the Pardubice GO: Czech Team:
English Camp is officially done and we are back in Pardubice for follow-up and the Archa worship service tomorrow morning!
Our final two days at camp went smooth, as we had opportunities to talk about Gospel truths and introduce them to the idea of joining mladez Pardubice. For Gospel Night, our groups had a wide contrast of camper response to Labyrinth and the Gospel talk. For some, it looked like eating cookies and talking about American culture – recognizing that a relaxed approach can be important in long-term connections. For others, it looked like engaging emotions and thoughts in deep conversations. Both were important, and quite frankly, both happened simultaneously at the same table. For this trip, camp is a big element to inviting students into a story that many have not heard before. Perhaps the biggest win each year, however, is for students to recognize that there is a community of students who care about them. It is not just the case at camp – in fact, the things that campers like about camp happens year-round in their city.
Friday was our final camp day, and we started with an interesting experience: no running water until 4 PM at camp. This meant that we had enough water for food and drinking, but that was it. While this would have sent wide-spread panic and ended up on the 5:00 news in America, it was business as usual in the Czech. Our team did an incredible job finishing strong under an unexpectedly odd scenario. We closed camp with a bonfire, note writing, and our final night discussion. This night highly resembles American camps where the last night is bittersweet and campers are very tired. Our students finished strong in making sure to take photos, write notes, and invest time in conversations until the finish line.
This morning, we boarded a bus and headed to Pardubice to stay at our host homes and join mladez Pardubice for follow-up. Each home stay experience is unique and is a great cultural opportunity for team members to see inside the life of Czech students. We just finished playing games with the campers and leaders, and are headed back home for the Archa church service in the morning. Joining Archa for worship is a fitting end to each summer partnership and reminds us of who we are serving alongside. Archa has great leadership under the direction of Pastor Taby. I had the opportunity to sit with Taby earlier today and hear some of the ministry vision for the next few years, and it is exciting to hear. God is working in this church, and we are grateful to be a small part of God’s story here.
Tomorrow is the beginning of the final stretch of our GO: Czech trip. We are ready to re-unite with the Pisek team in Prague and hear all about their experience at camp. Thanks for praying for all that we have taken part in so far on this trip. Each of us has felt God’s presence in our efforts and each of us are grateful for a church body that understands the importance of taking Gospel opportunities to the Czech.
– Alan Greenwood