Ostroda Camp

One Very Hot Day in Ostróda…

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Here’s what has kept the guys busy for the last day and a half while the ladies finished cleaning and preparing for the arrival of the Holocaust Survivors who come this afternoon!

Camp Is In Full Swing

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Anna working in the “Snack Shack”

“I’m not hot.  I’m not tired.  And I’m here for the campers”

“I’m not hot.  I’m not tired.  And I’m here for the campers”

Except for that last part, this was hard to repeat today.    Camp is hot, exhausting and … wonderful.  I need to get some sleep, but I wanted to post a quick update.

Today I had the privilege of teaching the main Bible Lesson, which was about God’s promises through the story of Abraham and Sarah.  I needed help this morning folding promises I printed into paper stars.  I was struggling, as was Mala who was helping me.  An eager young man named Timothy came and showed us how it’s done with his ninja paper-folding skills!

Tomorrow Ben gets to teach about blessings.  Ben also gave this morning’s staff devotion.  He shared the verse we’ve chosen for our “journeys back”, which is 1 Corinthians 2:1-5:

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,  so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.

He spoke about how this has given him courage to do this, both from the aspect of feeling inadequate to be used by God and to know what to say – but also the difficulty of langage, cultural, religion, and generational barriers.

As I’ve been listen to the testimonies given by our team at campfire, I’ve heard a lot of mentions about fathers.

You might pray for guidance for me for the English class.  The kids are doing great and I’m going through ideas quickly.  I have the older group and they know a good deal of English.  I’m starting to worry that I will have trouble keeping it exciting, interesting and beneficial!

You can also pray for us as a family.  We’ve been away from home for 24 days now.  We’re tired and the schedule has gotten much more intense.  We’re not getting much time together as a family, and our little space (though we are so grateful to have it) is unkept and I’m pretty sure it is shrinking.  There are so very many good things, and we are glad we chose to stay for this duration, but we could use your prayers to keep us going!

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Tonight was a Shabbat celebration, so make room for the dancing!

Ahhhh…. camp :)

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I grew up going to church camp.  I would say it was a very important part of my childhood.  In my teens, I had the privilege of being a camp counselor.  Despite the language barrier, today felt very much like I was right back at Camp Allendale as we welcomed 27 children from Kaliningrad and 3 from Lithuania.  It’s going to be good.  I’m already repeating to myself the words of Greg Smith, Camp Dean Extraordinaire, “I’m not hot, I’m not tired, and I’m here for the campers.

Ben worked on weed eating today and refinishing the ladders for the dock.  It was probably the hottest day since we’ve been here (90-something) and Ben worked up a pretty good sweat.  Meanwhile, Mala and I prepared for the first English class tomorrow in the cool of the basement. 🙂  She is going to take the younger group (8-11 year olds) and I’ll take the 12 and over group.   With the help of a bunch of people (thanks April, Jenny, Tara, Anna, and Lidia!) We assembled some English class journals that the kids can write in.

Anna, Lidia and Ben are all participating in groups since they fall in the age range.  I’ve probably said it before, but I’m so very proud of my kids and how they’ve adapted and come out of their shells.  Ethan is still pretty shy and reserved, of course, but he’s really doing pretty well.  I could tell Anna was nervous today, but she didn’t once act like she was going to back out of participating in the group or any of the activities.  She’s been so brave.

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    Tomorrow is a full schedule and I have responsibilities.  Starting with being Eve.  I need to get some rest, so I can get up early and shop for a leaf dress!

Another Busy Day

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Today was another busy day.  I felt like Ben and I both accomplished lots of important tasks….

  • I met with Andrzej to go over our drafts for the public service announcement recording.
  • The whole family attended the morning session with the Holocaust group (no translation, though… I have no idea what it was about)
  • Andrzej and I went to the studio and then to the city hall to record a TV spot… yes, that’s TV… for the Embracing Grace event.  I guess radio is Friday.   I’m pretty sure I was terrible, but God promises to work good through all circumstances for those who love Him, right?
  • Ben mowed the volleyball area and wrestled with the uncooperative weedeater.
  • I sent image files to the ladies that are coordinating the Embracing Grace event so they could work on the publications.
  • Ben went to the computer store with Andrzej for an adapter for our computer and stuff to fix the WiFi
  • I wrote the introduction to my talk.
  • Ben fixed the basement WiFi.
  • I test Skyped with Ronna to make sure everything was good-to-go for Anna’s live feed from the mission field for VBS (it was great… so excited about this!)
  • Ben fixed the upstairs WiFi.
  • We welcomed the interpreters from Ukraine, two of whom were with us last year, and introduced them to the kids.
  • I made a bracelet and gave three away (more on that in a moment).
  • Ben had a good talk with Max, the leader of this group from Israel, who says that he is glad we are here with the group.  This is good to know.
  • We attended the evening session and got the first dose of Jewish dance! Check out the video clips below.  Sadly, I messed something up and only got 1 of the 100 circles Ethan was running to the music.   His participation from the back of the room drew quite a bit of attention from the Israeli’s.  Fortunately, he was not aware of this!

 

I mentioned Erika yesterday.  I got a chance to talk to her today.  She did not remember me, but it turned out to be perfect that she didn’t.  I told her that I met her last year, and she had told me about her eyes.   I asked how her eyes were doing.  She told me about the pain and that they aren’t really any better, but she may have a new doctor she can visit when she returns to Israel.  She said, “You remember about this?”  I said yes, and that I had been praying for her for the last year.  She was very grateful (and a bit shocked, I think).  I told her I also remembered that she liked pink and that I had a gift for her.  She gasped as I pulled a pink and grey bracelet from my pocket and said “I do love pink, and it is beautiful!”  She went on and on for several minutes as I put it on her and adjusted the size a bit.  She said she will always pray for me now.  Awesome moment. It is so amazing how God makes them happen.

Tomorrow we will travel with the guests to the concentration camp at Stutthof.  This is the same trip we made with them last year, but hopefully I will hold it together a little better this time!  The kids are staying with April at the camp (thanks, April!)  We feel this more than they should be exposed to at their age.  I’m not sure if an interpreter is going with us or not, so conversation may be very limited, but we want to be with them as they walk down this road of horrible memories.