The camp for Polish teens is now well underway and we are all filling different roles.
Ben is still working hard on the new camp sign because it was decided to that it would be better to make the sign two-sided and turn it 90° so that it can be clearly seen from both directions of traffic. (I joked with Ben after he made the first one that he needed to make another side, and that idea seems to have taken root and doubled his work!) He’s drawing up a great design with a roof over the top and flower box around the bottom. It’s going to be awesome.
I’m carrying out several tasks related to the week of camp. Paula and I lead craft time each day and I put the amazing pictures Sasha and Tori take each day into a “Pictures of the Day” video that is shown at each evening’s session. I taught the morning lesson yesterday – Day 3 of Creation and what we can learn from Noah’s Ark. I had this idea to mark out the dimensions of the Ark on the field and send each group to one corner so the campers could really see the size of it. But apparently, I was one who needed to learn more about the size, because it wouldn’t fit on the camp grounds! I had to use a Google Earth image to show it! So we just marked out the width, half the length and used helium balloons on a 51-foot string to help them see how tall it was too. Anyway, the biggest point of the lesson, of course, was that God rescued Noah because he had a relationship with him in a world where everyone else had run away from God. And he does the same for us.
I’m also playing a character – Scientist, Dr. Isabella Drake. She appeared the first night of camp wanting to know if this was the “Kreo” camp, where they were teaching that God created the world. She is an arrogant atheist who keeps showing up each day to show that she can create things too, and to explain the scientific explanations behind things like the formation of clouds and rainbows – trying to discredit what is being taught. Dr. Drake is assisted by two young scientists, Flint and Spark. They have been attending lessons and taking notes to report back to her each day. Soon she will hear the lesson of the cross, and will start to see some things differently. By the end of the week, she’ll realize that she isn’t creating anything new but only manipulating what already exists. She’ll come to understand that there has to have been an original Creator, and she’ll start to feel something in her heart that she can’t explain with science.
Anna is also helping out with the “Snack Shack” and crafts.
There are many teens here who are asking great questions and opening up. But the ways we are contributing take lots of preparations and time. Combine this with the language barrier, and it is very hard for us to really get to know these campers. Relationships are building between them and the Polish counselors that are here, which is good. Our work behind the scenes and teaching the lessons can provide the scaffolding. And we can pray – for walls to come down, and for hearts to be softened, so that nothing will hinder the message God is speaking to each individual here. Please lift these prayers with us!
My apologies for not posting in a couple of days. Things got kind of busy around here! We are nearing the end of the Holocaust Survivors’ Camp, and I was determined to get them each a copy of a picture disc. In the past, they have always had a photographer with them and enjoyed slideshows at the end of each day of their activities. This year they didn’t have a photographer, so several people took responsibility for taking pictures throughout each day, and I put them into a slideshow for the evening sessions. I have always heard that they would get a disc at the end of the camp, but discovered that they’ve never actually followed through on that promise! So I became quite set on making it happen. This meant a deadline to get about 2000 pictures down to about 150 that would fit on a disc and to the photo shop that would mass burn them for us. They should be ready in the morning. Mission accomplished! Ben has been working hard on building a huge wardrobe for the upcoming Narnia-themed children’s camp. I love that God gives us opportunities to use our skills in unexpected ways.
Tonight I had the chance at their final session to thank them for letting us be here to love and serve them. I told them that sometimes people are surprised that we are going back…. again, but that we have just grown to love them and this country and have developed a passion for being here. Several other from among the “Americans” have said similar things, and it was encouraging to hear one of the ladies comment on that later. She came to the mic to say that she has had a great time here, and that she was happy that there were people from other countries who would come here to be with them and love them. Even beyond the Holocaust, these people have been so often looked down upon and hated because they are Jewish. Please pray with me that the love we (Christians from the US, Ukraine and Poland) have tried to show this week will be a spark in their hearts that grows and grows until they see Christ for who He really is.
I told them that I had made a bracelet for each of them that they could pick out in the dining room. When the session ended there as a flood of ladies (and a few gentlemen), who gave lots of hugs and kisses and “Спасибо” (thank you). I now have a heavy perfumed scent about me that I’m not sure I’ll be able to shower off!
The next few days will be continued craziness. We leave tomorrow for Warsaw, where we will attend the Festival of Hope and March for Jesus. Ben is going to stay at the camp grounds in Ostroda (along with Ethan) to allow Andrzej and April to attend without leaving the camp unsupervised, but he will join us on Sunday for the final day. Then we return to Ostroda to continue preparations for the Ukrainian Children’s Camp that starts Wednesday. Ben is going to travel with Sandy, as well as two couples arriving from The States, to Auschwitz. This is something he has wanted to do for a long time, and will deepen his understanding and knowledge of the history and the culture of Poland. Please pray for safe travels through all of this craziness and as our family is separated from each other for a few days.
I will try to post updates about the Festival of Hope soon! Oh… and say a prayer for Cindy too. She leaves us in just 3 days. She will be missed.