Each evening has been a feast of international creativity with Czechs, English and Ukrainians involved. We have made solid relationships with the different classes and we are treated like old friends.
By request, we put in an extra session on Thursday morning before we left. We took the theme of the Wedding Banquet, where many are invited but few respond, inviting commitments afterwards. The children, parents and young people gave us a standing ovation at the end, and wouldn’t stop clapping. Considering that most are from outside the church this is amazing and shows a deep work of God that’s been going on.
The Baptist Church we have been working with is also enthralled with the effectiveness of the evangelism. They have announced that each week they will lay on an “English Sunday School” in the church service for all the people who have been attending the camp. They want St Philip’s to provide materials so it looks like Gill, who has provided all the materials for the camp, will have her work cut out!
This is very formative time for the Ukrainian church since Ivan the Pastor, himself, a great evangelist, is one of the overseers of the Baptist Churches in the Ukraine and looks after the many churches in an area spreading from the Romanian border up to Slovakia, Poland and Belarus. He wants to see these camps extended.
It looks like we might have a job on our hands keeping up with the demand but the team are tired but thrilled with all that’s happened.
We have had a hot and tiring trip home with temperatures soaring to 38C. We had a Thursday evening meal by the Slovak Sea, Friday breakfast in Bratislava and lunch in Brno. The evening meal will be in London!
It's been a fantastic and dedicated team effort and we are excited with what God has done through us all involved in the camp.
It looks like the August Ukraine camp could well become a fixture in the future, and who knows where God will lead through this breakthrough!
The second day was exhausting and exhilarating. A few didn’t return but more came. We think around 60 have now attended and the evening meeting was a fantastic evening of celebration drama and music. Considering the vast majority -and their parents - don’t attend church it was once again fascinating to see the power of God working though His word on their lives.
The teaching was on the Lost Sheep and we had youngsters acting out the story speaking in English and singing like angels. The Czech team have produced an amazing scratch choir each day and the children have also been singing Bible songs to their parents.
We shared this morning how the camp has affected us all and how much we have gained through working in an international team. As I mentioned 20 years ago this would have all been a dream but God has broken down all the barriers, political and cultural, and His word is active and alive and we see it affecting young people with no experience of the word.
Today we major on the Lost Son and we’ll be challenging for commitments. So pray for us. The church here is delighted and so am I. Daniel and I even managed to find a Ukrainian sauna - built from wood it was brilliant.
We arrived seamlessly in the Ukraine after one plane, two trains, two buses and a taxi. Amazingly it all seemed to work and we arrived at the church in good time though a little shell shocked. We even managed to intercept the train at Brno with our Czech friends in it on the way to Bratislava.
Sunday saw us in the church where Alan preached and the others gave testimonies. In the afternoon the whole church went off to the woods for a gigantic BBQ in the forest which lasted until dusk. It was very reminiscent of the pictures we used to see of the Cold War church under communism.
We learnt that we have 4 Brits, 7 Czechs and 5 Ukrainians on the team so we feel fully equipped for the task. Gill’s lessons plans have set us up for the groups and Monday morning saw us preparing for the onslaught of the campers.
We expected 30 but 48 young people turned up with their parents. Amazingly only 5 of the of the young people attend the church showing the value of evangelism through teaching English. The age range was wider than expected with 9 year olds up to 17 so a quick change of plans was called for and a children’s group quickly formed by 3 Czechs. Alan took the intermediate group, Joelle and Rachel the advanced and Tom and Daniel two elementary groups. Our Czech friends laid on music classes, games and crafts.
It was an excellent first day with lots of fun and with the Bible teaching based around the Good Samaritan. The final evening session saw the groups presenting their version of the Good Samaritan in various grades of drama judged by a clapometer, songs from the newly formed choir, worship songs and a talk from Alan.
The majority of the young people are not members of the church and don’t have any knowledge of the Bible, but they took to Bible teaching, songs and worship in a very easy way. The final session was exciting, colourful and meaningful as we saw how the word of God has a power to transform even those who don’t know it. We are looking forward to tomorrow.
Finding the way to Slavala
The Ukraine Czech English team