Friday 23rd August
What a day it's been on our last full day. The theme was Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and enter he did. In yet another full day we saw the children and young people enjoying themselves in the activities and entering fully into the evening meeting where the Gospel was presented and the entry into Jerusalem became the entry into their hearts. They have gone away with certificates for attendance, a gospel and an experience of the living God.
In the evening we were invited to share in the church prayer meeting and Alan preached on the need for church members to be involved and bring their gifts into the church. It was a great time and we met many of our old friends who were full of joy because of the camp.
Tomorrow we set off on the long drive to the border at Uzgherod, across the whole of Slovakia and our next appointment with our link church in Vsetin in the Czech Republic.
Thursday 22nd August
The Rich Young Ruler was the topic today and considering 80% of the young people are from outside of the church they took to the story like they had known it forever. There is no doubt about the power of the Word of God to do its own work, as once again many showed their appreciation of the story and its meaning by raising hands. It's so heartening to see how the Bible still speaks even to the youngest minds.
Our team has been beefed up by a Ukrainian leader and a Christian from Slovakia who was just passing through but saw the need and stopped on today to help us. A beefy 26 year old - he was welcome indeed.
The hospitality of our Ukrainian hosts continues unabated. They are simply superb, warm and hospitable and their food is fantastic. Tonight we were all invited to a meal at one church members house and were fed until bursting. Alan's learning Ukrainian and practices at every opportunity much to the mirth of our hosts. There are lots of difficult words and the similarity of ticket and flowers in the Ukrainian language meant that sometimes he asked for flowers for the train instead of tickets! There is a great deal of joy here in the team and the camp and that's a sign of what the Spirit is doing in and through all we do on this mission. It's a great privilege to be a part of it.
Wednesday 21st August
Today we've tackled the parable of the sower and we have seen God powerfully at work once again among the campers. Around 70 now attend and our resouces are stretched to bursting point. Sharka our Czech helper has a class of 27 with no other helpers. Oleg our Ukraine leader has had to go back to work and we have also lost our Czech leader Petr at the beginning, so Alan is now leading the camp on his own as well as teaching, preparing the English lessons and taking the evening meeting.
It was inspirational to pray together in three languages this morning and in spite of the small team of helpers saw God move once again with a large number of commitments from the attendees this evening. It's heartening to see their openness and it looks a lot like revival.
Reflecting too on the simple lifestyle here in Western Ukraine, people do seem happy in spite of being in one of the poorest countries in Europe. Tonight the young helpers from Ukraine and Czech took us out for a night on the town in Svalava. We went to the only supermarket, bought ice creams and ate them in the car park. We then walked through the bus station and spent a couple of fun filled hours in the town square. There was nothing there except the joy of the Lord which is actually all we needed
Tuesday 20th August
Day two of the camp has seen temperatures soaring to the mid 30s Celsius. In spite of the heat, the Czech and Ukrainian members battle valiantly with games in the hot sunshine.
Our theme today has been the raising of Jairus daughter and the teaching and explanation has been deep and meaningful. Some of the older campers are opening up to more of God with one young lad of 15 explaining that though brought up in a Greek Orthodox family he is now seeking his own revelation of God and is using the camp to go deeper.
Our evening meeting focussed on Jairus daughter with sketches music, video, slide shows and a talk explaining how Jesus can bring resurrection to our lives even while still alive - opening our eyes and ears to the secrets of God's kingdom.
So we retire after an exhausting day's work in the kingdom of God.
Monday 19th August 2013
The Ukraine English Camp began on Monday 19th August 2013 with an International team of 6 Czechs and 6 Ukrainian helpers working alongside Alan and Gill from St Philip's.
The first day was on the theme of Jesus walking on water and began with English teaching, games music and crafts led by different members of the team. Around 60 young people and children turned up for the camp and are remarkably well behaved and attentive, particularly in the teaching session.
The evening meeting brought together the whole camp and presented sketches music and drama to all. We witnessed the miracle of one girl being able to walk on water ably assisted by a friend and concluded that Jesus is there to do just that in our lives.
Astonishingly some 40 or so of the children and young people raised their hands after prayer to become friends of Jesus. It's been very unusual to see so many responding so quickly to the word - and a testimony to the three years of camps that have gone into getting many of them to this point.