Thursday 21 June 2012

Visits and Rests

I've now been in the Czech Republic four full weeks!  It feels like I've always been here...  it feels like I always will be here!

So what all has been happening since I last updated you all?

Well, Thursday 7th - Monday 11th we were in Hradec Kralove, the youth group we'll do our first English Camp with.  We visited several schools on the Friday and Monday, advertising English Camp.  We had youth group on Friday night (followed by watching the Czech-Russia game), hiked on Saturday, and had church, a planning meeting, sports and games on Sunday.

It was great to be able to go into Czech schools and talk with students.  It was also wonderful to meet and get to know the youth group and English Camp team we'll be working with.

We then had a few rest/home days in Podebrady before heading to Havlickuv Brod on Friday 15th, coming back on Sunday 17th.  Again, it was great to spend time with the youth group and get to know them. It was a beautiful, sunny weekend with a picnic and sports on the Saturday (and the Czech-Poland game!) and church and spending time together on the Sunday.

And we're now back in Podebrady.  Podebrady is our home base for the summer.  We're staying in some guest rooms in the church building (the pastor and family live at the other end of the hallway).  We've been using this time to rest, go through our summer Bible study and do English Camp prep (English lessons mainly, plus talk prep for Josh).

This weekend we'll be spending time with Podebrady youth group, who we'll be with for our second English Camp. After that we'll be heading probably to Prague for a team day followed by a few days of a service project, helping some missionaries with a project they're working on.

In two weeks we'll be at our first term training!  In three weeks we'll be in the middle of our first English Camp.. and in four weeks the Irish team will be here and it will be the second term of training!  Time is flying by.

In the midst of all of this I am in awe of what I get to do.  It is incredible to be able to get glimpses of how God is working throughout this country through local churches.  He is at work in youth groups who are so excited to share about God's grace and salvation with their peers.  He is at work drawing people to Himself.  Even as I sit here writing this I can't believe the privilege I have to be witnessing these things, and I know I see but a little of what is really going on.

God is good, all the time.

Monday 4 June 2012

Intern Training

I am currently at Malenovice, a hotel JV owns and uses throughout the year for training, conferences etc.  It is a place that holds a dear place in my heart – I’ve attended trainings here in 2007-2010 and in 2007 our English camp was here too.  So I am sleeping in a room that I once shared with Jayne.  And I sit in certain areas remembering conversations I have had in those seats.  And as I type this blog post I can hear the rain I’ve recently just escaped from pour down outside as well as the occasional roll of thunder echoing around the valley, accompanied by a flash of lightning and I am reminded of past storms I’ve experienced here.

It’s been great just to be here and to part of this community of believers who will be serving God all around central and eastern Europe this summer.  One of the things I love about JV and have grown to love even more is their care for the people who are serving and the fellowship we can share.  It’s great to worship together.  And to hear the JV story from Dave Patty again, a story of God’s grace and power.

We’ve also looked at personalities and spiritual gifts and how we can serve those with different personalities on our team.  For those of you how know the categories we use it’ll not be much of a surprise for you to learn I’m a beaver (the organised, detail, factual animal).  Although I’m also a little golden retriever too – in some ways more so than my golden retriever co-leader. 

Dave Patty took the intern leaders on a quick run through off the Bible study we’ll be using with our teams this summer.  I’m excited about how God is going to use it to reveal Himself to us.  It’s a resource that looks at Jesus and His ministry for the model and methodology of how we should do mission. 

We’ve also been receiving some fantastic teaching on God and the Holy Spirit.  Something God has been reminding me a lot of recently is how my identity is completely in Him, not what I do – but I serve and live out of my identity in Him. 

We’ll be here until Wednesday and we’ll soon be heading into our first visit of a church and a school.  I am so excited about how God is going to continue to reveal Himself to us not only in the days of intern training ahead, but throughout the rest of the summer.

The Amazing Race

This blog post is coming to you from Malenovice.  Which means team HawaIreland all safely arrived at Malenovice!

On Wednesday morning we travelled to Krakow where we met our interns.  Thankfully the American interns made their flights ok and arrived safely!  After a few hours waiting for other interns to arrive we set off on the Amazing Race!  It was three days of clues to new places where new challenges awaited us!

The Amazing Race really served the purpose of bonding our team together and because Josh and I aren’t allowed to lead during it we got to see the personalities of our team.  We spent some time and debriefed the race with Rob and Audrey and it was great to think through the encouragements, frustrations, things we loved, things we didn’t love and where we saw God in the race.

I’m really excited to be serving with our team this summer, and I’m excited about what God will do in and through us.

You can see some of the things we did in this video – thankfully I don’t really make an appearance but you’ll get the idea of some of the tasks.

Some of the activities we did was:
-       travel to the Polish aviation museum where we decoded our next clue
-       find three JV staff in a (huge) shopping centre to get a modelling tip from each and then model on a catwalk with very random clothes (obeying the three tips)
-       match three Chopin pieces to their sheet music… when you have ten pieces of sheet music.  That combined with the five-minute pause penalty any time you got it wrong meant we were there for an hour!
-       Play human bingo in a town square
-       Make a to-scale model of the solar system using fruit bought earlier…
-       Thursday started with transferring M&Ms from one bowl to another using a straw
-       Memorise a speech the Pope made and recite it with each team member saying a word in turn
-       Have a stranger read us a Polish fairy story book
-       Counting different objects in fifty-two city crests
-       Had one person describe how some lego was put together and we had to copy it
-       Create a puppet show of the Polish fairy story that had been read to us earlier… (we rocked this one!)
-       Matching the names to the pictures of JV missionaries
-       Walking to H20, a JV training centre
-       Eating blood sausage and sauerkraut
-       Canoeing to different bouys
-       Interesting takes on shotput and relay races
-       Diving for a euro coin
-       Getting back to the nearest town (this was our downfall – we’d been fourth up to this point but many other teams hitchhiked or bused or taxied their way to the border – we walked for 45 minutes and caught a bus!)
-       Learn and perform a Polish folk dance
-       Do a word search of the five JV core values

I’m sure there’s some I’ve forgotten but you get the idea…  We also spent some time at the Oscar Schlinder museum which was really humbling.