Wednesday 18 July 2012

Term 1

Well, first term is over and I can't quite believe how fast time is going!

Camp was really great! The food was great and the weather was good too (I'd say it was a little cold but I fear I'm just way too accustomed to Czech temperatures!)

But more important than either of those things - God really blessed us with energy, health and strength as we built relationships through English class, sports and workshops. It was such a privilege to be able to get to know the amazing students we worked with.

And as we worked through organisational and team things God was really gracious in how He provided wisdom and grace.

We also had a great time in Hradec Kralove, the city we were working with, as we did "follow up" with them over the weekend.

We travelled back to home base on Monday and had a day of laundry, rest and debriefing camp with our team. Yesterday has been more of the same, including administration.

I'm thankful for how God is blessing us with rest and just a good time as a team before we head into our next camp with  Podebrady. I am so thankful for team HawaiIreland and it has been a joy to serve alongside them and to watch them love students and serve God.

I'm really excited to see the Irish team later today for a couple of days during training. And I'm excited for another English camp! I am excited to update here again and share more stories of how God is providing all things.

Monday 2 July 2012

The Days that Lie Ahead

As I sit and write this blog post, with Star Wars Episode VI playing*, I know I'll be awake again in seven hours!  It will be an early start for some of us as we have to go tomorrow to pick up people from the airport!

Which means.. there are Americans arriving!  Which means.. training starts soon!  Which means...  English camp is very soon!  It's hard to believe.

Before each term of English camp there is pre-camp training.  I have been to four of these as part of the Irish team.  Tomorrow we will mainly be working with our team of Americans (who, for this camp, aren't really a team but several individuals and a couple of pairs who are all travelling out to serve) to help prepare them for camp.  Then, on Wednesday everyone else arrives and we will start training, which I'll be involved in this year.

And on Friday we will leave for English camp!  The students will arrive on Saturday, with English classes starting on Sunday.  Camp will end on the following Saturday and we'll spend a couple of days doing follow up with the youth group and students.

This is our camp with Hradec Kralove and I'm really excited about what God is going to do through the English Camp.  After spending time with the youth group it's clear they are very ready for English camp!  And they have a lot of different things prepared for during camp.

Your prayers for energy, strength, health are appreciated!  Please also pray for unity among the Christians, that we would serve together well!  And pray for the students who will be at camp - that as they hear the Gospel, God would be working in their hearts and lives to draw them to Himself.

*  I agreed to watch the Star Wars movies if my co-leader watched The Shawshank Redemption and Schlinder's List

Daily Czech Life

I have now been in this country almost six weeks!  It's crazy how quickly time is flying by.

I think before I left a lot of people asked a lot of questions about what Czech was like as a country, about the little daily things that make somewhere familiar or unusual.  This is my fifth time in this country but I still wondered about the extent to which I'd experience culture shock.

Well, I'll start by saying that it took me exactly four weeks before I actually looked the right way when I crossed the road!  And now my co-leader has a car I regularly freak-out because I'm convinced he's driving on the wrong side of the road.

But other than that...

On Monday when I was in Prague I left the team, travelled to where I was meeting Maja and walked through Old Town Square with U2 in my ears.  When we got to the coffee shop I ordered in Czech and, after our wonderful conversation, when it came time to pay I knew which number the man said!  I then successfully bought a metro ticket, got on the right metro and got off at the right stop before heading to meet my team again!

On Thursday when I was in Cesky Tesin I had coffee one morning with Audrey, the amazing woman who is my mentor/encourager/coach this summer.  The team had already travelled to where we were working that day, the Dicksons' house, so I had to travel there alone.  I successfully bought my train ticket and got on the correct train and got off in the right place!

And now that we've got a car we're able to grocery shop in Tesco.. where they have Sensodyne toothpaste, Jamie Oliver pasta sauces and enough tea to keep me well supplied.

I'm learning to delight in daily Czech life.

The Rest of June

I cannot believe that I sit here on the 2nd July writing this blog post!  So I guess once again it is time to give a bit of an update on what I've been doing.

It was great to "visit" the youth group here in Podebrady.  It was wonderful to get to know the members of the youth group better.  It has been an incredible blessing to visit all the groups we'll be working with for English Camps.

On Monday we decided that a day in Prague sounded like a great idea!  And it was.  It was good to spend some time resting as we explored the city.  I attempted to satisfy the caramel square craving I've been having for a while, but sadly Marks and Spencers in Prague doesn't have any!  Percy Pigs were a great substitute though.

As well as spending time exploring the beautiful city we had some Mexican food for dinner and I got to have a cup of tea and a chat with a friend from Prague, Maja, just before she left for Northern Ireland for a few weeks!  It was so great to catch up with her.

On Tuesday we headed out to the east of the country, back to Cesky Tesin.  It was great to be able to spend time with some of the other intern teams who are based out there.  We may have played some typical English Camp games and performed the camp dance in the middle of Cesky Tesin square.

We spent Wednesday and Thursday helping out a missionary family who live close by.  They are renovating their house, adding another floor to the house and extending it a little, and we helped by clearing rubble, the guys removed part of the roof, and we drilled and removed concrete paving!  They were a tiring couple of days but it was good to get to know the Dicksons, and to be doing something physical and something where we could see the results of our work!

On Friday we had another team day and we went to a town near Cesky Tesin, called Stramberk, for a bit of exploring and we also took time to reflect on the summer so far and continue the Bible study we're going through as a team.

The guys and I headed back to Podebrady on Friday, the girls were both visiting different friends over the weekend.  We spent the weekend continuing to balance our time between resting and preparing for camp!  The girls rejoined us on Sunday.

June has been a full month!  It has been great to get to know our each other well and to prepare for the camps that lie ahead.