Greetings from Povaska Bystrica, the town where the team is staying during the Puchov camp week! I have a lot of things to catch up on, so I'll just dive right in.
On Wednesday, the team, along with our Slovak interpreters and hosts, took a well-deserved afternoon/evening off. We took a bus to Bardejov, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a historic city center. Just as we started walking around the center, a sudden downpour struck, so the team sheltered in various cafes and ice cream shops until it was time to go to dinner--a coffee/ice cream break, such a tragedy! :) We enjoyed dinner as a big group, then headed back to Vranov.
On Thursday, the story of the day was the crucifixion. Pastor David reminded us in our morning devotional that even though we as teachers often worry about how to present the crucifixion to children in just the right way, it's more important to trust that the Holy Spirit will give us the words to say. All the music rotations sang "Oh, How He Loves You and Me" to help put the reason for Jesus's death in perspective, and the kids painted stained glass-esque crosses in crafts. In the evening, we had a small program for parents with a few songs, introductions from the team and interpreters, and photos from the week. Afterwards, we all enjoyed a HUGE spread of snacks, cakes, pastries, fruits, and other goodies--Lutheran potlucks are Lutheran potlucks anywhere you go!
On Friday we covered the resurrection story and had our closing program. For the program, each class performed a song or portion of the Gospel story from the week, plus the Ascension and Pentecost. The program was well-attended by parents and grandparents, and Slavo (the director of EVS) gave a brief sermon geared to the parents. The team said goodbye to the children and our friends in Vranov and spent the evening packing up to leave the next morning.
This morning we hopped on a bus that took us to a train that brought us to Povaska Bystrica. Train travel in Slovakia is always exciting with 15 Americans and 30+ suitcases to get on and off the train in as little time as possible (with Slovaks also trying to get on and off as well), but we always consider it a team building exercise. Today we have also officially parted ways with the part of our team who are leading the teen camp near Puchov this week--you can follow their adventures in the "Slovakia Teens '18" tab above.
Tomorrow morning both teams will worship in the Puchov Lutheran Church and have lunch prepared for us there. The teens for the teen camp will arrive in the afternoon, while the English Bible Camp team will prepare classrooms and meet interpreters in preparation for the beginning of the camp on Monday.
Meet the Team: Bella & Natalie
Bella and Natalie are both from California. Bella is a university student studying psychology in California, and Natalie is studying business in Arizona. They team taught Group 9, and this was Natalie's first time and Bella's second (after coming in 2013). After the week in Vranov, Bella and Natalie have separated off as part of the teen camp team for the second week.
Meet the Team: Chuck & Laura
Chuck and Laura are from California, where Chuck is the director of technology at a high school and Laura is a volunteer and mom (to one son and 4 dogs). Chuck and Laura team taught Group 10, and this was their 6th trip to Slovakia. After the week in Vranov, Chuck and Laura are touching base with some friends in Slovakia before heading to Germany.
PHIL SCHMIDT & ERIKA MECHSNER are siblings from California. When they aren't leading short-term trips to Slovakia or organizing children and youth events at their church, Calvary Lutheran, Phil is a high school English teacher and Erika is a university lecturer in composition.