Dobry den (good day) from Slovakia! We are just wrapping up our 3rd day of camp. Our theme this year is Living in Love: The Story of Jesus. We have a record number of children attending this camp: 106 on Monday and 108 on Tuesday and today. Every class has 7-13 students, and the teachers are working hard to plan for each day and make the most of their time here. Each day we are covering a different part of the Gospel story, and the children spend time in English class, crafts, sports, and music.
After the camp day on Monday and Tuesday, we spent time debriefing how the day went and then had the afternoon free to go shopping, get ice cream, do laundry, and plan for the next camp day. On Monday evening after dinner, we did a team building activity where we guessed random facts about one another. On Tuesday evening, we went out to a local restaurant for dinner, then watched "The Princess Bride" as a way to decompress and relax after the busy camp day. This evening, we'll be taking a bus to Bardejov, a town about an hour away, to see the Renaissance-era city center and have dinner with the interpreters from the camp. Although these activities all seem like frivolous fun on the surface, they're actually an essential part of bonding as a team and allowing ourselves to relax and rejuvenate before we take on another camp day.
One of our hosts for these camps is EVS, or the Slovak Evangelistic Center. EVS has a small staff, but their ministries cover a broad range. EVS focuses only on spreading the gospel, not on charities or financial support, but their evangelism efforts include prison ministry, book translation, Bible correspondence courses, an annual conference, and several websites. Their websites are www.evs.sk, the basic information site, and www.chcemviac.sk (‘chcem viac’ means ‘I want more’), intended for Christians who are looking for inspiring videos, sermons, or blog entries. EVS is the organization that began partnering with EEMN to hold Bible camps in Slovakia in 2007, and has been our consistent host ever since. Lydia, our team translator, is an employee in the Bratislava office in the west.
Meet the Team: returning on the next blog post!
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.