First of all, I apologize for the lack of blog updates this week! I got hit with the doozy of a cold that has been making its way through our team, so I have been conserving energy after the camp days and going to bed as early as possible. Let’s do a quick recap:
The team went to the Puchov Lutheran Church on Sunday for worship, where we did our little introduction and song and Pastor David Breidenbach, executive director of EEMN, preached a sermon on John 14 and the theme of our spiritual family. After the service, we gathered for a barbecue, followed by a time of singing and prayer (pictured above). One of the members of the church shared a short sermon on faith, and Erika reflected on Ecclesiastes 3:11-14, in particular verse 11: “God has made everything beautiful in its time” (more on that later). Then we walked over to the school to set up and meet our translators.
Our camp week went by quickly! We had about 55 students in attendance, including a preschool class that was taught by a German missionary serving in Slovakia for a year. The kids enjoyed making crafts, playing sports (including water football on Thursday), and being with their teachers. If you’ve never taught an English Bible Camp before, it’s hard to imagine what classes are like. Imagine a VBS style class that includes practice with vocabulary, but with interpretation because your kids only understand about half of what you say! It’s a completely different experience and very challenging, but all our team members were rock stars.
We had free evenings on Monday and Tuesday to work on lesson plans, do laundry, and shop. Several team members got hit with a nasty virus that gave sore throats, congestion, and a horribly persistent cough. Those of us who were healthy enough took a trip on Wednesday to Kohutka, an area on the edge of the Czech-Slovak border, where we ate dinner and took a short walk with Slovak hosts, translators, and friends. Despite a little car trouble on the way up and down the hill, we all made it safely back to the hotel!
On Thursday evening we had our joint barbecue and program with the teen camp, which ended that day. We roasted sausages and marshmallows and ate and talked as much as our energy would allow.
Friday was a whirlwind of the final camp day, closing program, and quickly cleaning up classrooms before racing to the train station....only to have our train to Bratislava delayed by 30 minutes. The REAL race came about 2 hours later, though, when we had 10 minutes to run to make our connection to the train to Vienna. You haven’t really lived until you’ve run down a flight of stairs carrying a purse, a backpack, and two 50 lb suitcases in a crush of people, only to run across a hallway and up another flight of stairs. We made our train (with a few minutes to spare, even—we can hustle like nobody’s business!) and collapsed into our seats for the journey to the train station, where we were met by Pastor David in the teen camp van to help us get to our hotel. Two trips, a check in, and a late night dinner later, and we were settled in our rooms!
Today (Saturday) we met for an hour or so of small group debriefing, followed by fun team excursions. Half the group went to Schoenbrunn to tour the palace and gardens, and half the group went to Belvedere to see the art museums.
There will be a final blog post up in the next day or two with photos from our Puchov camp week and Vienna, our final “meet the team” segments, and summative thoughts from the trip!
Meet the Team: Erika & Andreas
Erika and Andreas are from Nevada. Erika is a team leader and leads music in the camps, and Andreas taught Group 2.
Meet the Team: Dan
Dan is a retired chaplain from Minnesota and taught Group 5.
Meet the Team: Bob W
Bob W is a retired pediatrician from California and taught Group 6.