Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Czech 2010

“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told." Habakuk 1:5

This verse pretty much sums up the last week. My friend Nathan shared this verse during a prayer time that we had the friday night before camp started and for me it has become a theme verse for this camp. I don't want to make this a long post describing how ever part of our trip went...if anyone wants to know they are free to ask! I just want to talk about the way God worked.

Ways God worked (that I know):

1. We had twice as many students at camp this year...half of them were returning and about half were new campers! We also had about half as big of a team this year....but we prayed for strength and energy and God gave it to us. Every one of us made it through camp without crashing and burning....to me this was a huge answered prayer.

2. Each night after we would tell a story from the Bible about someone who had been redeemed we would have discussion groups. These discussion groups went better than any camp I have ever been at. I don't even know how to write about this to truly say how awesome it was. Students were asking questions about God and really thinking about their lives and what they believe like I have never seen. Usually there are a few students at each camp who you can see God really working in their minds but at this camp about 95% of the students were really interested! God was working mightily in nearly EVERY student at camp. Each night it seemed that there were not enough of us to talk to students who had even more questions after discussions!

3. One of the biggest praises for this camp was about a student who has been coming to camp for the last 3 years. He is a totally crazy but fun kid and he likes to go by Bob. He lives a lifestyle that is far from God but I have seen many guys pour into him over the years and seen him wrestle with this idea of God. But last wednesday night (not even on the night we present the gospel) he accepted Christ. This was a momentous occasion for many of us especially the Bohumin youth pastor George. He was crying after that night as he led Bob in a prayer for salvation. The coolest part was that some of the change in this student was instantaneous...the rest of the camp he had what I can only describe as a new life inside of him. He was still the same crazy Bob but there was an overwhelming sense of a a feeling of being loved behind it. It was utterly amazing.

4. That same night I had an awesome experience with another student that I found sitting on a bench. Its important to note that this student was in one of the lower level english classes and so I was little hesitant to really engage him in real convesation without any translator near. But I felt I should, and so I did. I asked him what he was thinking and told me he was thinking about God and then asked me "how many years been a christian?" So I prayed a little prayer and began to tell him my testimony and he listened intently. He asked a question or two here and there which led our conversation into presenting the gospel. After I had sat with him and we talked for about an hour and I told him the gospel and my whole testimony he just looked at me and said " Its amazing, I understand everything you are saying"

5. There were numerous other conversations people had with students where they got to answer questions about God and what it means to have a relationship with Jesus and it was absolutely amazing. And it never seemed to matter what the level of english was, truth always got across. :) Many students at our camp went from saying there is no God to really thinking that maybe he does exist and if he does, what He is like. I have never seen so many large steps toward christ at once. Even though Bob was the only student we know that accepted christ with one of us I am almost certain that there were a handful that accepted Him in their mind or are about one more conversation away!

6. Another highlight of our camp was the fact that we had a baptism ceremony. I have never been to anenglish camp where someone wanted to be baptized. The crazy part was we didn't just have one student...we had 6 people come to George and say that they wanted to be baptized. Bob was just one of them, but also several of the students who were in the youth group were moved to take that step in their faith and also a few students who had accepted christ in the last year or so. It was amazing. We invited anyone from the camp who wanted to come to come see the baptisms and everyone showed up. So got a chance to explain the meaning and show this great symbol of new life and faith to all the students...whether they believed or not. And it was a moving experience for all!

There were many more moments and experiences of God working at this camp I could talk about but these were the main ones for me. I remember thinking one of the nights about that verse I quoted at the beginning and feeling just like that. God was showing us the work he was doing and I could barely believe it! Thank you all who supported us on this trip and know that your prayers and gifts did not go in vain. They went to one of the most amazing english camps josiah venture has ever experienced.

Please continue to pray for the czech youth group in Bohumin especially for the leaders George and Pajin for God has given them a great gift of all of these students who are interested in God and church and thye will be following up with all of them. They will definitely need patience and strength to do it, but as we know, the same God who worked in their lives, saved Bob, moved many of the students, and gave us all strength for the week is with them still and will continue to work through them and their church. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Czech update #1

Its our last day in Malenovice for english camp training and training has been great! There were so many teams here that they actually had two trainings going on at the same time staggered which seemed crazy at first but really it didn't seem as busy as I thought it would. Our team got to spend a good of amount of time hanging out with each other and laughing and also praying and preparing each other for camp. Its been a good experience and I am excited to move forward to camp! We leave today for bohumin where we will be for one day and then on saturday we leave for the camp and get started! I am so excited, I know God has great plans for this camp (we have twice as many people as last year!) and I can't wait to be a part of them!

Please keep us in your prayers, especially as we start camp. We will need a lot of supernatural energy to keep building relationships all week and as we start camp just pray that connections are made quickly and easily so that they can move quickly during camp and we can have the opportunity for many deep and lifechanging discussions!

Thanks you all for your continued support and prayers!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Living, breathing hope.

1 Peter 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.."

Peter describes a life that is born again as "living hope" -or "hope" in living, breathing form. I am floored. If I was asked to describe what hope looks like would I say myself; would I say you? When people look at my life and how I act would they describe me as "hope in human form" ? I am not so sure they would most times.

So then what does hope look like so I can look more like it? I think probably like the wind....wait what, you don't know what the wind looks like? So how do you know the wind is around? Oh by observing the effects..I got it, so for something to look like wind the effects need to be present. So what are the effects of hope? I think they are probably love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

Would you be described as living hope? Lets let the Holy Spirit of God, that is given to us by faith in Jesus Christ's conquering of sin and death, help us be the embodiment of hope. :)