Today I write to you from the porch of one of the cabins at the Christian Academy for Youth retreat center in Malenovice. The sun rose almost two hours ago but the camp is quiet except for the occasional twittering of birds and the distant sound of cars on the highway. It is a perfect time to reflect on where God has brought us and pray for the upcoming day.
Yesterday, we said farewell to the leaders at Josiah Venture that prepared us for ministering to youth in the Czech Republic. We left Hotel Golf in Prague that had been our home-away-from-home for the first part of our trip and headed out to the mission field that awaited us. I felt excited, nervous, and humbled by the task ahead.
Radek, a member of the Český Těšín church, was our guide for the journey. Our bags had already gone ahead of us by van on the previous day, so armed with only our backpacks, we boarded a high-speed train from Prague to Ostrava, followed by a brand-new commuter train that took us the rest of the way. After about 4 hours total, we arrived at our destination where we were greeted by more camp helpers and driven 5 minutes toward the camp.
The retreat center sits at the base of several evergreen-covered mountains. Green grass covers the steep terrain and sturdy log-constructed cabins offer our rustic-looking but comfortable accommodations. Beyond the cabins there is also a giant white tent that will serve as the meeting hall and place for morning gatherings for the campers.
Upon arrival we introduced ourselves to many of the young people and tried our best to learn (and pronounce names). This region of the Czech Republic has a stronger presence or Christianity, and many of the student’s stories were similar – raised in a Christian home and cane to know Jesus at an early age. After introductions, we set to work preparing what things we could. There was also plenty of time for bonding over frisbee and Spikeball before dinner and an evening worship program.
Today promises to be exciting and chaotic as we make the last-minute preparations for our campers to arrive. This afternoon the real fun begins.
Thank you for your prayers and support. Please pray that God uses this time to reach the unsaved who come to camp and to deepen the devotion of all the rest of us.