Today was both a very challenging day but also a very encouraging day in ministry.  Let me start with some of the challenging aspects first:

  1. Physical exhaustion: We are in day number two of the camp and a number of us are feeling the impact of our high-energy, low-sleep lifestyle.  Many of us have carved out time during the day to take power naps or recharge our batteries.  Even so, mornings are tough on most of us.  Thankfully we are surrounded by a host of other brothers, sisters in Christ who can be compassionate because they are going through the same struggles as we are.
  2. Spiritual conversations with students: Some of our teams have students from widely varied spiritual backgrounds.  Because of this, they are processing the information that they receive about Jesus in different ways.  Evening discussion groups are further complicated language barriers for some of us.
  3. Injuries/sickness: As you know, Levi injured his foot yesterday (it is healing but not completely). Today, Sarah started suffering from a migraine that the medications have not quite been able to eliminate.  She is in good spirits, but I have removed her from activities until her headache stops.
  4. Roster changes: With Sarah unavailable due to health issues, I have made changes to our roster. David is now helping teach Sarah’s class, and Carolyn has taken over helping teach the camp dance.  They are both doing a great job, but the team feels it when one of our members is unavailable.

I don’t want to paint a picture that missions work is all roses, but I also don’t want you to worry either.  We expected to face challenges as we stepped out to serve God.  We prepared to allow God to be strong through our weakness.  We prepared to be flexible.  And our health is and has always been in God’s hands.  I believe that God is working on our team through these challenges in ways that a “perfect” mission trip (whatever that is) could never achieve.

Some of the most encouraging things to happen today were:

  1. Spiritual conversations with some of the students, both believers and not-yet-believers. God is working in the student’s lives and it is a blessing to see it.
  2. Our good friend Dori gave an amazingly powerful testimony this morning about how God has helped her find value in herself. Her openness and heartfelt delivery were moving – I admit, it brought tears to my eyes.
  3. Workshops and classes are going well. Today, I conducted an airplane building contest and Besty did an amazing job with Bingo.
  4. The combined Czech/American team is functioning really well together. Today at lunch, another of our Czech friends stated something like “Even though we come from different parts of the world, when we are serving here together, it feels like family”.  I couldn’t have said it any better myself.
  5. Chris and the kids had their first opportunity to meet with people outside the camp. Chris dove the approximate 35 minutes from Malenovice to Cesky Těšín to meet with Silvie, the mother of one of our camp students.  It was a great and encouraging time.

Tomorrow, we continue camp with more of the same.  We pray for healing and strength for our team members as we continue to serve here.  Thank you for your prayers and support.  It is a blessing to know you are following along with us.