Friday, July 2, 2010

a week of camp awaits

"To be part of a movement of God among the youth of Eastern Europe that finds its home in the local church and transforms society."
"To equip young leaders throughout Eastern Europe to fulfill Christ’s commission through the local church."

This is what Dave Patty, the founder of JV, heard when he was sitting with his feet in a lake, listening to God. I heard the JV story yet another time here at training, and it got me SO excited. JV started because Dave was listening to God. God gave him this vision! He wants to move here, and He IS moving here! Year after year hungry students get to experience the love of Christ and here the good news of the Gospel. Each year new leaders rise up, believers and nonbelievers make decisions to move closer to Christ. And this is not because of anything we do, it's because God wants to move. It's because God is changing hearts and revealing Himself. It's because of the grace He's given us in our personal lives. How exciting is this!

We are headed to camp today. American team training has gone great, and I already feel a deep unity between our intern team, the Czech team, and the American team from Arizona. We will be setting the camp up tonight and getting ready for the campers from Hradec Kralove to come tomorrow at 11am. The camp will last until next Saturday. PLEASE be praying. I covet your prayers. God hears our prayers, and wants to answer them.

Specific Prayer Requests:
- Safe travel for our teams today and for the campers tomorrow
- The campers hearts to be softened and ready to hear the Gospel
- The gospel to be proclaimed clearly and boldly
- The Holy Spirit to come to the camp and work through us
- For the believers (the intern, American, and Czech teams) to be obedient to the Spirit and to follow with reckless abandon
- For strength during camp as we won't get much sleep
- For English classes in the mornings
- For sports times and free-times in the afternoons
- For the evening programs where we will be sharing stories from the Bible about redemption
- For Thursday night when we share the Gospel
- That students would make a decision to move a step closer to Christ
- That my back would not be an issue (it hurts again)
- Team unity and love
- That the guys only and girls only seminars would go well (I'm speaking to the guys with another Czech girl, and I'm still not really sure what to say. It will also be a time of Q and A)
- That, above all things, God would be glorified

Thanks for your prayers and your support. I am excited to see God show up at this camp. Please pray boldly. We serve a mighty God.

Buh ti zehnej!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the last days before the craziness begins

My team and I are back at Malenovice for American Team training before our first camp. June has flown by so fast, and I can't believe camps are going to begin already! The last week has been spent doing a work project, and then spending the last couple of days together in Stramberk on a team vacation.

The boys painting the garage

The work project was both fun and tiring. We went to Selah, which is Josiah Venture's retreat cabin for missionaries. The cabin is built, and they are working on furnishing the inside and finishing the deck. While our team was there, we got to help pick up the construction site, level off the ground under the deck, and paint the garage. It was a good time to work together as a team, and serve at the same time. It was also a good time to work out some things with our team before camps began. On a team that's been together for awhile, it's easy to take advantage of the time we have together rather than intentionally. Because the work project brought this out, we've been able to be intentional with each other and focus on truly loving one another like Christ loves us. The last few days after that has been amazing.

Autumn and Lynn leveling the dirt under the deck

The day after our team work project, we were able to go out to lunch with Katka, a Czech who is on staff with Josiah Venture. Her testimony is amazing, and it was so great to hear how her life as a missionary has been. She became a Christian at English Camp when she was about 15 years old, but her parents did not allow her to go to church or youth group until she was 18. She met with a Christian each week, and then went into ministry with JV. Her heart for Christ and for discipleship is incredible, and her story was so encouraging to hear.

Patrick, Katka, and Autumn at lunch

After lunch we got on a train and headed to Stramberk for a team vacation. We arrived on Saturday evening and left Monday morning. Stramberk is a small village with an interesting story. It's famous for a time when Christians were being persecuted by Turks who were invading the country. The Christians were hiding out in Stramberk from the Turks who would kill the Christians, then chop off their ears and send them back for proof to their leader that they were killing them. So the Christians prayed the night the Turks were in the valley, and they were saved because the dam came down and flooded the valley, killing all the Turks in the valley. So all over Stramberk were these "ears"... or cookies called ears, to go along with the story.

Lynn and I enjoying Stramberske Usi (Stramberk Ears) with
whipped cream, chocolate, and fruit sauce. SO GOOD!

During the team vacation we shared testimonies with each other and were able to hear what God has done in each other's lives to get to this point. It was a great time of encouraging and challenging each other, as well as going deeper.

The Stramberk Tower

Now we are at American team training. Our American team is just arriving now... so please be praying for unity among teams, a willingness to learn, and time of rest before camp. Thanks for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ahoj Friends!
I am writing this on our last rest day in Vysoke Myto. The last week has been another good one. Thursday night we headed to Valašské Meziříčí, or Val Mez, so we could do school visits on Friday. Val Mez doesn't have an intern team this year, but they only have 7 students signed up for camp. They needed some Americans to come to the schools and promote the camps for them, and since our team had some time, we decided to help them out. Please pray that God would fill the camp up with people to experience Christ's love. We had a great time in the schools we went to, and they were our last school visits. I can't believe the summer is going by so fast!

After visiting Val Mez, our team headed to Vykirovice, a small town we are doing the second camp with. This was our last youth group visit. Friday and Saturday we hung out with some of the kids from the youth group, and Sunday we went to church. Saturday was a surprise for us. They took us to Vysoke Myto for a game based off the Matrix. This was a game we played in teams, that helped us bond together, as we ran away from agents in our quest to find Neo and the password. Each clue we received got us closer to our goal. The game was very interesting... the agents were in suits and looked pretty legit! It was a good time to get to know some of the Czechs on the train ride there, too.

Sunday morning was a special service, too, as it was a baptism service. Three young people were baptized, including a girl who became a believer during the first English Camp. It was special to see this commitment they were making, and be challenged myself to give my whole life to Christ.
Another one of my favorite parts of the trip was our host family. Lynn and I had the privilege of staying at the pastor's family's house while we were there. Both the pastor, Nik, and his wife, Anicka, spoke English very well, and it was amazing to hear their testimonies and to speak about what God has been doing in their lives. They have served this church for 11 years, and in about a month will be moving to serve a different church. Their love for Christ exuded out of them in a very visible way. I fell in love with them and their three children: Adrianna, Melinda, and Gabriel.

The most amazing thing about staying with them was every night after talking with them
Nik and Anicka, the four of us prayed together. It is amazing to have the same fellowship in the same God, the same unity in Christ, the same mind and spirit as people I've just met. God has been teaching me what the Body of Christ is with each person I meet. It's a great joy to be able to say goodbye to someone, knowing I'll be spending the rest of eternity with them.

We headed back to Vysoke Myto Sunday night for some rest time, and Monday
morning I had my last physical therapy session. My back is doing much better. Thanks for all your prayers. Please keep praying as it's not completely better, and I don't want it to get worse in the months to come. Today we spent the day on English lesson plans, and we are all almost done! As a reward, we went out to a team dinner, and finished it off with some chocolate fondue... as you can see by the picture, we were pretty excited. :) Tomorrow we head to Malenovice for a work project.

Please keep praying for...
-continued unity in our team
-continued camp preparations for our team and the American youth group teams
-students to sign up for camp in Val Mez, Havlickuv Brod, and Hradec Kralove
-our work project from Wednesday to Friday
-safety and health of our team
-my back
-Autumn's nephew as he continues to recover from his heart surgery

Thanks again for your prayers and support.
Buh ti zehnej.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My team and I have been having a great few weeks so far! After training I was able to spend the night at Brad and Lucie Kaspar's apartment and meet their baby, Adam! Brad and Lucie were my team leaders last year, and have had a huge affect on my life since I've known them. They have taught me so much, and it was so good to see them and catch up with them. They live as missionaries here in Czech.
Adam Kaspar

After my time with the Kaspars, I met up with my team and went to Hradec Kralove to visit the youth group and meet with the English Camp Team. It was so great to see everyone. This is the church I've been working with for the last 4 years. It's such a privilege to work with them again. We led a youth group, went to church, had a barbeque, met with the team, and visited some schools to promote the camps. While we were in Hradec, I went to the hospital and found a place to do some physical therapy for my back. I've been traveling there a couple times in order to help my back get better. Please continue praying that it would heal as my back has still been hurting.

Maruska, Me, Hami (Students from Hradec Kralove)

The City Square of Hradec Kralove

After Hradec Kralove and some rest in Vysoke Myto, we traveled to Havlickuv Brod to visit schools, hang out with the youth group, go to church, and meet with the camp leadership. It was amazing to see the growth from last year in the group. This will their second time doing camp with KAM. Some of the camp team took us to a fairy tale trail in the forest in a village nearby, where we got to experience some fun for children, as well as time with good friends. The next day they took us to Kutna Hora where we saw the bone church and the St. Barbara Cathedral.

The Bone church in Kutna Hora

Group Picture at the Fairy Tale forest event
(back left to right: Josh, Patrick, Connor, Jonatan)
(front left to right: Honza, Me, Autumn, Lynn, Eva)

The time with the churches has been great, and the school visits have been a lot of fun. There seems to be a lot of interest in camp. Hopefully we will have full camps at each camp! We've had a nice relaxing time in Vysoke Myto for the last couple days and head out to Valmez and Vykrovice tomorrow for more school and youth group visits.

ALSO--- PRAISE GOD! All of my support is in! Thanks for everyone who contributed and prayed. God is always faithful, and proved His provision again.

Please keep us in your prayers
- Continued team unity and saftey
- Health for our team, that no one gets sick or hurt
- My back to be healed
- Autumn's nephew as he recovers from open heart surgery
- The Vykrovice youth group, camp team, and school as we visit them and get to know them
- Hradec Kralove and Havlickuv Brod as they continue preparing for camps
- The American teams who will be coming out to help us- for financial provision, preparation, and team unity

Thanks for your prayers and support. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. :) Buh ti zehnej.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A prayer request

Hey everyone, a quick prayer request.

My back has been doing really well until today. Today my back has hurt a lot, and the pain has been very discouraging. Please pray that God would heal my back and take the pain away. He is the ultimate healer.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hello from Training!

Ahoj friends!!

Just a quick update! I landed in Vienna on Wednesday, where I met my team and we began the Amazing Race. The Amazing Race was great for getting to know my team members and learning how to work well together. We ended the race at training on Friday, and my team came in 2nd place!! During the race we went to Vienna, Bratislava, and Brno. Now we are at training, learning how to teach English, how to lead small groups, cultural differences, and worshiping and doing devotions. Please keep praying for my team and I, for team unity, for a focus on God and an ear to hear the Holy Spirit, as well as the students we will be seeing in the next few weeks. Thanks for your support!
Nate talking during training
Worship During Training

Patrick and Josh working on a challenge during the Amazing Race
My Intern Team!! (Front to back: Connor, Auntumn, Me, Lynn, Patrick, Josh)
Vienna At Dusk

The Girls on my team! During the Amazing Race (Left to Right: Me, Lynn, Autumn)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ahoj (Hello) Friends!
As many of you already know, I have the opportunity to intern with Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic again this year! I will be putting updates about my summer on this blog, along with a few pictures and things as I can. If you'd like to recieve them as emails instead, please let me know! :)
I will be working on a team of six, including Connor, Patrick, Lynn, and myself, as well as our team leaders Josh, and Autumn. Connor, Patrick, and Lynn are all still in school. Josh is from Hawaii and has led teams in the past. Autumn is a missionary in Czech, and lives in Vysoke Myto.
I will be leaving on May 25, and returning on August 13. I have the privilege of working with two of the camps I got to work with last year- Hradec Kralove and Havlickuv Brod. I have been able to work with Hradec Kralove for the last four years, so to be able to work with them again will be a great joy, as I've developed some great friendships with the students from that city. We will also be working with Vikyrovice.
Here's a basic overview of the summer (some is subject to change):
Amazing Race - 5/26-28 (right when we get there we will compete in the "amazing race" for team building)
Intern Training - 5/28-6/3
Town and School Visits - 6/4-6/20 (to work with the youth groups and promote the camps in the schools)
Work Project 6/23 - 6/26
Camp Training #1 - 6/29
Camp #1 - Hradec Kralove - week of 7/2
Camp Training #2 - 7/13
Camp #2 - Vikyrovice week of 7/16
Camp Training #3 - 7/27
Camp #3 - Havlickuv Brod - week of 7/31
Debrief in Prague - 8/10
Fly home - 8/13
I'm looking forward to seeing what God will do this summer, both in the hearts of the Czech students, and in my heart. I know, however, that I can do nothing unless God is working through me. So I am asking for your prayers. Please pray diligently as I am preparing to leave. Pray for my preparations, as I am packing, raising money, and preparing my heart to go. Pray for my back, as it's been hurting me, and I've been seeing chiropractors to fix it before I leave. Pray for protection in my travels, as well as the other interns in the next couple weeks. Pray for my team, that we would have good team dynamics, especially as we will get to know each other during the highly stressful Amazing Race. And pray, please, for the students as they are signing up for camp, that God would begin preparing their hearts even now.
I mentioned that I am still raising money. My finances are over halfway, but my deadline is June 20. That is a little less than a month away. So far I have $2,410. I need $4,070, which leaves $1,660. Please pray that God provides it for me. If you would like to support me financially, but have not received a letter, please contact me so I can get you a tax-deductible financial slip.
Thanks so much for your prayers and you support. I am looking forward to sharing what will happen this summer. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me or call me (before May 25). Buh ti zehnej! (God bless you).
In Christ,
Sarah Halm