I am not trying to rub it in but we are all—at least most of us, except me—grateful that the weather has finally warmed up just a bit. Yesterday was the first day with highs out of the 50s. It warmed up to the high 60s yesterday which was perfect for our hike day. Today the high here at our camp will be 79. Lows at night are in the 40s and 50s.
Everyone is doing well. Alan Putnam, our new Youth Pastor, is now half way through his first English Camp and his steep learning curve continues. He has been great to jump right in and finds himself right at home in this setting. John (Coach) Boles is doing a great job leading the Sports Class. He is succeeding in teaching American Football which I predicted with be an impossible task. Emily Allison is such a natural as she interacts so gently with all of the girls here. I see her constantly involved in quiet conversations with Czech girls throughout the day. Monica Thompson is a rock star over here in almost every sense of there word. In particular she has done an amazing job leading both our camp songs and evening worship. Rumor has it that a new band is forming called “Monica and the Czechs”. Look for their performance in a town near you. I could not survive without the wise experience of Morgan Thomason. She has eyes to see things I do not and I depend on her more than you could imagine.
Now for our students. Cade Griffith, at his third English camp, is 1/3 Czech at this point. Yesterday the Czech team asked for volunteers and made it clear they were looking for only Czechs and no Americans. Cade volunteered and no one thought anything of it. He is constantly enthusiastic and positive and loves the Czechs in ways that are obvious to everyone. Sam, Sam, “The Dance Man” Watkins. What more can I say? Sam just makes everything better. Sam raises the energy level of the room each time he steps to the front. He is amazing. Cade Stuart is steady, athletic and mature. If there is is a competition, you want Cade on your team. Cade is also one of those young men who is comfortable in any setting. I am expecting great things from cade in the future. Hadleigh Austin is always cheerfully on task building relationships and connecting the Czechs to the Archa youth group. She is so positive and full of energy and people are drawn to her naturally. Maggie Thompson is here for the second time and is quietly making sure the Czechs know that some Americans are cool. Maggie has endured endless teasing from me and is a natural in this environment.
Wesley Thompson is here for the first time and jumping into everything without hesitation. I am very impressed. Wesley makes everyone feel comfortable around him and I have loved having him in my English class. Kaitlyn Boles had to go three days without her luggage (the only one on our trip) and has recovered well. She is developing great relationships with the three Czech girls in her room, none of whom are part of the youth group. Maddie Allison is our other dance leader and she is fantastic. Maddie is also in a room with three other Czech girls and has stayed up late each night (untill 2:00 a.m. the first night) talking and developing relationships with them. Our three new students have fit in without a hitch. It feels like everyone here has been here many times.
Tonight our evening talks finally arrive at the gospel. The first half of the week our evening talks have been about heroes and especially the Old Testament hero David. We saw his heroic side but also his dark side. This paved the way to the need for a better hero who can rescue us from our own personal dark side. Obviously, this is Jesus and last night we introduced Jesus as the hero we all need. Tonight we will show how he conquered sin and death with his own death and resurrection. Please be praying the the Lord will open the eyes of students here to understand and embrace the good news of Christ death for them. Most of our students have been here before and only understand bits and pieces of the gospel. In this very atheistic culture it really does take a long time for the gospel to sink in and to over come the many obstacles to faith. Please continue to pray for them.
For the Only Cause that Matters,
Ken, for the Team