Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Back in town

Wroclaw, Poland

Well, I made it back! The last week has been the most tiring, not just because it was our third in a row, but also because we had to do a lot more planning for lessons ("let's learn about family!") and take a lead with workshops and sports. The camp took a while to get going, but after 3 or 4 days the kids stopped whining and I got a new burst of energy to be enthusiastic - so the past few days have been great.

Anyway, I'm very tired and we're off to the centre to eat, shop and relax for a few days. Peace out!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Update 2

Marianówka, Poland

Hello everyone. I don't have long so will make this quick!

Last time I wrote was after week 1 with the little kids. That seems a long time ago... we've had another week and a bit since. The second week was for teenagers - 13-18 years old, about a third of whom I knew from previous years. I was the "teacher" of a group of 6 15-year old guys: Marcin, Piotr (x2), Maciek, Mariusz and Michał.

To start the week I did a few normal lessons on the media, newspapers etc. - but they and I found them boring, so with Rebecca's advice I switched to more discussion-based lessons. We talked about war and peace, geopolitics, leadership and the role of men - not all at the same time - and I segued into a brief Bible study at the end. I was so encouraged by the classes: I don't know how many are believers but I am praying (and ask you to do the same) that they will have found them, as well as the regular Bible studies, useful and challenging.

I was also able to give my testimony on Sunday morning at the service here. I laid the need to make a decision on the line for them and challenged them to follow Christ with their whole lives, not merely on Sunday, as most in Catholic Poland do.

We were all sad to see the teenagers leave yesterday, and somewhat surprised when the busload of new kids arrived an hour early! Thankfully we were able to get ready quickly. They're a nice bunch, mostly from ages 10-13 but with an errant but very cute 7-year old also here! I am taking the lowest group this week, so it's back to colouring and games rather than discussion.

Tomorrow we're off on a hike in the hills for half a day, then back to camp for an English lesson, Bible hour and crazy games in the evening.

Please continue to pray for me and the staff on camp, that we would have energy in the last few days, to love the kids and provide the best experience we can for them; and that our testimonies would speak to them of their need of salvation.

That's all for now. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Quick update 1

Kłodzko, Poland

Hello all. I've just finished the first week of camps, which was with 35 6-10 year olds. It went quite well from our point of view - there's only so much conversation practice you can have with kids who don't understand words like "where" and "how much"! My group of 8 kids did a lot of colouring in, singing and playing games. Outside of 90 minutes a day of English, we took them on hikes, to the (murky) swimming pool, to play baseball and around the campfire.

The team I'm part of consisted of 7 'native speakers' - Rebecca, Jenny, Britney and Katlyn from the USA, and Jamie Clegg, John Guddat and myself from England. In addition there were four Polish staff members - Dominika, Ela, Łukas and Jacek, who kept the kids in line as much as possible!

We're staying in the hills near the Czech border (in fact, my cellphone thinks it's in Czech half the time) in very pretty countryside, although we're a long way from anywhere. The local shop has a sign outside advertising its wares: bread, sausage and beer; two of which have been our staple diet! We have cereal for breakfast every few days, and some pasta to vary the supper diet a few times. Yesterday the pasta was served with strawberry sauce! Bizarre.

Next week we'll be with 40 teenagers, from 13-18 years old. I'll be teaching the highest level group which I'm looking forward to, as I shouldn't have to lower my English level when I'm speaking, and we can talk about subjects other than my family and other animals.

That's all for now! Please continue to pray for us as we seek to meet the felt needs of the kids, and thus the real spiritual needs...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Are you ready to go...?

Wroclaw, Poland

This is the calm before the storm :) I'm staying with missionary friends in the city of Wroclaw before our camps begin tomorrow. I've met the team of English, Americans and Poles I'll be working with (some of whom I know already) and I'm excited already.

Yesterday the other native speakers went to Auschwitz for the day. It's something that everyone should do once - but only once. I went in 2004 and harboured no desire to return, so Rebecca - the American who's leading the camps for us - and I went for a cycle ride around Wroclaw! It was a lovely day and we had a lot of fun... more fun than the others I think. Anyway, from now on it's all go.

35 7-9 year olds this week; 40 13-18 year olds next week; 30 10-13 year olds the final week. I'll be teaching on my own (yikes!) but I have a lot of materials to use.

I also have a cricket set for a bit of cultural education!

Signing off for now. I'll try and write next week sometime - in the meantime, please be praying for us that we'll do a good job as teachers and that we can be useful for God's service in whatever other ways we can: encouraging, challenging and just being with the other Polish staff and the kids are the main ways.