Friday, June 20, 2008

Camp Arka 2008

Wroclaw, Poland

It's time to kick off some summer mission once again. I've come back to Poland to partner with the Christian educational organisation "Arka" in running summer camps for kids and teenagers. As in previous years (this is year 5 for me) I, along with the team of native English speakers, will be teaching conversational English for an hour or two every day of the camps. The aim is to make these lessons not just useful but actually fun, so that they realise the value of learning languages and are motivated to continue their studies the next year.

We haven't come just for English teaching: the aim is to introduce Jesus to the kids through our words, actions and attitudes; which is especially important for the younger kids who won't understand what we say. The challenge is to help them understand that we're not just friendly because we're westerners; we're interested in the kids because Jesus loves them too.

Mission in this context is quite nuanced and contextual, so please pray that we will all have wisdom in our approach, and especially that we won't turn them off through any inadvertent (or deliberate) mistakes.

It's very encouraging, and great fun, to see so many of last year's team of native speakers return. There are about 14 of us here this year, of whom only 5 are new. Unfortunately I am the only British team member in a sea of Americans which brings its own cultural challenges...

Today is an orientation day before we leave for the hills tomorrow. Week 1 is for 7-9s ; week 2 is 13-19s; week 3 (for which I'm not here) is 10-12s. Please pray also for energy and enthusiasm to be maintained throughout the time we're in Poland. Pray also for the Polish staff who have the responsibility of running the camp, and for Rebecca who co-ordinates us as a team of native speakers. We're enormously grateful to God for his provision this year: 176 kids are coming to camp! In a country like Poland that is a huge blessing and one that we definitely don't take for granted.

I should be able to get online fairly frequently during the camps so I will try to give updates on how they're going. For now: peace out.

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