Friday, August 10, 2012

Apalina: Children's Camp

Last week we had a camp for children in Apalina. This camp was led by a group from Leesburg Community Church. It has been great having so much support from this church this summer. They have really been a blessing to me, Attila, and the whole ministry here. This most recent group is no exception. They have jumped in and worked very hard from the beginning. 

For this camp, the kids came only for the afternoon each day. We started at 2:00, but kids were already there when we arrived each day. The first day we had well over 150 kids. As an aside, I should tell you that part of my job in this week was to purchase snacks for the kids each day. On Monday morning I went with two other team members and we bought 200 apples and 200 bananas. In the stores here, you have to bag up the fruit, but you also have to weigh it and get a price sticker for it. I'm sure it was a funny sight to see three Americans trying to count out so much fruit. 

With this group of kids, management of the time and crowd was a key factor. The team decided that we would have a large group time at the beginning, and this would be followed by rotations where the kids were divided into smaller groups. During the rotation time, there we crafts, games, re-tellings of the story, coloring, and many other activities throughout the week. After the rotations, we would sing some more and then give out whatever snack we had for the day. Giving out the snacks also had to be carefully managed to make sure everyone received only what they were supposed to. We put the snacks beside the door and then had the kids exit one or two at a time as they got their snack. In the church yard, we played many other sorts of games...volleyball, soccer, hula hoops, jump ropes, etc. This was just a great time to talk with the kids informally.  Then, every evening we had evangelism meetings in the church. 

As we had already figured, this group grew every day. By Friday, we had over 300 kids and with parents, we gave away 360 ice creams. That was another adventure...going to the grocery store to buy 360 individual ice creams. I took two gypsy guys with me, and they were a big help.  I also must say again how pleased I am to be working with this team.  Even when it could have been very overwhelming (having so many kids and not necessarily enough "stuff" for them), this team has stepped up and worked hard, changed plans, and never complained.  What a blessing!

One of my big responsibilities in this week was to stay with the group of older kids and teenagers from Apalina during the rotation time.  This is the third year that I have worked with many of these kids.  It was a challenge with so many, but I love being with them...and I think some of them even listen to me now! :)

My other responsibility for the week was to drive some of the team each morning to Gornesti for a music group.  The pastor's wife, Elaine, went with me each day.  On some of the days I stayed to help out, but mostly I just watched.  She did a great job of teaching them basic chords on the piano, some singing techniques, and some basic general music theory.  The best part of all was just singing together.  

This team is staying for another week, so I'll get to work with them again in Gornesti and Glodeni.  God has already blessed us so much, I'm so excited to see what's in store for the next week.
We stopped to buy some more supplies from a shop on the side of the road.

This was the group on the last day of camp...over 300 children!

Last day of camp in Apalina

Part of my daily routine...buying the snacks for the kids.
Music group in Gornesti...Elaine is teaching them chords

Jeno...playing the organ in Gornesti

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sibiu Camp Week 1 (part 2) and Week 2

So I finally have a few minutes to sit down and get my thoughts down about camp.  I should start by saying that these two weeks were so great!

 In the last update, I was writing about the daily program.  After the morning meeting and discussion time, we had a game time each day.  We had the kids divided into three teams that they were a part of all week.  During the game time, they would compete for points, and at the end of the week, the team with the most points got a prize.  This worked really well.  We also started to teach them some expectations: you must stand in line with your team, you must not say bad things to members of another team, and you must cheer for your teammates.  All of this helped us in our desire to build up the idea of working together and teamwork. 

After lunch each day, the kids had time to swim at the river, go to the store in the village, or just hang out and talk.  After this, we had a rotation time where they learned English, made some sort of craft related to the story for the day, and prepared a drama about the memory verse or learned some new songs.  This time also worked really well.  After the rotations, we had soccer and some free time before dinner.  Each evening, we had a meeting where there were testimonies and some of the kids also shared things they were learning.  That really just gives you the basic overview of the days there at camp.

I want to thank everyone who has been praying for the work here.  It has been an incredible summer of service, and I am very blessed to be a part of it.  Those two weeks at camp were busy and long, but God really is working among these children.  I pray now that their decisions will be strengthened in the coming days. 

I’ll just share one more story for now about camp.  I came home one day early to prepare for another group arriving.  There was a girl who was not feeling well, and she came along with me.  I was happy to come home for a little rest, but I was also sad to be missing out on the final day of camp.  However, on the ride home, this young lady asked me many questions about faith and salvation.  She asked me if there were rules to being saved and I was able to share with her about my life and my salvation.  

I'm attaching two videos that we made of pictures taken at camp.  I hope you'll enjoy watching.  I'm going to add another post later of just some pictures.