City Visits & Poland

I’m writing this from Poland, where we’re spending a relaxing few days after our third round of city visits. Its so nice to have this time after city visits to dwell with one another in community before we start training American teams and going to camps. Truly it’s the calm before the storm. 

It’s hard to find words for what yesterday was, seeing as how we spent the day visiting the concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau here in Poland. I can’t say I enjoyed going, because how do you enjoy walking the grounds where millions were murdered? When you step on the grounds of these camps, there is an instant unsettling feeling of true darkness that if I could put into words, I would. I can’t find words for how I felt about going, but I can tell you how it felt to walk through: spiritually heartbreaking. You realize as you walk through that there really is such a thing as true evil, and even that disgusting evil that is the Holocaust can never drown out God’s goodness and his glory. But it’s hard to leave that place and not have questions for God about why it happened and how we should respond. And that’s okay; there’s no question we have that God can’t handle. There’s nothing God can’t handle, and it’s a picture of God’s grace to know that, walking through Auschwitz, Jesus died for Adolf Hitler just as much as he died for you and me. We serve such a gracious God who sent his son to die for all the Nazi guards, generals, and murderers, because even those who do these things do not get disqualified from the love of Jesus. It’s a reminder that God is gracious, far more so than I, and my anger towards what happened there does not mean God didn’t still love them. It’s mind-blowing, awe-inducing, and unsettling. All in all, if you get the chance to go, do it. God reveals himself in the midst of tragedy. 

Now on a lighter note, it’s been so great to visit cities these last 2 weeks and meet students that might come to camp. Prague was amazing, as always. I will never not love a weekend in Prague. The church there has an enthusiastic youth group and a full camp, praise God. We didn’t have to do any school visits because the camp is full, so we got to spend that time getting to know the team we’ll work with. We went on a hike, which was so fun, and had a barbecue. And if you know me, you know I love hiking and eating. It was a great day. This church is passionate about camp and it’s so amazing to see God moving here. 

This last weekend, our team (Team Scoot) and the intern team we live with in Ostrava (Team Butterfinger) combined to become Team Butterscoot, since there isn’t an American team coming to do camp with us in Opava for the third camp. We did 12 classroom visits and met with hundreds of students in two days. It was exhausting, but so fruitful. I got the privilege to stay with Team Butterfinger member Verča and her family, and let me tell you, Czech hospitality is off the chain. I was well fed, well rested, and well taken care of among a busy busy weekend. On Saturday we had a hangout for students thinking about coming to English camp, and lo and behold, people came!! It was so fun to hang out and get to know these students, as well as see the city of Opava. All in all, it was a fruitful weekend and students are signing up. 

Prayer requests for the week:

  • That students will sign up for the first camp in Trutnov. 
  • That our team uses the next few days to be well rested as we prepare to start training American teams and heading into camps. 
  • That the students coming to camps will have open hearts and minds. 
  • That our team continues to stay healthy and we keep our streak of having no one in the hospital. 
  • The American teams we will be working with next week to have safe travels and fruitful camps (see you soon FBC!!)

I’m learning plenty of Czech, and some of it is actually useful. Some of it is the word for caterpillar. Thank you for your prayers!! Enjoy the photo of Prague, because for some reason all the pictures of my team will not save to my phone and that’s what I’m working with here. But Prague is still beautiful!!

Dêkuji, 

Kelley

A Week of Resting in Ostrava

After our first city visit in Trutnov, CZ, our team has been spending the last few days in Ostrava, our home city, to prepare for our next city visit to Prague. And the rest was much needed. This week I’ve been working on English lessons for camp, my testimony, and reading some C.S. Lewis. All in all, it’s been nice to relax a little and have time to work on things as well as live in community with another team of interns. 

So right now we’re all in Ostrava, and we’re with 5 more interns from another team. Tomorrow we’ll head to Prague for our next city visit and we’ll meet the youth group that we’ll be doing our second English camp with. It’s pretty exciting to go back to Prague, my favorite city in the whole world!! This week, however, I’ve learned that people have been wrong about me my entire life: I am NOT an extrovert. 

People assume I’m an extrovert because I tend to talk a lot (blame my ADD, I guess) but I have learned the importance of spending time to myself to recharge. The truth is, my entire life I’ve been told that I am an extrovert so I just never considered how truly exhausted I always am after any social event, or that I might actually be an introvert. But I’ve definitely learned that I am. I even took that 16 personalities test and I’m an INFP if anyone cared to know. Needless to say, this week of rest has been good for me. I’m recharging and ready to visit another youth group! 

Prayer requests for this week include productivity for my team during downtime, patience with one another as we visit a new city, safe travels when we go to Prague, and pray for the students who haven’t signed up yet for English camp, that God will bring the right students to the right camps. 

I don’t have much to say for this update, as the week has been pretty mellow but much needed. Although we did play laser tag last night, and we’ve had a lot of fun building community among the interns. Thank you for praying and keeping up with me!! 

In Christ,

Kelley