Tuesday, July 23, 2019

English-Deutsch Woche (English/German Week)

My co-leader, Jola, standing next to our group meeting point.
Last week, we participated in and served at a English-German week for ages 6 - 11. It was a blessed, exhausting and encouraging week for everyone involved! This week has been going on for 10 years already and is planned in partnership by one woman and an organization called Kid's Team (formerly Children's Evangelism Fellowship). There were 140 kids who participated in the week!

All of the kids during the morning worship and skit time.
The goal of this day camp, which goes from 10 am to 4 pm each day, is twofold - 1) to support and encourage language development of the kids by challenging them in their weaker language (either English or German), and 2) to share the gospel with the kids through song, story and relationship. Nate helped with registration at the camp and then helped with music in the main session and in the English-speaking kids bible time. I (Bethany) was a group leader for (8) 9-year-old girls (with a wonderful co-leader and helper!), a helper with a baking workshop, a bible small group leader for (4) 6-year-old boys and I planned a field trip/game for all of the kids on one afternoon.

My group of girls with our group helper

Needless to say, it was quite the exhausting week! But I had some wonderful conversations with my girls and also helped them practice their English. We saw lots of kids learn about the bible who had never heard about God before. Ellie also brought a friend with her from school who had a really great time the whole week. I saw many parents at the final celebration who were moved by the message and the songs. We are praying that the seeds planted in the hearts of many as a results of this camp will grow into something wonderful!

We were also blessed to have Pastor Dave Genberg at our house for 10 days and serving alongside us at the English Camp. He survived the week as a group leader for 10 and 11 year old boys (lots of energy!!) and oversaw the sports workshops. He had the chance to teach many kids how to swing a bat for the first time, since baseball and wiffle ball aren't known here! We had many good conversations with him about Austrian culture, ministry challenges and this particular kind of ministry.

The baking workshop I assisted with
The reason for Dave's trip was primarily to discern if his church could send a team next summer to support us in creating our own English camp ministry in our target area for the church plant. We came out of the week concluding that this ministry endeavor seems possible and we all feel better equipped for it, after this past week of ministry. We will continue conversations, prayers and plans to see if God opens the door for this opportunity next year.

Overall, it was a wonderful week and we are so thankful for all that God did through the many volunteers to impact these families!

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