When I left America to go to the Czech Republic for EuroCamp, I was undeniably apprehensive. "What's going to happen while I'm there? What if something goes wrong? Am I going to be a useful team member?" As I boarded my first plane, my heart was trembling.
EuroCamp happens every July and is a place for young Czechs to come and hang out with friends, play some really wild games, practice their English, and meet some crazy, Jesus-loving Americans. The purpose of our team was to go to camp with these kids and just hang out with them—to just love on them and be their friend. So for a week in the woods, in the middle of nowhere in the Czech Republic, we did just that! It was the most stretching and rewarding experience I've ever had.
We had conversations with atheist campers, who are convinced that there is no God out there, about what the Bible says. Were there any salvations? Not one. Did we plant seeds that, with more time and love, will eventually lead to salvations? Absolutely.
For Dave*, one of the campers in my group, this was his tenth year at camp; yet, this year was very different for him. American team leader Mike had this to say about Dave:
"I asked him . . . why does he keep coming? He told me this was the only time each year to be around people who are different. . . . I do believe he is being drawn [to camp]. . . . Even though he hasn't proclaimed to actually believe in God, he is inquisitive enough to wonder now, whereas before he wasn't even wondering."
It is for campers like Dave that we must continue to go back to camp. For some, this might be the only exposure to Protestant Christianity they will get that year. The kids continue to come back because they love the games and spending time with friends. We must continue to go back because we love the kids and love sharing God with them.
Little did I know when I left America that God would transform my trembling heart into one that has been lovingly broken for Czech people like Dave. I loved my time there because I learned how to make cross-cultural friendships and how to minister without an agenda.
–Mindy Loew served as a summer intern with Global Partners.