Friday, June 20, 2008

Czech (Check) out my pics

I have some Czech pics up on Chris's blog (most of the ones from this year), so check them out if you want to:

Also, you can check out my general pics at flickr:

First Update - Sent by email

So below is the email I sent out to those who requested it. I've been in Czech for a month and have been co-leading an intern team with Erica.

Here's a Basic Rundown in a few sentences: (Skip if you want to read in more detail)
We hung out as ESIs and not only rested but also prepared for the summer to come.
The Interns arrived and we did the amazing race, getting to know each other better.
Intern training was great and encouraging, though my role at camp will be a lot different.
We are now visiting different churches each weekend before we doing camps with them.
We were able to attend the largest gathering of Czech Christians at the Hillsong worship "concert" - 4,000 worshippers
Camps start in a week! and will happen every other week with training in between
Prayer requests are at the bottom.

Here's the real update with more details:
ESI, Leadership
I have now been in the Czech Republic for one month, and it has been one wild ride. My first week here was just with 6/8 of the Extended Summer Interns (ESI) and the English camp team (Nate, Lucka, David, and Jitka). It seems that we have a really great set of Leaders/Interns this time around. Last time they had an intern for 6-months there was only one, and that was a few years ago. It is exciting to be part of the expansion of Josiah Venture in the Czech Republic. For the rest of the summer I will not be hanging out with this team, but we will be spending some time together later, and I am excited for that as well. The first week we had meetings, rested, and prepared to each lead our separate teams. Erica and I are co-leading a team, and one of the biggest stressors those first couple of days was that we almost had one less intern due to finances. It was stressful to wonder what we would do without him, but we were glad that we were not the ones to make the final decision (he ended up coming).

Amazing Race
We travelled to Praha (Prague), where we had one last fun time together as ESI's before our interns arrived the next day. That began the 3rd annual Amazing Race, which was a time to get to know our team more and generate conflict so we would know how to resolve it. Our team is very chill, mainly due to the fact that we are of similar chill personalities (Golden Retrievers, Steady (DISC), whatever your personality test described it as). We did try hard in the beginning, but after sleeping in a field by a bus station and too many trains, we decided to take the rest of the race easy and ended up joining another group. We arrived in Malenovice, where we had intern training for the week.

Intern Training and my role
At intern training, we learned about teaching English, leading small groups, and Dave Patty walked us through the Upper Room Discourse (in John). One thing that really struck me, beyond all the important biblical lessons, was that I am sad not to be teaching an English class. My role as a leader means that I will be doing the evening talks, and that takes me out of the classroom to prepare, etc. They really did a good job at training of reminding us of the sweetness of building relationships through English Class, and it will be difficult to change roles.

Vysoke Myto Visit
Since training, we have taken some time to prepare English lessons as a team and spent a few more days with Nate and the English Camp team. We visited Vysoke Myto (the group we will have our first camp with) and got to know the leadership and the town. We started off with a dinner with them and a 2-hour prayer meeting for the summer, which concluded a 3-day prayer vigil for camps that the church was already having! One of the distinctives of this group is that they have many unbelievers attending their youth group regularly. We also visited schools and promoted camps with them.

Sumperk Retreat and Hillsong
Last weekend we had a retreat with the main group I worked with last summer, Sumperk. It was great to get away with them and encourage them. We will be doing our last camp with them. We also went with some of them to the Hillsong/Matt Redman Concert. It was great to see so many Czechs worshipping God, especially with more energy than they would probably ever experience together in a Christian context. There were about 4,000 people there, most of whom were Czech, and this was probably the largest gathering of Czech Christians ever.

Trev and Cass
Yesterday Erica and I got to meet with Trevor and Cassie (our leaders from last year and supervisors/"uplinks" this year) and discuss the summer and our goals for the rest of the summer. It was encouraging and needed, as we did not get to do this earlier in our time here (they were in the states). We now have an even clearer vision for why we are doing certain things and what our roles are in the team and at camp - an answer to the first prayer request in some ways.

Upcoming Vikyrovice Visit
This weekend we will visit Vikyrovice, our second camp from last year. We will be staying in their homes and spending time with their church. Please pray that we would bond with them and be able to encourage their team for camp. Also, we were going to visit schools here to promote camp and that fell through, so they may not have as many students at camp as they wanted. The pressure is on the students to invite their friends.

Here's a brief schedule:
June 20-22 Vikyrovice
24-27 US Training
28-July 5 Vysoke Myto Camp
July 8-11 US Training 2
12-19 Vikyrovice Camp
22-25 US Training 3
26-August 2 Sumperk Camp
August 7-10 Intern Debriefing in Praha (Prague), Interns depart

A few prayer requests:
-That Erica and I would continue to learn our roles as co-leaders, and that I would honor her in the way that I lead
-That our team would grow not only closer to one another but to the Lord, including wisdom in how best to do that.
-Wisdom for our interns as they prepare their English lessons in the few free days we have left.
-Wisdom for me as I prepare the evening talks which are the basis for the evangelistic discussions at camp.
-Continued relational energy as we meet many students and move from one group to another.
-That our camps would be a time to empower, push, and encourage key leaders.
-For the salvation of Czechs in Vysoke Myto, Vikyrovice, and Sumperk

Thank you for your continued prayer support. It is so needed as we go into this crazy summer and depend on God for everything. I believe God is going to do something amazing as we plead with Him to continue to change Czech. If you would like to contact me other than by email, my Skype name is JoshHawaii, but we don't consistently have internet access (doesn't hurt to try). Thanks Again,

-Josh "Hawaii" Nelson