Friday, July 29, 2011

While the primary purpose of English Camps is evangelistic, the effectiveness of a camp extends far beyond numbers of conversions. In a country where faith in Jesus is entirely counter-cultural, even small steps toward God are considered huge. For someone to come to camp not believing in God and leaving with questions about Him, that is a success. For someone to come to camp having never read the Bible and leaving with a Bible of their own, that is a success. And of course, for someone to come to camp not knowing Jesus and leaving with a new heart, that is an enormous success.

I want to share with you some of the things the Lord did in my discussion group at our first camp with the CB church in Ostrava!

The first evening talk of the week was titled "A Collision Between Christ and Christianity." The main idea was, "Don't let your preconceived ideas of Christianity keep you from getting to know Christ Himself." We prayed for open doors to talk openly with the five students in our group openly from the first day. He answered!

I was able to share the full gospel the very first night - with guys who were leaned in and fully engaged, asking lots of questions and wrestling with the ideas of grace and justice. I remember T saying completely honestly, "That doesn't make any sense." But as the week progressed, you could see lights coming on and the dots being connected as he finished my thoughts and began understanding what Jesus is really all about. This young man is in the Lord's hands, and I believe that God is not finished with T just yet! Coming to camp not having ever even thought about God, T left seeking. These are huge steps.

L was the one with the most questions. He was always thinking about the evening talks and eager to jump right into spiritual topics. It came from a very soft and sincere heart. L was very touched and struck with the injustice of Jesus' crucifixion and innocent death. Ryan especially poured into this young man, explaining why Jesus had to die and how it affects each one of us personally. I received a note from L at the end of camp: "Tyler, thanks helping me understand God and Jesus." 

At the end of the week, we gave each one of the guys in our small group Bibles. Ryan, Michael and I each wrote a dedication in the front with some passages of Scripture. I feel like the Lord gave me very specific verses for each individual. It was so exciting to see their faces light up with thankfulness as they received their gift! As we rode back to Ostrava in the bus, almost all of them had their Bibles out and read them throughout the trip. 

These seemingly small steps are all apart of God's plan of redemption for these students. Not all will choose to follow Jesus. But many will receive the grace He gives through His blood and go on to be strong men and women of faith. It is through these individuals that God will bring about revival in their home country of the Czech Republic!

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