Friday, August 15, 2014

The Final Camp

As I am sure you guessed, our third and final camp of the summer was amazing. Each time I sit down to update you lovely individuals, I am at a loss for what to say, simply because there is so much. I went into the week expecting to teach beginner level English speakers. If you are anything like me, you may have observed a pattern in the universe where things do not go as planned. Given the distribution of students, we needed more teachers of advanced English, and since I had done that at the previous two camps, up to a university class I went, and that class was such a blessing.

We sang, we danced, we dressed up as pirates, we hiked, we cooked sausages over a fire. It was a lovely week. I will share with you a couple of my dearest memories, one more serious than the other.

Story #1: On hike day, we hiked to a lake where a few of us swam and the rest of the group (if you read that as “party poopers,” I wouldn’t argue) rested. In what was perhaps an over-ambitious move, I swam across the lake, to the Shore of Grazing Sheep and an old man who informed us that swimming there was prohibited. By the time I drug myself back to the group, a crisis had occurred. My dear friend and teammate Petrunda had lost her nose ring at the bottom of the lake and had, in its place, a giant pearl earring.

I knew all too well the pain of losing a nose ring. Just a month prior, my piercing had come out, and while the hole in my nose closed up, a hole in my heart developed in its place. When we got back to the camp facility (after Petra took a little nap on the concrete, as only she could), I found my nose ring. After much prayer, time, effort, and skills of a seasoned nose ring wearer, my nose ring found a new home in Petrunda’s nose. It’s the classic story of sacrifice, friendship, and life coming out of death. If it isn’t in my nose, there is nowhere I’d rather have my star-shaped stud than walking around the Czech Republic with my pal Petra.

Story #2: At English Camp, we have strict bedtimes. Students come to learn, and as many years of standardized testing have taught us, the keys to learning are a healthy breakfast and a good night’s sleep. The last night, however, there is no curfew, for there are no more English classes. Since it was my last night at my last camp, I endeavored to stay up all night.

In this process, I drank my first ever cup of coffee. It was tolerable. I also "swam" in six inches of cold river water, watched YouTube videos of screaming goats and punk rock bands, and participated in karaoke. I took a walk at 4am, ending at a picnic table where I played Heads Up with friends and listened to the horses and roosters waking up. The best part of the night, though, was the sunrise. The rising of the sun itself was nice, but not all that. However, I got to watch it with two camp friends who had both decided to follow Jesus that week. We got to talk about our faith and the significant week behind us and if the sun was ever actually going to rise above the trees. I can usually be a bit of a grandma when it comes to bed time, but that was the most worthwhile all-nighter I have every pulled (out of all approximately three of them).

Here are some of the lovely faces from our third term camp team.

After camp, we had time to debrief and a few final days of fun and team time in Prague. It was an amazing summer. I saw beautiful landscapes and wonderful people and cultures. I slept in 15 beds in 10 weeks, never staying in a city for more than a week at a time. I laughed and cried and laughed until I cried and learned and danced. I saw God answer prayers about weather, about nose rings, about travel logistics, and about human hearts, including my own.

“And there are many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.”
John 21:25

Love always,

Jenna B.