Monday is always the busiest day of camp from an administrative perspective. For everyone else it is maybe the most relaxing day. We began the day with registration and proficiency testing. After we were got done with that it was time for lunch and orientation, then splitting up into classes.
One of the main theories underlying the way we run the camp is that trust is a very crucial thing in Hungarian culture. Whereas in some places, like America, people are generally willing to objectively consider a message or argument, regardless of who the messenger is, here people won't listen to what you have to say until they know who you are - that you are a trustworthy person, and they understand what your motivations are. I believe that part of the reason this camp has been a fruitful outreach is because we have built the camp in a way that we don't just preach at people, but we let them get to know us, and build trust with us. That way when we share about Jesus with them, they are open to considering because they know that we are sincere and doing this because we honestly want the best for them.
Every day of the camp at 5pm we have a time of music and testimonies which we call "Life Stories", and we tell the kids to come and hear the teachers and organizers share about their lives and what makes them who they are. Of course, this is a platform for sharing the Gospel with the kids by telling them about how we came to know The Lord. It is not compulsory for the kids to attend - but most of them do.
Today Pastor Jani shared his testimony - about his life and how he came to know The Lord. It was a story I already knew, since a big part of it had to do with me, but it was a blessing to here him testify of the work that God had done in his life through the church here. It made me consider anew, how we often times do not realize how important the little things we do are. See, when I first met Jani, I found him to be a frustration in my life. He was a guy who I was trying to lead to The Lord, but he wasn't always interested! So, what else could I do but just be faithful to point him towards Jesus? I couldn't have known at the time, that those things I was doing, which seemed so normal and basic, would someday be a great and powerful testimony of how God led Jani to a saving knowledge of him and eventually made him a pastor and a minister of the Gospel. So I encourage you: be faithful to point people to Jesus; if you keep planting seeds, you are going to see the Gospel take root and produce fruit in some lives. I see that with a number of kids who are at camp this year - kids I shared Jesus with many times, yet at the time it seemed to have no impact, but now they are walking with The Lord and attending youth group or church or even are involved in ministry. Testimonies are often being written when you don't realize it. Just keep pointing people to Jesus!
So, Jani's testimony was powerful, and something that the Hungarian kids could relate to very well. Next Shane shared his life story of growing up in a broken home, and not feeling loved by his father, yet finding a true Father in God. The beauty of these life stories is that each person's story is going to relate to different kids in their own situations and struggles, and they tell of how God did a work of restoration and redemption in those circumstances.
After dinner, the evening program was done by Czeglédi Peti, who filled in for Kiss Balázs at the last minute, and did an amazing job. He dressed up as an Indian chief, and led a bunch of group ice breakers, which kept over 100 people engaged for about 2 hours! Quite the accomplishment, really! During evening free time many of the kids mixed with and got to know the teachers in the coffee house we set up. Even hanging out and having fun with the kids is Gospel activity, because it is part of building trust with them.
Thank you for your continued prayers for the camp, and for many of the youth to be saved!