Monday, June 27, 2011

Off to Polička!

The day has arrived! Today I am flying to Prague where I will meet with some friends and end up in Policka by Friday night! I'm so excited about all of our preparations for this year's English Camp!

This year we are receiving back the ripples of the relationships we have been enjoying in Policka. When there was no longer an American available to write the curriculum for the English Camp, several of our strongest volunteers stepped forward to say they would plan it(our 8th Camp!), if we would come and help. I was concerned in the beginning, that they were just trying to get us to come visit and not so interested in the camp. We always knew there would come a day when we would have to let go of the English Camp and let new programs develop. So, I asked Jarda to ask the group, “Why do you want to do this? Is it just to spend time with the Americans or is it about spending time with the children?” Without a thought, he replied to me, “both.” They love to see us, but the volunteers now have the ultimate desire to share the camp with more and more kids.

Why? Because it has made a difference in their lives and effected the way that they see the world. Many of those on the curriculum planning team, made up of only half church members, have visited the United States through the help of people in in Cimarron Presbytery. Premek, Jarda, Petra and Jitka, were all greatly affected by their experiences here with the congregations in Ponca City and Stillwater Presbyterian Churches, as well as other friends throughout the Presbytery. As they have written the curriculum, they have designed spaces for them to share their experiences about American culture. Even the non-church members want to share what a difference has been made in their lives and the way that they see the world thought their interactions with the Camp and their relationships with those of us who have befriended them here and abroad.

When we began these English camps and English classes, we were helping the church reach out to the community and now we are witnessing them reaching back. Instead of building the bridge in one direction from the church to the community, many non-church members have extended their help to meet our bridge somewhere in the middle.

If you're interested in learning more about the camp there are many ways you can keep up with us. First off you can continue to keep "czech"-ing my blog, but you can also check the Blog of the English Camp during the camp July 18-22. I will post that link when it is closer to time. You can also watch my sermon from yesterday at First Presbyterian Church where I gave a larger explanation of how far we have come with the English Classes. Also, you can invite me to come preach and/or share about our trip when I return to the US in August. I will be back in Oklahoma while I continue my search for a call as a pastor in the PCUSA.


More Energizers!

Meet part of our team!

Have fun with the youth of First Presbyterian Church, Ponca City, OK


Thursday, June 16, 2011


We are bustling with plans for the camp! Yes, if you haven't heard at this point, we are doing our 8th English Camp in Policka this year! Can you believe it? Even more amazing is that some of our Czech volunteers have volunteered to plan the curriculum for the camp and they are doing a marvelous job! They have developed a Movie Star Theme where we will talk about some misconceptions of the American culture displayed in films. Each team of students will prepare their own short film and at the end of the week we will share them and give a few awards. The city of Policka has offered to provide a showing of the films for the whole community during the week following the camp. What a wonderful cooperation between the community and the church!

Part of my preparations will be developing the skits and activities for the opening programs of each day. We will begin with a few energizers, have a welcome and announcements, and then lead into the skit. You will hear more about the skits soon enough, but until then you can learn a few energizers! This posting is mainly for the Czech and American leaders, but anyone is welcome to enjoy these videos! Just remember, we had fun making them, so feel free to laugh at us and with us as you take our tutorials.

Full video of shortened tutorials in order to guard against copyright

New: Paparazzi--Find the Superstar!

Rock Star/All-Star (Summer Fun)

Run, Run, Away/Cow, Cow, Lasso (With new added action!)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Full Circle

For the last week I've been reconnecting with my friends in Madison, WI. I walked down familiar streets and sat in familiar places. I talked and laughed with many of those who were a strong support for me while I was living here and abroad, and I also made a lot of new friends in the process. I got to preach last Sunday at Christ Presbyterian Church (my Madison church family) and today I got to sing with them in the contemporary worship team. What a wonderful week I have had!
I shared with my friends about the difficult journey I've been on in these last five years since I started this blog. There have been low points and high points, but I feel like during this trip I felt everything come full circle. While I was here in Madison, I heard the call to ministry, but I was frustrated and lost, not knowing what or where that was meant to be. When I had an injury in my hand, my "Flute" ministry seemed to be at an end. Part of me wondered, what if I had tried harder or what if I hadn't tried so hard(causing my overuse injury)? When I went to the Czech Republic, I was partly testing my call to church ministry. Was I called to serve as Music Director, a Christian Ed Director or as a Pastor, and if a pastor, what would that even look like?

These last five years have been a discovery of my call to pastoral ministry, working with all varieties of God's beloved people. As I look back on it, even if I had not had my injury, I know the position in the Czech Republic would still have drawn me to Polička, and I still would have answered the call to seminary and pastoral ministry. It's always life shattering to loose such a precious gift, but I am seeing now more than ever, that God places gifts in our lives for the time we need and always continues to bring us more gifts, even when others no longer serve their purpose. I always saw my life purpose to bring joy to others and empower them to use their gifts in empower ways for them and those around them. Now, that calling is the same, I'm just playing a different instrument and singing the same song. Stay posted to hear about my upcoming trip to the Czech Republic to reconnect with those friends, sharing with them in the joys of our continued expedition in life.