Julie Moore, our very own HG (head girl) takes up the story so far...
Our third morning was unfortunately cold and rainy with loud thunder. We did not appreciate getting soaked on the way to breakfast. After a good cup of tea we braved the elements again back to our cabins to get shampoo for some much needed showers (which we had inside not in the rain).
We then met up together for another planning session and went through each individual persons parts. Lunch arrived quickly of fish, pasta and some green spinach stuff that I did not try. We then had a break and the girls met up for a much needed girly chat.
We discussed our final plans in a last planning meeting followed by some fun games of pool and air hockey. Here is a great video of Nicola’s amazing pool skills.
We met together to find some bible verses and translated them using a Czech bible and the help of an intern Olivia. We needed the verses for a game to play with the children.
We met with two interns Olivia and Joanna and had a lovely discussion before a lovely dinner of peppered chicken and rice followed by chocolate coconut cake.
We passed the evening with a game of volleyball where unfortunately we had two injured soldiers, Nicola and Emelye who both got hit on the head. Neither were seriously injured, (or even not seriously injured). Finally Nicola serenaded us with an Italian song which woke half the building and then we had a devotional time before forcing Rebecca and Amy for their first shower of the week (just kidding!). We then headed to bed as we had an early morning ahead tomorrow.
Here is our blog for day two - written by Emelye McManus.
Today was our second day in the Czech republic. After a much needed night’s sleep we got up for breakfast at 8.30 and then had a meeting with Simon (pictured left) to plan for the children’s arrival on Sunday morning.
After a successful meeting we had some free time to explore the grounds and took a walk around the lake. We then had a tasty lunch-traditional Czech dumplings, salad, fried rice and pork. After lunch we played some games outside to prepare for the children the highlight of which being Martin falling over after running around a broom 20 times and attempting to run.
After some fun and games we met again to talk about the rest of the week and assigned jobs .We also prayed for the children and the programme which we would appreciate if you did too. We took a break and us girls then took a break and went back to our cabin for some girly chats.
Dinner was lovely –pasta, pasta sauce and potato dumplings .A funny moment being Martin daring Eleanor to drink a mug of cold herbal tea in one go .She succeeded but not in one go unfortunately .Rebecca also managed to put pasta sauce down her white top.
After dinner we played a game of ultimate Frisbee and even with a man down my team won 6 to 2. We got some much needed drinks and sat outside and watched a lighting storm which was a little bit scary especially for Nicola who became convinced she would be hit by lighting.
It's been a long day - we started travelling at midnight on Tuesday the 6th, and it is now 9pm on the 7th! We have had periodic moments of sleep - mainly on the journeys we have traveled. However here we are all in our cabins at the end of day one ready for a good nights sleep.
I have to say I did ask one of the team to write this update, however they have all conked out so you have got me two days in a row. It wasn't this team member, but he is equally conked out as I write this...
The journey here went smoothly - no hiccups or lost passports. Thanks to Les Irvine we got lifted straight from Derry and left right at the door of Terminal 1 in Dublin. We couldn't have asked for better. The flight to Bratislava lasted 2 and a half hours whereupon we were met by Simon Marriott, the mission director of Hand of Hope ministries. We entered Czech Republic and decided to sample some of the local delicacies for our first ever meal in this beautiful country...
Three hours later when we arrived we took a brief tour of the surroundings, it feels very much like a holiday camp you may find in Butlins, with little chalets dotted around a main communal area, leading to a main building where we eat and shower etc. At the minute we are sharing this with another group of visitors, but come the weekend, we will be here on our own working with the young people who arrive on Sunday.
We had some very fine food - a buffet style evening meal of pasta bolognese, salad, couscous and veg. Yum!! The food is catered to what we are used to which is very considerate - however I do hope we get to sample some traditional Czech food when out here. We intend to set aside tomorrow to plan and head to Prague for a visit on Friday. But I will let some of the others update you about that!
So after dinner we were all feeling the tiredness overcome us, so what did we do? We played a game of volleyball of course. This succeeded in making us all sweat even more that we had in the 30+ degree heat of the afternoon, but it livened us all up a little. Some of us took showers and headed to bed for a well deserved rest. The others went to bed stinking and sweaty. I'm not giving away names or gender - but they blamed it all on having to dry their hair...
This day has all been about travelling, now that is over us we can begin to focus our attention on these very special young people we will be working with, who greatly need your prayers for their young lives. They have been through so much already - rejection, abuse and other terrible experiences - and yet in this atheistic country, rooted in communism - here we are as Christians sharing the love of God with them. What a responsiblity and what an honor! We need your prayers - please join us in praying this:
Lord, thank You for Your travelling mercies and thank You for this wonderful team.
We pray for the young people coming on camp that we would deliver the best camp we possibly can - that they would feel loved, wanted and accepted - and most importantly that they would know they are loved, wanted and accepted by YOU!
Help the team to be at their best - constantly living like shining lights. Help us to draw others to You Lord, through our efforts and in spite of our efforts. You are Good and Merciful and Just, and we pray these things knowing You hear the prayers of your faithful people.
Czech back (gettit??) for the next update - hopefully tomorrow!
The final countdown is well under way with hours, not days or weeks to go until we set off! The exact location to where we are heading is on the google map below (we think) and we are all getting very excited about what God has in store for us all.
We begin our journey to Dublin on Tuesday night (midnight) but our flight is at 6.30am or something ridiculous on Wednesday, so we want to get there in good time and ensure we are not rushing anywhere!
When we get there Simon from Hand of Hope Ministries will pick us up. He has informed us that we will be looking after 9 young people aged from 9 - 17. Although this may not seem like a lot, what this means is that we will be able to do some pretty cool stuff, going deeper in faith and giving these guys some much needed one on one attention. For these young people who have very little in terms of material possessions or attention in their lives, this could truly be a special thing.
When we are out there, we would love you to pray with us and for us. Particularly for safe travel, unity as a team, for our faith to deepen, our love to widen and God to do amazing things through us and even in spite of us!
We also pray for the young people and children which are coming to the camp. That they would feel welcome, wanted and loved over these next few days. We are using the theme of being chosen be God - and we really want them to know that God has chosen them, even while others have abandoned them. We pray that these young people would truly grasp this in their heart of hearts - that our God CHOOSES them!
We love that we can blog and hope to be able to keep you updated as we go - as often as we can!
The deadline for completed applications is 3.00 pm on Tuesday, 27 August 2013.
The Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor is committed to equality of opportunity and selection on merit. It therefore welcomes applications from suitably qualified candidates irrespective of their religious belief, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and political opinion.
The vision of Pray for Schools is to bring together people from local churches and those involved in education and anyone else with a heart for young people – to pray strategically for schools in their area and encourage ongoing prayer for specific schools.
Vacancy for a Volunteer Regional Coordinator for Pray for Schools in Northern Ireland
Terms: Travel and other expenses
Hours: approximately 8 – 10 hours a week
Location: CARE’s Belfast offices/own home
Purpose: Mobilize and support prayer for schools by groups/churches/individuals across Northern Ireland.
Pray for Schools in Northern Ireland is a partnership between the following organizations: Scripture Union, Youth for Christ, Crown Jesus Ministries, CARE in Northern Ireland, Urban Saints, The Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Church of Ireland.
For more information about Pray for Schools please visit our website.
Hi everyone - meet Nicola, our penultimate team member. Nicola is an enthusiastic and brilliant team member who has a very dry wit which will go down very well when we are all away! She is the big sister of Julie, and here she introduces herself to us! Take a look...
My name is Nicola Moore, I'm eighteen years old and I live in Manorcunningham. I am a pupil at the Royal and Prior Comprehensive school in Raphoe in my final year at school.
I enjoy singing, art, swimming and shopping. I also like reading the odd book when i get the chance, however I dislike most animals, healthy food and football.
I am really excited to go the Czech Republic as it is an amazing opportunity to make a difference to the lives of the orphans children and bring them a little happiness while also showing them Gods love and telling them God has a place for everyone. My favourite thing about the team is everyone is friendly and we all get on very well, and my best memory of the team is when we ate marshmallows on the beach at our residential... nom nom!
Meet Rebecca McSparron, always smiling, always positive and always a real pleasure to have around the team! Here she introduces herself to us, and shares what is on her heart for this Summer!
Hey, My name is Rebecca Mcsparron and I am 16 years old, currently studying at Limavady Grammar School. I enjoy playing sports such as hockey in my free time and meeting up with friends at Girls Brigade or Sitting Ducks (my youth fellowship). I dislike sitting around the house so I’m always on the go!
I’m really excited to head away to Czech Republic with the team this year, so far we’ve got on really well together and have had some great craic. My hopes for our trip this summer are that we make a difference in the lives of the orphans in the Czech Republic and that they will see God’s beauty through our caring actions. I don't have any fears just yet but again I haven't arrived yet!
So far a memory that stands out from spending time with my team is definitely the night we went to the beach in the freezing cold and had toasted marshmallows. I did think my hands were going to fall off . but it was definitely worth it and was great fun. Also I thought the effort from others and the support people have been giving us to help raise money has been a real blessing and I would like to thank you all for your generosity.
Is it really up to us to 'sell' God to the world? That somehow in wearing our nicest clothes, brushing our teeth and rehearsing our lines it is us who makes God more attractive to the world!? Well in one way it actually is. Listen to this from Romans 12.1:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
It stands to reason that when Christians do wrong things, or mess up ultimately it makes God look bad... After all people look at Christians and expect to see us living a different life to the one they themselves are living. They expect to see a different set of standards, different morals... They expect this because they have the very reasonable assumption that Christianity dances to a different tune than the rest of the world...
The difference we must show to the world is the impact that God has had on our lives.
For example we don't have sex outside marriage because we believe God says it is a gift between a man and a woman for inside marriage (Hebrews 13.4 - hover mouse to read the verse). We don't get drunk (1 Peter 5.8) and lose self control (Galatians 5.22-23) because God challenges us to 'always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that we have.' (1 Peter 3.15). We do live to a different set of standards, not seeking to gratify ourselves, but deliberately being counter-intuitive and seeking to please God!
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. Galatians 5.16-17.
So when us Christians do not live like this, and have sex outside marriage, get drunk, don't have a clue what being a Christian means to us and seek only to gratify ourselves - of course the world thinks God is irrelevant. They'll think - If God is irrelevant to people who call themselves Christians - how is He going to be relevant for anyone like me?!!!
So while anything we do will not make God more attractive to the world - Remember He is Pure (Proverbs 30.5), Spotless (1 Peter 1.19) Holy (1 Samuel 2.2), Righteous (Psalm 9.8) and Just (2 Thes 1.6). Lot's of what we do can make God seem more irrelevant to others.
Christians - those who follow Christ are given ONE BIG responsibility in the Bible. And it is this:
As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received (Ephesians 4.1 )
Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. In other words - UPGRADE YOUR CONTRACT with God, so that you are not on the basic plan of simply being saved and nothing more (1 Corinthians 3.11-15) - Live the WORTHY life - upgrade the contract so when you next think about your plans for the weekend, or how you will react to someone who has annoyed you, or what you and your boyfriend/girlfriend get up to - remember your calling to live a life worthy of being called a Christ follower...
Remember though, it is not up to us to 'SAVE GOD' so other people like his style - No way! He is the One who Saves us (2 Timothy 1.9 & Romans 5.10) Let's not get confused over that...
However it is up to us not to make Him irrelevant to the world through how we behave and act and talk... Forget about putting on your Sunday best - The world is more interested in seeing how God changes our lives through our actions (the ones that matter!) and how we talk about Him!
So todays and every day's challenge is to go - live your life in response to what He has done for you, and live your life in a way which is worthy of being called a Christ follower!