I’m heeding the nudge of the Spirit to chronicle My husband and my and now OUR family’s story of calling, continuing with another part each Tuesday. Thank you to all of you who are sharing in this story. I am so thankful for your encouragement in this season.
For those of you who are new to our story, I trust you will enjoy reading
But, I very much know that I write this story before an Audience of One…Trusting all who read be blessed with a touch of Him…
Speakout English Camp. It’s not a ‘missions trip.’
In our ministry, we sort of cringe when we hear the term ‘missions trip.’ It seems to denote a ‘see the world’ mentality, not a ‘change the world’ one. Something about observing instead of serving and the experience rather than faithful obedience. I know that this is not the intent of many, but for the sake of all I know about Speakout and other amazing projects offered through Student Venture, as well the larger umbrella ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ, not to mention many other ministries, I will call this a Missions Project.
For the high school and college students, as well as the adults and families who come from the United States (and all over the world), it is very hopefully and often life-changing.
The Speakout Project is five weeks long between travel and then a month at the English Camp and de-briefing. In the first week the participants are trained in Evangelism, or basic ways of sharing their faith in Christ, as well as Discipleship, or core disciplines to grow their own spiritual life. Both of these continue throughout the following three camper weeks. Speakout, by the mere length, makes it a mini-internship for cross-cultural as well as youth ministry. Our Director, Dan, says that ‘you can work in your own strength often for a week, two weeks, even three weeks, but add that fourth week and then you need the power of the Holy Spirit to survive.’ I have been through this three times and would say that many realize earlier, but there is no way that you make it to the end of the third Camper week without knowing something of the Holy Spirit’s living through you to accomplish the work.
Sara and my Discipleship Group for Speakout 2006
(Me, Victoria, Sara-STINT sister, Kelli, Annie, and Melissa)
Our first Speakout Jared and I both had the opportunity to work closely with two young people that we knew previously. Annie was from our home church and she came as a tutor during my first Speakout. I met with her one-on-one and guided her through her times with her campers each week. However, till she left Speakout she knew more Hungarian than I did and had adopted most of the Hungarian student leaders as her extended family.
Jared worked with Ben. We had met him at Camp-of-the-Woods right before we came on STINT and he and Jared became fast friends. Jared then recruited him to come to Speakout. Ben was only fifteen when he came and going into his freshmen year of high school! They had made an exception for him because of his spiritual maturity confirmed by references because normally you have to at least have completed your freshmen year of high school. We are so glad they did! Ben excelled in this environment and was one of the most mature of the tutors in many ways. I am so often reminded in what we do of what Paul says to Timothy: ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.’ Ben shared the message at our Commissioning Service before we moved here to begin ministry…we are so excited to see how the Lord uses this young man.
Once the campers come, this is how their week looks with their tutors, like Ben and Annie were that year. They meet their tutors that first crazy night when we cheer for them. They see pictures of the tutors’ family and friends, ‘their world’, and then they usually walk down to the lake front and get some fagyi (kind of said like ‘fudgie’ except more ahhh) which is ice cream in Hungarian. Especially the first week, this is really hard for the tutors because they get a crash course in communicating cross-culturally. Often, they need to be reminded to slow down and repeat things to make sure their 2-4 campers in their ‘tutor group’ are understanding.
The next morning and for four total mornings during the week the campers attend ‘Morning Class.’ This Speakout I was a part of the Morning Class Team with Zach and Jeremy. Each summer there is a theme. That summer, the summer of 2006, it was ‘Messages’. There were four different types of Messages that the campers heard about. Messages from the world, friends, ourselves and God. I gave the talk about Message About/to Ourselves.
This was probably one of the things I enjoyed the most during my whole STINT year. As a teacher for seven years, even though I got tired from the grading, and discipline issues, I LOVED the essentials of teaching students. Being in front of a group, engaging and interacting, making it fun and bringing home really important truth. I have often been asked if I miss teaching since I resigned almost six years ago to go overseas and then have kids. I usually say that I don’t, BUT AS I WRITE THIS, I REALIZE I DO MISS BEING IN FRONT OF STUDENTS, TEACHING, ENGAGING! PROBABLY IF I COULD NAME A ‘DREAM JOB’ OUTSIDE OF ‘MAMA’ I WOULD SAY A TYPE OF MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING TO YOUNG PEOPLE AND/OR WOMEN. Hmmm…we’ll see what God does with that DOWN the road
I shared my own story of how I heard for a very long time that I was ‘the ugly twin.’ My twin sister is identical, so how can this be? (kendal, you can chime in!) Well, that’s one of the crazy things about being twins—non-stop comparison. And even though NO ONE said this, when your twin is named Homecoming Queen and you aren’t even on the Court (I was one of ten? semi-finalists…oh dear, high school—don’t you love it?), what else are you going to think? She felt like the ‘stupid’ twin even though she was third in a class of 300+ students since her twin happened to be valedictorian. Needless to say, this was a really important message to share with any set of young people, particularly Hungarian young people since many have never heard the true message of their incredible worth as image-bearers of God. I also used several clips from LOTR to help create an easily relatable message.
Just as the morning class talks build toward the Gospel, so do the campers’ tutor times. Each afternoon tutors spend time with their tutor groups, often in the last couple of days, moving to one-on-one time with each of their tutees. Each day they talk about all things teenager and the tutor initiates in the spiritual elements of his/her life. Building from testimony, to diagram of the Gospel, Gospel booklet, to asking if the camper is ready to make a decision to trust Christ.
I realize that some are not as comfortable with such direct methods, BUT, the reality is that every Speakout God saves some of these young people and their. lives. are. NEVER. the. same. Like Anita that I shared about two weeks ago. It is true that we are unable to follow up with some although we try to connect them with the ministry. In the school year(s) after coming to Speakout, students will travel three hours for the weekly meeting in Budapest from some other town in Hungary! Another reason, we pray workers are sent to open up ministry outside of the capital city of Budapest year-round, since right now there is only on-going during-the-school-year ministry there.
I often think of the parable of the sower. I pray that all decisions to trust Christ that lead tutors to run screaming through their dorm floor corridor, ‘My girl prayed with me to trust Christ as her Savior!!’ (the guys are *slightly* more cool about it) are true heartfelt and we will rejoice together forever. But, regardless, the seed is good, and even if there are rocks unseen, or thorns untouched, the seed is good and again, we know that He sees it all and we can trust Him with their hearts. And with the age of facebook and all things social media, tutors are able to keep up well with their tutees…they experience a bond with them unlike any that either have ever had.
So Speakout is all of the FUN that I talked about last week, FUN that is an outflow of a community of (young) people who have traveled from all over the United States and sometimes the world (during this Speakout a girl, Hannah, came as a tutor. She lived in Israel and was healing after the lost of her sister, Abigail, in a bus bombing…do you see how this is ministry on all sides?) to offer their lives in the FULLEST SENSE to often very needy, broken, hardened and tender, searching Hungarian youth. (and sometimes Romanian, Slovakian, Croatian, Czech youth come too!)
Speakout 2006 Staff
Go to my About Me page to see Speakout 2010 Staff
A lot bigger…mostly due to the HUGE growth in Hungarian student leaders who come to Speakout as staff and are discipled and intern in the ministry with helping with the camp and also going all around the town and neighboring towns to share the Gospel with others as well as being sent out on Projects to Albania and Romania!
And almost immediately after this Speakout was over, we returned to the States which is where we will pick up this story next week!
Note: Since this is the place we are called back to, I have spent a good deal of time talking about the year where so very much of the foundation of this long-term call was laid. I hope to finish our calling story in the next three weeks as I share about coming home to the States, joining full-time staff, raising initial support, ministering in high schools here in Florida the last 2.5 years. Oh, and having two kids! I am looking forward to being in ‘real time’ as we transition NEXT WEEK to full-time support in preparation and faith to be sent SOON—Lord willing, August-soon
Linking with beautiful ones at Jen’s for SDG Sisterhood…Join us?!
and the lovely Laura for: