So I should be writing my prayer letter, but I just read one of Faith’s (my Church here) intern’s blogs about helping with the AIA camps and I had to post part of it here. Kristi’s observations were spot on and I thought it would be good for us to read a young woman’s perspective on Czech culture, instead of my perspective. Check out her whole blog, but let her thoughts about Czech youth culture move you to pray for this place like never before.
My heart was broken for Czech young people. I can’t even describe how much these kids touched me. They are so unbelievably old at such a young age. There were 12, 13, 14 year olds that would smoke and drink alcohol on the sidelines of the fields as we played with them. A lot of them have this dark, hardened sense about them that you just don’t see in most American teenagers. The girls are incredibly sexualized from a very young age. The first day we were out playing sports, a 12 year old girl showed up with cuts all over her arm. At first I thought they might be accidental, but the closer I looked, I realized the cuts formed a name, and it was obviously self-mutilation. Sometimes I just wanted to break down crying in the middle of a game of volleyball. I realized that our simple gospel presentations through our skits, testimonies, and actions would be the most that many of these kids would ever hear about God’s love for them. There’s just nothing for them here…. there’s such hopelessness. I think the concept that Jesus loved them and extended mercy to them was utterly foreign to these teenagers. As the week progressed, the Czech girls with whom I had begun to form friendships would ask me eagerly when we would be performing the drama for the night. I began to realize that some of the teenagers were more excited about seeing our skits than playing sports….some of them would come and sit on the sidelines the whole time, then gather with the other kids to watch our gospel presentation. I could see the longing for hope and truth in their eyes as they carefully watched simple skits that many American teenagers would just laugh at or shrug off. It was beautiful to be able to tell them my testimony through a translator on the last night we were there, speaking words of light into the darkness, proclaiming the love of God in my brokenness against the glorious splendor of the setting sun. I will never forget their faces and my desperate desire to see their lives transformed. We held an outdoor worship service on the Sunday morning after the camp week, and one of the teenagers from the camp who attended asked me if I was coming back next year to their village. I sadly told them that I wasn’t, and she said in a sorrowful voice, “I wish you would come back. There is nothing like what you do here. No one tells us the things you have.” It made me so sad and angry…..the fields are ripe for the harvest, and who will go? Who will tell that girl again that she is loved and beautiful and precious?
Spot on. My heart broke last week at each camp. Interacting a little with these kids was very, very moving. I really believe there is a unique window with the young people here. I see it on our junior team with the Lions, God appears to be moving. Please pray that He does! Please plead with me that many kids would come to saving, life-changing knowledge of Christ, and that there would be solid discipleship in sound, healthy doctrine with these kids! Thanks for being you! Be a revolution of Christ’s love today!