Ciao from the Italy English Camp team! We recently returned from two weeks serving and being blessed by the sweetest group of kids at Centro Evangelico Isola, a camp run by Joe Hunziker and his family. The camp is located in a cute little town called Isola near Gran Sasso d’Italia, the highest mountain in the Apennines. It’s such a beautiful place, both because of the ever-present reminder of God’s creation always in the background and the wonderful people we had to opportunity to interact with and serve alongside.
A quick background on the area: Much of Italy is very Roman Catholic, and where we were is no exception. It’s more cultural in most cases, something that most people subscribe to because everyone does it – kind of how Christianity is in the deep South in the United States. Many Italians view Christianity as a sort of cult due to this cultural influence, so that makes evangelizing to them a little more difficult. Though many camps offered at Isola are Bible camps, they cannot blatantly teach Christianity as they could in the States for this reason. The English camp we served in is offered only for unchurched kids to attend, so it was even more different from the norm. Our main focus was to love on the kids and show Christ in how we lived – definitely a very different kind of mission trip than most of us were expecting.
Even more than that, we found how dedicated the camp is to building a strong connection with the surrounding community, whether that means inviting families for fellowship and meals or offering locals access to their soccer field. This connection is how they seek to spread Christ’s love to everyone around them, not just the kids. And of course, everyone at the camp seeks to serve and love on these kids as much as possible, to connect with them and with their families and to be that Christlike influence in their lives. It was such an honor for all of us to be able to contribute to this goal as the camp seeks to show Christ’s love to those who otherwise may not see Him.
And of course, we had lots of fun with the kids as well! We played tug-o-war and had sack races, held a carnival complete with face painting and games, and even hiked on the mountain with them!
Overall, it was such a joy to have fun with and show love to these kids – not just as “the Cedarville girls,” but as members of the wonderful camp community Centro Evangelico Isola has created. It’s amazing how so many people from different countries and cultures and walks of life can come together with such open hearts to further the Gospel. Not only is that a testament to the dedication of the camp staff, but it just goes to show you how God can use literally anyone – and anything – to show Himself in all parts of the world. This was such a wonderful opportunity that God blessed us with, and I think I speak for all four of us when I say that we wouldn’t trade the experience for anything! God is definitely at work, even in places like small town Italy that we don’t always think of as starving for Christ. They really are, and we’re so thankful for ministries such as Joe’s that are dedicated to satiating that need, as well as hearts like his that are so burdened to reach these people with the Gospel.
We survived Bonkers! Bonkers is a traditional end of Olive Grove game where the kids run around trying to find stations while avoiding the “bonker” counselors who try to hit them gently with socks of flour. If they get hit they are frozen and have to call “Medic” to be unfrozen. Everyone really enjoys the challenge and energy and this year was no different.
Our “fruit” of the day was goodness. ESL talked about what the word meant and our study times were centered around where goodness come from and what it means in our actions and words.
Electives continued with high energy. The sea was so calm and lovely and the kayakers were able to go out and search for sea turtles.
With all of our fruitful talk it has been fun to have a local pansiyon cat who just today gave birth to 5 sweet kittens. Supposedly in the next few days the sea turtle eggs will also be hatching.
Evening talks were very encouraging and interactive. They were followed by great times of sharing in smaller groups during Cabin Time.
Pray for continued conversations about the Father and His love for these kids.
After five days of orientation in Antalya, we are now up in Çiralı at the Olive Grove Holiday Adventure. The first two pictures below show our team and fellow counselors preparing our dance for opening night. Pray for our students as we build relationships with them with the hope to have significant spiritual conversations during their time here.
We just finished our last week in Honduras. Crazy to think it’s been a month already. These past weeks have not been what we expected and God had different plans. He provided some unique opportunities to build relationships, learn in depth about the culture and history of PanAmerican (our home base in Honduras) and to serve the different leaders there.
Some of the unique opportunities that God provided were:
-Teaching English at the local school as the English teacher had to return to States for a few weeks.
-We got to spend time encouraging and serving one of the missionary families that had sick children.
-We also got to help out at the emergency clinic in town, this allowed us to get to know the nurses and doctors and build friendships with them.
The pictures above are from our English classes. That week the focus was on building vocabulary through fruits and colors. This was our cook during our time in Honduras. Her name is Marlen and she made sure we were well nourished. That evening she was teaching us how to make baleadas (Honduras’s national food) and donuts.
These last pictures were at the emergency clinic, Santa Cecicilia. It’s the only clinic in town with care available 24 hours.
This trip was definitely a learning experience. God’s work in our lives and in PanAmerican was evident. We are so thankful for your constant support and prayers. Gracias!
Hello, friends and families of the Zimbabwe Team 2018!
First of all, thank you for your endless support and prayers!
We have been rotating in different wards around the hospital (including the operating room, men’s ward, female ward, outpatient department, pediatrics and maternity ward) and got to see so many things that we have never seen before or experienced! Our GOD is so big and mighty and He is above all things, all creation, all diseases, all pain and sufferings on this earth. Praise the Lord, we serve the Great King.