CEF Camp [Week 2]

Last week was the second and final week of CEF camps. We had nearly 50 kids show up to camp!

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While the schedule was the same, nothing else was! The crafts were different. The movie was different. The lessons were different! Continue reading

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Post Camp Conversation & the Future

We just finished up week 3 of camps and the second week of CEF camps. This week was for 11-14 year olds. Yesterday, as I was walking home, I was talking to one of the girls (who Nicole overheard telling her friend she wants to be a missionary). There had been a mix up and she didn’t get her sandwhich at the end of camp. Our conversation went something like this (loosely transalted) Continue reading

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A God-listening Heart

I’ve heard the story a million times about how Solomon could have anything he wanted from God and he chose wisdom. But it’s a bit different in the message…

Here’s what I want: Give me a God-listening heart so I can lead your people well, discerning the difference between good and evil. For who on their own is capable of leading your glorious people? 1 Kings 3:9

Wisdom is referred to as a God-listening heart. That is the perfect definition of wisdom. To be wise, you can’t listen to the world. You can’t listen to the media or trends. Sometimes you can’t even listen to friends & family.

True wisdom comes from God. To be truly wise, you have to listen to him and only him. (Though it is nice when the wisdom he gives you is confirmed in friends and family!)

I want wisdom that comes from a God-listening heart!

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A Civil War Soldier’s Prayer

I came across this prayer while reading Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell and I feel I pray the same way quite frequently. I pray for things I think I want or need only to find that God gives me something better because even though my heart might be in the right place, my words often to not do my heart justice in seeking the best things God has for me.

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might humbly learn to obey.

I was asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.

I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.

I asked for power that I might have the praise of men. I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for but everything that I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I among all men am most richly blessed.

–A Civil War Soldier

I’m grateful I serve a God who does not give me what I ask for but a God who knows me well enough to know what I really need & want. What my heart’s deepest desires are. A God who loves me so much and knows me so well that He hears & answers even my unspoken prayers.

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Ben Ji Min

No matter what camp you work at, there are 3 types of kids. The trouble makers, the well behaved kids & the kid that steals your heart. Ben Ji Min was the kid who stole my heart.

He is only the cutest little kid ever (next to my nieces of course).

The first day of camp, I heard everyone calling him 3 names. Ben Ji Min (Ben-ye-mean). But I never could catch all of them. But the names sounded Chinese so I thought he had a Chinese name. (There’s a rumor going around that I thought he was Chinese. That is just a rumor. I only thought he had a Chinese name. There’s a difference. A big difference!)

I found out that he was a 5 year old attending a 6-10 year old camp. They let him come because his brother and sister came. His father is German and his mother is Albanian. And I thought he had a Chinese name.

The second day of camp, I still hadn’t caught his name but he looked like Russell from Up so I called him Russell. At the beach, he came running over to me to ask if I had a stick. Random. He seemed pretty desperate to get a stick. He said they found some fish and he wanted to catch one! I guess he needed a stick to go spear fishing!

The third day of camp, I found out that he in fact does not have a Chinese name. His name is Benjamin but in Albanian you pronounce it Ben Ji Min (Ben-ye-mean). This was an embarrassing revelation for me. But I moved on. Because now, I could call him by his name!

The fourth day of camp, Ben Ji Min told me he was burnt…as in sun burnt. Only he really told me he had a tiger. They sound very similar in Albanian and the craziness of having a tiger never made me think that he actually said he had a tiger. Until he pulled a tiger costume out of his backpack. Then I realized he did say he had a tiger. A tiger suit. That he brought…on beach day!!!! We all went back to the beach…even Ben Ji Min and his tiger suit. But he didn’t go swimming that day because there were fish in the water.

The last day of camp, he brought the tiger suit back. Lucky for you I got a picture!

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Oh Ben Ji Min, I’m going to miss you next week at camp!

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CEF Camp [Week 1]

Last week, I helped at a kids camp for 6-10 year olds hosted by CEF [Child Evangelism Fellowship]. Nicole & I took 12 kids from our neighborhood. Almost 40 kids attended the weeklong camp.

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Camp started at 9am with a devotional time followed by breakfast: byrek! Then we had worship, a Bible lesson & craft followed by lunch. Then 3 days we went to the beach after lunch and one day we played a variety of games before we played soccer. Friday we had a party after lunch (movie & games)! About 6 each evening we would take a sandwich and head home…physically tired but spiritually charged!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would like helping at this camp because Continue reading

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The End of My Term & What’s Next?

Two years ago, I began an incredible journey that led me to Albania and you graciously joined me on that journey. I have been able to travel to Macedonia, Czech Republic & Austria to create videos for the missionaries serving there in addition to those in Albania. I have also been able to serve all of the Global Partners fields in Europe through a few design projects.

I have had an amazing time learning how to live in Albania, learning the traditions, customs & language of the Albanian people and attempting to become more Albanian every day.

Because of this cultural submersion, especially with language learning, I have been able to become more involved in ministries – especially at the youth center, Burime.

I was also privileged to organize multiple competitions where kids study passages of scripture before being quizzed. To God be the Glory for the growth and commitment we have seen in the children! This even led to the creation of a Bible camp for the kids!

Between the art & Bible classes at Burime, English & Bible lessons for kids in my and Nicole’s home and the Bible competitions, it has been truly amazing to see how much God is moving and shaking things up among the kids. I can’t wait to see what He has planned for their future!

It has been an honor and a privilege to have been a part of God’s work here in Albania. I’m thankful that you have supported me and joined me in the work God is doing here. But as many incredible changes as I’ve seen God make over the past two years, this is just a small part of what God is doing.

And God is not asking me to stay.

God is asking me to go. Go to many places where he is working in ways that need to be shared and told.

God has given me a passion for photography and video. And I hear him asking me to continue to serve him through those passions.

I am so thankful to Global Partners for allowing me to serve God these past two years as media tech for Europe where I have been able to use some of those passions. I am very thankful for the lessons, opportunities & experiences they’ve provided for me.

But I still hear God telling me to think bigger. Dream bigger. Because the work God is doing is bigger.

There are many people, groups & organizations around the world that are being used by God to do big things for the kingdom of God. And I want to share their stories too!

So July 24th is my last day as a full time missionary with Global Partners.

It will be hard to leave behind the life I’ve made here.

It will be hard to leave behind the friends I’ve made here.

It will be hard to leave behind my Albanian family who has truly become my family.

But I know God is asking me to continue the mission he has given me. Though it may look different and though it might not be typical or traditional, God has given me this mission and I will pursue it with everything I have.

Thanks again for helping me follow God to Albania through your prayers, support & encouragement. Please continue to pray for me as I continue to follow God’s call in the future.

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