Week 1-5 Recap
Wow, so much updating to do. I wanted to update every week, but here we are week 5 and it’s my first post.
I arrived in Thessaloniki, Greece on Sunday, July 1 around 15:00 your time, where my team greeted me at the gate with a sign that said, “Welcome Home from Prison Babs!” It was quite the welcome. The next day we explored the city before heading to Sofia, Bulgaria.
Get ready for a detailed description of my few days in Sofia:
We arrived in Sofia around 18:00 on Monday. Our host family fed us pizza and wine, so good. Our friend Eric took on the role of our personal tour guide; we decided as a group to get to work on Tuesday morning organizing and cleaning the office and C.O.W. (Camp on Wheels) supplies. That afternoon we decided to casually hike a mountain called Seven Lakes. I have never really hiked any mountain, so this was not easy. It was a 4.5 hour hike to the cabin we stayed in, and then a 3 hour hike back the next morning. When we got to the cabin the owner scolded us about hiking. He said it was supposed to be low temperatures and rainy all day and our clothes “were too skimpy.” Fortunately, it didn’t rain while we were on the hike but I kid you not, as soon as we stepped inside it started hailing the size of marbles. No doubt in my mind that was God looking out for us. We got back to the car on Wednesday, July 4 around 10:30 stopped at some natural hot springs, arrived back in the city around 14:00 and ate Nebraska Beef Burgers. We then took showers and naps and met up again around 18:00 to play board games at the Young Life Office. Eric forgot a group of Bulgarians asked to use the office for a bible study, so they ended up joining us toward the end when they finished. And we couldn’t end the Fourth without fireworks! He had bought some for us to shoot off at a field across from the office before we went back to his apartment to watch a movie. Probably will be one of the most memorable Fourth of Julys of my life.
The next morning, we wrapped up office work then ate some Indian food before being dropped off at the Sofia airport at 15:00. I somehow ended up with a business class seat, not complaining at all. The plane took us to Vienna, Austria where we stayed the night and part of the next day. Vienna is beautiful, but super expensive. The next part of our journey took place on a bus. We left as a group of five from Vienna and arrived in Brno, Czech as a group of four. Jewel, our Tech Intern worked in Prague that week at their city camp while the rest of us worked at Brno City Camp.
At Brno, I was not only the photographer but also an English teacher. It was incredible. Definitely was not expecting to have a role like that during my time over here, it was challenging in ways I couldn’t prepare for beside relying on the Lord. Honestly, that is a big way the Lord has been growing me this summer. Realizing I need to actually rest withGod and not stress over things I can’t control. It is hard but such a sweet learning process.
After Brno camp, we traveled through the night to pick up Jewel and Diana in Prague and arrived in Turnov, Czech at 4:00 (in the morning). Turnov brought many surprises. The American team was from Virginia and one of the team leaders has mutual friends. One of her Young Life friends who came with her will be attending South Carolina as a freshman this fall! As we were taking a walk one night we stumbled upon this amazing park that was probably made for adults by an artist. Next to the park was also an outdoor theatre. We returned a couple nights later to watch Mama Mia.
Words really cannot describe how much I learned at the Czech City Camps. I came expecting to learn more about videography, at least that’s what my purpose in applying for the position was. The Lord had different plans. I have learned more about him and what it truly means to rest than I have ever known. Psalm 131 says:
Lord, my heart is not proud,
my eyes are not haughty.
I do not get involved with things
too great or too difficult for me.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself
Like a little weaned child with its mother;
I am like a little child.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord,
both now and forever.
I started studying this verse before I left, and it is amazing how the Lord is really teaching me about what it means in being here. In a place where I should feel stressed and heavy laden, the Lord is making it very clear that I should not worry. Worrying about things out of our control, and focusing too far in the future instead of seeking joy and comfort in the tasks, places and people in the present is a reflection of our prideful beings wanting to be in control. I am learningto quiet my soul before the Lord and it has brought me so much joy in times of hardship.
Since the Czech camps we traveled to our “home base” in Poznan, Poland to welcome the last two members of our Wintern Team. The day after picking up Cameron from the airport we were guided on an adventure to an unknown location for our intern retreat. Eventually They revealed we were headed to Tuscany!! It was a week of rest and fellowship, much needed to push us into the second half of our time here.
After our retreat, the six interns got to spend a couple nights in Berlin, Germany while our bosses went to Bulgaria for a camp check-in. The thing that shocked me the most about Berlin was how hipster and trendy it is. The transformation it has undergone since the Berlin wall was put up and torn down shocked me. We did a lot on our visit there. But now we are back in Poznan and will be driving to our next assignment on Sunday!
Poland Wyldlife Camp is going to be incredible. I already know.
Pictures to come soon!