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Debrief & Departure

Today the team went to Omiš, a seaside town south of Split where we spent time on the beach and ate lunch with the JV Croatia team and the JV summer intern team. At lunch we discussed the highs and lows of the week, the ways we saw God work in ourselves and students and how we can improve the trip/teams/curriculum in the future.

Our Sola Croatia trip officially ends tonite after a reunion at church with the students. From here we begin our trip back to the states.

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Camp ends today

Today we are on our way back from a great camp week. As we travel back to Split, our home base, our team reflects on a time of great fun, great fellowship and great teaching. Our students were challenged to draw near to Jesus and to become disciple makers. I don't think we could have asked for more in a week of our lives.

We will debrief tomorrow and attend church in the evening. From there the team will go it's separate ways. What a blessing it has been to minister to Croatian youth this week.

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Labyrinth & reflection

Last night the students went through what the camp calls a labyrinth. This is a series of stations where students can reflect on their lives as they are now, their dreams for the future and how the work of Jesus and belief in him can grow to become a major part of their lives.  

After completing this one hour activity, students met with mentors and members of the American team to discuss their faith and belief in Jesus.  This reflective time allows students the opportunity to make choices that will have life-long impact and build relationships for discipleship in the future. We are honored to be active participants in these small portions of the lives of Croatian students.

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Hiking, hearts and Christmas

Today we started our morning with a group hike to a historic WWII stone memorial commemorating soldiers who died in the area. Our team explored the monument, at the top of a nearby hill, and played games together.

Tonight, John talked about Jesus seeing the hearts of men, based on John 8. He challenged the cultural thinking of "listen to your heart" and reminded us of the corruption and power of sin. 

Our late night event was "Christmas in June" led by our team. We celebrated with students through caroling, photos with Santa, gingerbread houses and a mock snowball fight. 

 

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Water, color and Clue

English camp is in full swing. Yesterday, we had a water balloon challenge, a color powder war and in the evening the team acted out a live action mystery based off the movie/game clue. John's evening talks shifted from who Jesus is to Jesus the Creator and Lord, active in our lives and desiring to hear our needs. 

Pray for our students as they reflect on the message of Jesus in their lives and for good weather as our forecast has changed to rain for the remainder of the week. 

 

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We've arrived!

After a long, warm (32c) bus ride North we arrived at English Camp to a thunderstorm. We played some games to get to know each other and started learning the professionally choreographed camp dance (more on that later). John gave his first talk outlining our theme for the week, which involves comparing our views and opinions of who Jesus was/is to what the Bible says about him. The students were intrigued and the first night ended with a fast game of Bunko.

Tomorrow begins English classes, organized games and outdoor play.

 

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Velik Je Pog

Today we attended Kršćanska baptistića crkva in Split. The is the home church for our English camp and for JV in Split. I can't express to you how great it is to experience worship in another language and culture. To see how others we don't know and can't easily communicate with worship the same God and even sing the same songs in another language is amazingly rich and fulfilling. We sang the very famous song How Great is Our God in Croatian (which translates to Velik Je Pog) and it was wonderful.

 

We leave for English camp in one hour. Pray for transportation safety as we bus four hours north to Tuk. 

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Why is it always 5am?

Jet lag is a terrible thing. Your body has no idea where you are. You're tired, hungry and hot and cold all at the same time, but the one thing is consistent. The first day into a Europe trip I'm always up at 5am. Good news, it's beautiful here. Bad news, I'll be tired earlier tonite.

Almost the entire team is in Split and cultural/camp training begins today. Pray for alert minds and less confused circadian rhythms.

Here's a view from our terrace in Split. It's utilitarian, but full of Balkan charm. Everything in its "right place"  

 

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Departure day!

The day has arrived! The majority of our team leaves today for Split. Pray for a healthy team, minimal jet lag and safety in transit!

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Departures begin, 100% funded

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Departures begin, 100% funded

Great news, the team is now 100% funded. Thanks to all who helped us get here and all the hard work put forward by the team. Every dollar raised goes to transportation, lodging, camp supplies and food that all centers around the English camp we will host next week. 

Team members Ashley and Nathan leave today and we pray for their safety and smoothness of travel. Air travel and transportation for these types of trips is always complicated as we must plan around departure and arrival constraints and post-trip plans. This year, we have four different departure times and routes for a team of 9, so logistics gets quite complicated.

 

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Currency, Capability & Calmness

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Today is the "that day" in the pre-trip planning process. The day everything hits like a ton of bricks. Not because things aren't going well but because there's a lot to do. Today we dealt with currency: the team will be in countries with two different currencies, capability: the understanding and realization of who can do what role best and calmness: the realization that no matter what happens we'll forget something or miss something and accepting that helps everyone stay calm and begin the famous "it will be fine" phase.

Croatians have a lot to teach us in their easy going attitude and our friend Mladen coined the calmness phrase of the century "it will be fine" but getting to the point of believing that as it comes out of your mouth is the struggle.

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Scurrying and hurrying

Most of the team has started the scurrying and hurrying phase of trip planning. This is where we start figuring out what fits in our bags and how on earth we'll get our clothes AND the English Camp supplies into one checked bag and one carry-on. Fun fact: The team will bring over 200 items from Seattle to Split to help make the camp great. From silly string to school supplies, we pack it all in! 

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Our team departs this week!

This is our ready, willing and able team that will depart from Seattle later this week. Pray for their safety, their ease of travel and their energy to cross over 9 time zones in a single day! 

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