Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thank You, Jesus!

We made it to Lousville, KY on Sunday evening 8:30pm eastern time - both Kenya and Czech interns. We were greeted by many welcoming faces from Southeast Christian Church. 
This past Monday and Tuesday, all nine interns have been transitioning back into our North American culture. Once again, we have been under the direct care of the amazing Mi2 team: Ben, Will, Jerri Lynn, and Blake. We are slowly working our way back into society, the same society as different people. Three months in another culture under the amazing leadership of Josiah Venture (Czech Republic) and Life In Abundance (Kenya) can change you, and thank the Lord it has. 
It has been incredible to come back together with the people I met on May 19, 2012 and to see and hear the changes that have taken place in their lives. These past few days with the Mi2 have been such a blessing. I am thankful to experience our first steps back into America together; and tonight around 8pm I will step back into Canada with my dad. 
I'm still not fully capable of expressing how I feel. I am mourning the end of a season; every once in a while I'll cry. I am excited for the changes that have taken place and am looking forward to what is next, although I know that re-entering life here will be interesting. I am 'super pumped' to see my family and dear friends at home whom I have missed these 3 months. At the moment and every moment coming, I must rest in Jesus and rely on Him to transform me. At this moment and every moment coming I am responsible for what this experience has given me, which is much. 
Thank You Jesus that You are alive in me, in you our supporters, in Czech and around the world! Thank You Jesus that you will never leave us and that You will continue to lead us on this transforming journey. 
Our God is greater!

Rejoice in the Lord, always, 

Esther.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Buses are Loading

Good Morning from Prague!
We have the privilege of  being in the beautiful capital of Czech Republic as we say farewell to our beloved friends. This morning at 9:45 Sarah, Chelsie and I will fly away from our summer family and summer home. Unfortunately I do not have much time to expound (we have been rather busy since camp ended on Friday), so I will give you all a quick run-down of our final hours.
First off, our third and final camp was amazing. We joined another intern team to support Kutna Hora for their first English camp! It was a small and intimate camp with few unbelievers (typical for first-time camps). It was encouraging to be with such a passionate group of Christians; I believe our light, life and love was a strong testimony to the unbelievers who continuously heard the name of Jesus.
We arrived in Prague Friday afternoon. From that time until now our team has been making the most of our final hours together. We have visited Alfons Mucha's Slav Epic, debriefed our summer, encouraged one another, ate together and even got to play Banana Grams together. We have cherished this time. Our camp coordinators, Nate and Emily Hughes, Rob and Audrey Chestnut, and Martina are also here in Prague to debrief with us and to send off their friends. I am glad for that, it will be difficult to say goodbye to our incredible leaders.
Yesterday I was able to chat with a couple from my church, Doug and Jean Lindsay! They arrived here in Prague yesterday on vacation. What a joy it was to see them and be reminded of the wonderful home I have in Canada.
In a half an hour we will say our next goodbye; now I must get my things together, eat breakfast and walk to the metro.

Rejoice in the Lord always!

Esther.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Make Me a Servant.

 Philippians 2:1-11
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose… (vs. 1-2)
As our internship here in Czech Republic comes to a close, it is difficult to express what we are experiencing. Logistically, all Czech English Camp teams are together, finishing training for our third and final week of camp. Our intern team will be partnering with Jerry and Melissa’s intern team to lead Kutna Hora in their very first JV English Camp. Today we will say ‘goodbye’ to all other intern teams.

Our final few hours with our Czech family from Colorado, the Hartmans.
Earlier this week we parted with our dear friends, the Hartman family. They have been an encouragement, a comfort, a source of fellowship, tenderness and compassion. I will and do miss them dearly.

It’s difficult to know how to say ‘goodbye’ and yet I am convinced that there is a healthy way to do it… can anyone tell me that way? There was a time in my life when my heart was much harder and goodbyes were easy; I simply closed up my heart, decided not to feel and walked away. But thanks to the transforming power of Jesus Christ in my life, I now bawl at the dinner table the night before I leave (yesterday). By that I mean to say, God has grown my willingness and capacity to love and to express emotion, and now it is no longer easy to say ‘goodbye.’

During that period of ‘cold-heartedness,’ I often questioned whether or not I had experienced what Philippians 2:1-2 describes. It was one of those passages that I read with my head but could not connect to with my heart. Without question I now know this encouragement from being united with Christ, comfort from His love, fellowship with the Spirit, this tenderness and compasstion. I'm sure I have experienced it throughout my life, but I have not been able to recognize it. 
So now I have a responsibility: to be like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose... to be a servant like Jesus out of love (Phil 2:3-11, Gal 5:13). How can I best serve the people that I love? How can I love them well?

As I say 'goodbye,' I am realizing how much I love the people around me. I wish that I would have expressed my love more often and more openly. This is most likely the next step in my ongoing lesson on love - to open my heart, to lay down the walls so that I can fully serve the people around me while they are around me.

Please continue to pray for all intern teams and JV camps! There is one more round of harvest and it is as ripe as the previous two. 

Please pray that we would continue to experience the fullness of Philippians 2:1-11, and that we would keep our focus on today. 
Thank you all so much. I love you.

Rejoice in the Lord always, 

Esther.

My dear friends, the members of Team Granola, the intern team we lived with in Cesky Tesin.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

We have this Hope.

What an amazing week!!

We just finished our second camp week. This week we partnered with the Zlin youth group and the American team from CFC in Evansville, Indiana. I am so impressed with how camp turned out - it was a great time for students and leaders. I so badly want to communicate the success and joy of the camp, and I believe that pictures can really help me out here. So here are just a few...
Everyday we had played "sports" on the field/hill. Filip and Michael from the Czech team were super creative and this time was always really fun. Here we are playing Human Bumper Cars - Don't touch your engine or you'll blow up!

The main meeting area: all meals, evening programs and morning announcements were held here. It was also a great place for games; students could be found here during free time and around meal-time.

David (Zlin youth group leader and one of my students!!!) gave his testimony during the Evening Program. Notice there are two speakers - everything must be translated!!!
 Many testimonies were shared throughout the week. The students heard the gospel very early on and several responded not even half-way through camp! - both believers and nonbelievers! It was so great to be able to speak freely about Jesus only a couple days into the week. The students knew what we are about and why we have this hope and joy!!

TALENT SHOW!! The students were soooo creative! Here Sarah Burge and Amy Hartman's class is performing the 2012 Olympic Ceremony. Their swimming routine (with music from Pirates of the Carribean) was incredible. Be impressed.

Our intern leaders - Matt and Amy Hartman - on their 15th wedding anniversary! (July 27; also Ben's birthday). Amy's mom, Sylvia was able to join us for the camp and surprised her children with loads of pastries for the entire camp!

A few of the girls during the concert on Friday night.

The Band. Even though all the songs were in Czech, the music was certainly enjoyable that final Friday evening.

Saturday morning, the Americans (and a Canadian) were given signed Czech flags as a thank you!!!
And here is a video!!! Friday, the final day of classes, was Ben's birthday; my class came down to visit Ben's class to sing a Czech birthday song.

video

What a joy this week has been. The message of the camp was woven throughout the week: like both sons in the parable of the prodigal son, we try our best to reach the "good life." We might go after fun and excitement or just stick to the rules to get ahead; either way, we come out feeling empty. Run to your heavenly father through Jesus Christ - He is Greater Than the 'good life,' "freedom," chaos, rules... He will not leave us empty; those who hope in the Lord will not be put to shame!! I know that God has used this week-long message to change lives - including mine. 
Thanks again for joining our journey.

Rejoice in the Lord always,

Esther.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Part II Begins!


Hello!
How are you? I hope you are doing well and that you are experiencing encouragement throughout the body of Christ.
As American-team Training Part II is coming to a close, I know that many of us here have been encouraged. Most of our English-speaking team is here together; Sherri, Rachel and Melissa have come from CFC in Evansville, Indiana and we will greet three more Americans later today.  For this second camp, Matt Hartman will be leading our intern team (Esther, Sarah, Ben and Chelsie); we have come to know the Hartman’s (Matt and Amy, Hannah, Kaden, Asher and Hayes) very well and we are excited to be doing camp with this family.
Our first night here at team training, Dave Patty, President and founder of Josiah Venture, shared Josiah Venture’s history with us. I apologize, I do not have the words to describe the encouragement this was to me and I think many others. God has given Dave Patty a contagious vision, the mission and the means to carry it out. Young people of Eastern and Central Europe are being equipped to spread the gospel and there will be revival.
We are stepping into work that God has already begun.
Listening to Jenda's testimony Thursday night. 
Yesterday, Ben and I (Esther) were able to share the purpose and practical tools for English classes. I consider this an honour – to encourage the American teams to “invite students into valuable conversations with kingdom dwellers!” A goal of English class is to increase the confidence of these teens in their English conversations. However, our kingdom goal is to be witnesses of Jesus Christ – in the way we speak, what we speak, the way we love and the way we teach!

“Come and see what life is like in God’s kingdom!”

Please continue to pray for our English camp and the many other camps that are going on throughout Eastern and Central Europe this week. Thank you for taking part in this, we can do our part without your support!! Praise Jesus for His working body!

Rejoice in the Lord, always!

Esther.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bringing the Good News

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”...
"Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."
Romans 10:14-15,17


Thank you so very much for your support - for sending us to lay a foundation where one has not been laid, for sending us to bring the good news!


This has been an amazing week. We have loved building relationships with the students - as teachers, coaches, leaders and friends. I know that the students have experienced the love we have because of the love God has for us; I know that we have been witnesses of the truth, that we have glorified God and that we have brought the word of Christ to their ears. I am so thankful. I have surely been blessed, and I hope that you are blessed as well. 


Coming into this camp, 3 out 41 students were known believers. On Thursday night we shared the gospel; that number increased to 8!!!!!!!! and many more are interested and/or have questions concerning a life with Jesus! Friday night, the gospel was presented again. Today, students will be connected to the local church, as almost all will reunite for "Sunday follow-up."  


"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9


Praise the Lord!!
Rejoice in Him always!


Esther.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pictures from camp!!

Volleyball workshop
Jason sharing his testimony during evening program.
American Team Training at Malenovice: learning the camp dance!!
This here is team Seychelly, my team, kicking butt during afternoon sports.


Rejoice in the Lord, always!

Esther Haveman