God touches lives through OM Czech Republic’s annual summer English Camp.Creative English conversation class

“The whole camp is perfect,” said Albert, 17, one of many happy attendees of the OM Czech Republic annual English camp.

The camp was well-attended this year by many enthusiastic campers. Held at a campsite located in beautiful forests next to a lake and close to a small village, the surroundings contributed to a sense of peace and tranquillity.

Those attending the camp were of different ages, occupations, and points in their spiritual journey. Some of the campers were already in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, while others remained undecided. All campers, however, appeared open to dialogue concerning faith matters and took part in most programmes, including those that involved sharing about faith.

Upon interviewing two different campers, both expressed how comfortable they felt at the camp and how much fun they were having. Highlights for them were being able to reconnect with friends, improve on their English skills and participate in skits and dramas.

Albert came this year for his fifth camp. During the last two years he changed not only from being a child to a young man, but also from being an atheist to a person in relationship with Christ. He expressed his gratitude for the spiritual discussions held at the camp. “The Czech Republic is an atheist country, so talking about God is not so common in activities or schools,” he said. “I’m glad that somebody talked about the Christian meaning of life.”

Many Czech people seldom have the opportunity to hear about God as reflected in the Bible, and instead imagine caricatures of God perpetuated by the mass media and insensitive ways of evangelism. He felt this camp was a helpful and non-threatening place for dialogue concerning God and what relationship with God looks like in reality. As he put it: “I had some feeling that God was there ... no manipulation, just saying we take it so, and you can take it like truth or you can dismiss it.”

Another camper expressed similar thoughts: “It’s interesting because you really don’t hear these things,” said Dalimil, 23. “I’m not Christian, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in God—it’s complicated. I think that there is a God but that the Bible is just a book written by people and that Jesus was a man. He did good things, but only as a man. It’s nice to hear what other people think.” (Dalimil, 23)Prayer during the Gospel presentationThe camp is filling a spiritual void, even for those who have not yet begun to walk with Christ. The non-threatening and accepting environment of the camp made campers comfortable enough to listen to each other and the facilitators of the camp, and to dialogue on spiritual matters with an open mind and heart. Christians could find encouragement for their relationship with Jesus and practise sharing their faith with others.

For most campers, this was not their first time at an OM English camp—in fact one camper was at the camp for the eleventh time. The volunteers, mostly from Canada, who came to the Czech Republic to teach English to the campers, were also mainly repeat attendees. This is a testimony to the sense of joy and fun that the camp holds each year for all those participating, irrespective of role.

Some of the more exciting activities included line dancing, swimming in the lake, playing softball, performing humorous skits and dramas, and doing traditional Czech crafts like felting. The camp was a time of fun, laughter and creativity. Sitting around the bonfire in the evening, campers engaged in informal conversations with each other, getting to know new friends and catching up with old friends.

OM designed the English camp to blend with Czech culture, from the selection of activities to the overall structure of the camp and the way the gospel was presented. The OM team knows that teaching English is still a wonderful way to reach Czech people!

Natasha Schoultz, OM Česká republika, July 2013