By: GEO Missionary Sean Baker, Career Missionary Rev. Rex Rinne, and GEO Missionary Linda Rinne
On July 11th – 15th, 2016, the American Missionary Team, five Slovak teachers, and four EGT (a local Lutheran High School) student helpers were blessed with the opportunity to lead and serve at a Bible camp in Tisovec, Slovakia. In total there were eighteen students at this camp. Some of the students were current students at EGT, some were incoming students, and others were students from Tisovec and the surrounding communities.
The theme of the camp was “Soaked in God’s Love” based on Titus 3: 5 (GNT): He saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us. Each day we had a Biblical topic to correspond with a Biblical story having to do with water. The first day we discussed how God created the universe and everything in it and everything was good. The second day we talked about Noah and how God chose to save Noah and his family through the flood. The third day we learned about God’s healing power using water in the story of Naaman. The fourth day we studied how God washed us with the blood of Jesus and wiped our sins away. We ended the camp with the topic of baptism and how important it is in our lives as called children of God. In addition to learning about these topics, we also had small group discussions where we dove deeper into each topic. These Biblical topics were vastly important because many of the students have not heard these stories before. We provided them with the simple message everyday that they are loved and saved by God. They are soaked in His love!
The Bible study and small group time took place in the mornings. In the afternoon we also had games, activities, and crafts. Some of these activities included going to cool off at the swimming pool or hiking up the nearby hill, called Hradova, and designing t-shirts with permanent markers. On Wednesday night of the camp we had a cookout and brought a little bit of America to the Slovaks by teaching them how to make smores. For many of them it was their first time having this tasty American treat. (Below is a picture of some of the “Smore Girls” with missionary Linda Rinne.)
After eating s’mores, we had the opportunity to praise God in his beautiful creation. We were huddled around the fire singing worship songs in Slovak and English with one of the student helpers playing the guitar for us.
Thursday we had a huge competition between our small group Bible study groups in various Minute-To-Win-It games. Some of the different games included cup stacking, keeping balloons up in the air, and transferring skittles from one bowl to another only using a straw. They were fun and simple games that everyone could participate in. It was a lot fun for everyone involved.
This camp was filled with many great memories and laughs, and friendships were formed. The students were surrounded by Christ-like role models during the week. They may or may not see this modeled in their lives at home. As missionaries, we pray that the message we were able to teach and the seeds that were planted in their hearts are able to grow and prosper in the years to come. The games, crafts, and activities were fun, but the greatest joy for each of us was that these eighteen students were taught God’s Word daily. We pray that God blesses these students in their walks with Him and that God continues to bless EGT and the people of Tisovec, SK!