Ukraine English Camp 2013

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We praise God for another successful English camp in Ukraine.   For two weeks every June we organize an English camp for the students of the Reformed High School of Peterfalva, Ukraine.  We were blessed with volunteers from North America who graciously came and helped us for two weeks teaching classes and assisted in organizing games and events.  It was wonderful for us to have visitors and friends from home join us for the camp and to experience life in Transcarpathia.  We were thankful for an injury free camp and aside from the 95 degree temperatures, ideal weather conditions.   It is our hope and prayer that, not only did the students learn English, but more importantly their faith grew through classes, singing and daily devotions.

A typical day began with a time of prayer with the teachers before breakfast.  Following breakfast and morning devotions with the entire student body, the mornings were filled with five consecutive forty minute class periods.  The aim of the classes was to provide students with an opportunity to speak with native English speakers and to interact in English through diverse lesson plans, topics, and classroom activities.

Afternoons were spent in a variety of activities: singing English worship songs, free time, group events, and partaking in a service project in the local community.  We talked in class about the parable of the Good Samaritan and on different occasions talked about what it means to love your neighbor.  With this theme in mind, during the course of the two week camp, every student was required to spend one afternoon taking part in a service project.  They could choose from three options.  Students visited elderly in the village, where they would sing songs, pray, visit, and read the Bible with them.  Students took part in a Sunday school program with Roma children, organizing games, singing and teaching Bible stories.  The third service project was cleaning up the garden to an abandoned home that will be the future location of the Roma kindergarten.  We were proud of the students, of their diligence and willingness to take part in these activities.  They worked hard and did a good job.

In the evenings, following supper and a second group devotion, was another time of activities.  We organized the students into teams which they competed in events during the two week camp.  A village wide scavenger hunt, a skit and talent night, a trivia night competition, water balloon volleyball and relay races were among the activities the students competed in.

A day away during the middle of the camp was also enjoyed by most.  It was a nice opportunity to break up the camp and to interact with the students outside of the classroom.  We had a warm but beautiful day to take a trip to the city of Munkacs to visit a medieval Hungarian castle and then to travel on to the nearby Carpathian mountains to see a waterfall and to do some hiking in the mountains.  Many people were harvesting hay in the mountains. Wagons of hay pulled by horses and hay stacks dotting the mountainside provided a beautiful back drop to the day.

The last day of the camp consisted of a closing program where the students performed English songs and Bible skits they had learned during the camp.  The student body, school teachers and a few attending parents all enjoyed seeing some of what the students learned during the camp.  It was a very nice closure to the camp and following all the good byes we headed back to Budapest to take some of our guests back to catch a flight.

We were very pleased with how the English camp went this year; we had an amazing group of volunteers who did a terrific job.  We are indebted and grateful to each of them for taking time to come and help us with this year’s English camp.   We owe a big thank-you to Lisa, Pauline, Bob and Sherry, Anna, Craig and Adele, Max and Marina.  We hope and pray that through the efforts of this English camp, that the students not only learned English, but more so, were presented with the message of the Gospel, and challenged to grow in their faith.  We are so thankful to the volunteers for setting a Christ-like example before the students.  We are also thankful to the local English teachers, Irenke, David and Szabina and to dorm parents at the school, cleaning staff and the cooks at the school who daily provided us with great meals of delicious Hungarian cuisine.

At the close of this camp, we must give all the praise and glory to God.  We are so thankful for the prayers, encouragement, and support that we receive from our brothers and sisters in Christ.  We are already thinking ahead to next year.  We will again be in need of people willing to give of their talents, their time, and their energy to serve as teachers for the Peterfalva English camp.  Prospective dates for next year’s camp are June 7-21, 2014.  We encourage you to prayerfully consider this opportunity to serve in Ukraine.  Please see the photo gallery for pictures from the camp.  More information will be available soon on next year’s camp.

About Eric Hoeksema

Stacey, my wife, and I are located in western Ukraine, living with and working among a Hungarian population in Transcarpathia, Ukraine.

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