Marina’s morning reflections:

MARINA DODD WRITES:

It is 12.30 on Friday morning. We have had a fantastic morning, everyone has fully entered into the spirit of the challenge to get this camp site ready for all the children who will be coming here in three weeks time. Then it will be full on for the next 6 weeks or so.

Today we divided into groups to achieve as much as possible in one day. One team is responsible for spreading gravel on to the lane leading to the camp which gets very muddy in wet weather.  We are expecting 10 trucks holding 150 tons of gravel during today. Already we have spread out 2 trucks and the 3rd has just arrived.

Another  team are laying lino in 4 or more dormitories, this means that the bunk beds have to be moved. (They were only put together last night for our group to sleep on!)

A rotten tree has been felled and the branches moved away.

The kitchen and bathrooms are having a spring clean, we cleaned the girls dorms last night, disturbing spiders that have made their home there since last year’s summer camps.

Some of our group have been busy preparing vegetables for the big pot that hangs over the camp fire. Our numbers are increasing every hour, 4 young people have just arrived from Sth Carolina so the mammoth task of feeding us all continues!

We are having good sessions in the morning and evenings as Andy is taking us through 1 John. It is interesting to be reminded that John, who was a disciple of Jesus, was known in the beginning as one of the ‘sons of thunder’ and now he is coming across as a loving, caring father-figure…  We have been seeing how important it is to not have double standards if we say we are followers of Jesus. We cannot claim to be in fellowship with God if we are unforgiving and unloving towards our fellow human beings…

DAY 3: Renovating the Children’s Camp Ground

Last night we arrived here at the Children’s camp ground.

We built beds that we would later sleep on…

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We cooked our supper over a fire…

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…then read the next part of 1John before sleeping…

This morning we are working in three teams to further prepare this camp ground…

We are building a road through the woods – this involves shifting around 150 tonnes of gravel:

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We are also cutting trees, hedges and grass as well as installing flooring and deep cleaning different areas of the buildings here.

Please pray for :
– safety for us as we continue;
– the many children who will stay here through the summer time – that they will grow closer to Jesus through the teaching, refreshment and friendship here;
– God’s blessing on this team as He continues to wonderfully unite, challenge, use and inspire us through these experiences.

Greetings from all of us!

DAY 2: Driving South towards the Children’s Camp

Darko and Lidija graduated from the Bible School and began to serve with Child Evangelism Fellowship. They now lead this excellent organisation in Serbia and, amongst many other valuable activities, run camps for children throughout the summer time.

Some of the children who come to these camps are from the refugee families who we used to bring aid for… It is amazing to see these children thriving in the company of the CEF team.

After hiring camp grounds for many years, the team have been able to buy a piece of land right in the centre of Serbia – in the beautiful “Sumadija” area known for its natural beauty and Serbian traditional folk culture.

This camp ground will bring great blessing to many children but there is a lot to do to prepare it for the summer. We will be working alongside the children’s workers team to help to get it ready. We will be involved in making a road and preparing some of the buildings.

The atmosphere in our two minibuses as we drive is excellent – already we have had so many experiences to talk about… We look forward to arriving and starting work in two hours’ time.

Tonight we are cooking for all at the camp – about forty of us. We will cook a traditional Serbian meal and share the recipe here!

Thank you for praying with us all!

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Darko and Lidija Prepare for a Summer of Children’s Camps in Serbia…

Darko and Lidija with the CEF team plan a dynamic summer of camps…  Please ::click here:: to read all of their news.

 

New Year News from Darko and Lidija

Click here to read more about Darko and Lidija's news.

Children Listen to the Good News of Jesus Christ – God with us – as Darko, Lidija and the CEF team share.  Please click here to read on!

Reaching the Children of Serbia: Dragan and Danijela serving with Darko and Lidija

Summer Camps Running throughout August

Today Dragan and Danijela finish an excellent course run by CEF in Serbia – “Child Evangelism Fellwship”. The course has been called “The Balkan Institute” – extremely practical, very intensive and developed by CEF over a number of years to equip children’s workers.

“Here we are at the end of the institute, we’ve worked hard – sometimes until 4am – but it’s been a real blessing to refresh what we knew and to learn much more…  We’re going straight to a camp now – 60 people will be there: a real adventure!”

The CEF team is dynamically lead by Bible School graduates Darko and Lidija Adamek and is committed to reaching the children of Serbia with the Good News of the Lord Jesus.

Now Dragan and Danijela will spend the next weeks leading camps.  Filled with laughter, friendship and a life-changing message, these times together will be the highlight of the year for many of the children enjoying them.

Please pray for these important events!

Holidays for Refugees…

Some of the children enjoying these camps this summer time will be from the refugee camps – children to whom we have been bringing humanitarian aid for many years…

Read On!

There is much more to read about what is happening through Darko and Lidija, Dragan and Danijela and those around them.  Click here to read Darko and Lidija’s latest bulletin…

Goodbye Nis!

After an evening of playing football with some of Nis’ welcoming and generous teenagers, we slept a last short, sweet night in our Oak Hall tents.

At 5:30, the “wakeup committee” launched us into a speedy packdown. With warm goodbyes and prayer we left our friends from the city…

We’re now on the road – cutting through the 41 hour journey before us. The coach is filled with great company, music, some newly invented games and much to talk about…

Right now we are approaching Belgrade…

Here is a photo of some of our new friends from Nis – “Come back soon!” – their parting words. We’d love to.

“Somebody knows we are here…”

“You came back. You said you would.”
– Milos

“By coming all this way across Europe, you make us feel like we exist – somebody knows we are here”
– Mira as we left this afternoon.

“We had to leave Kosovo in 1999. We were put in a city sports hall to live. In 2002 we moved here to these temporary houses. We are still here but hope to have homes soon…”
– Dragana, 13 years old and addressing all of us with poise and maturity – she has lived as a refugee since she was 2.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
– Romans 5:8 – the verse we read and thought over together as we stood in front of the refugee homes.

“Your faithfulness surrounds my soul and Your mercy lifts my head… Hallelujah to the King of Grace.”
– Anna singing a Paul Oakley song to all 150 of us.

An unfinished primary school filled with refugees.

The primary school building was left half-built after the refugees were assigned there. The windows were left uninstalled and the road remained a mud track.

Refugees from this camp are slowly assimilating into the surrounding society but still around 75 call this building “home for now”. There are windows now but not much else had changed – cardboard partitions and unfinished plumbing.

Having walked across the fields we reached the camp…

Here are Neil and Jackie painting a child’s face…

Sunday in Nis

It’s been a differently-paced day: a “Sunday-pace” here in Nis… time to be with local people, hear their stories, explore some of the rich history here…

We travelled to Niska Banja – famous for its radon-infused hot springs – some dipped in their feet, the most courageous swam…  We wondered whether any of the group would glow after this exposure!

Using a hotel conference room lent to us for an hour by a friend in Niska Banja we heard more from Darko and Lidija about the strategic work that they do as directors of the work of CEF here in Serbia.  This summer they plan five camps for children as well as a month-long “institute” for those who are training to work with children…

“There are many needs in Serbia – what we need is trained workers here.  Please pray for this!”

In the afternoon we explored the city of Nis and in the evening returned to our makeshift camp at the school… again many local residents joined us – first for a meeting in the sports hall, then for hot chocolate and some games of basket ball.

For the last hour of the evening, we have been working to prepare packages for the four refugee camps that we ambitiously plan to visit tomorrow.

It’s going to be a massive day – we hope to be on the road at 8:30am and we will return around 9 in the evening having driven around 300 kms on small roads down through the corridor between Kosovo and Bulgaria.  Although we have visited these camps before, we have never taken an Oak Hall coach this far south.

There are hundreds of people in these camps – again forgotten by most of the population as well as by the international community.

We will try to keep you posted as tomorrow unfolds – greetings from us all!