The Edge Sports/Fusion camp in Poland

I had the pleasure of visiting the camp that Casey and our intern team are currently serving at in Poland (the camp is being held 1/2 an hour from where we live in Czech) for the last 2 days with Beni  while Caleb is away at a 10 day Awana camp.

In the mornings, Casey and the interns are conducting soccer workshops and in the afternoons, they are organizing other sporty activities. Since our guys are coming along to assist the Polish team that has already organized the camp and is doing all of the teaching, their main job is to teach/play sports, get to know the campers, and seek opportunities to share Christian truths to compliment what is being taught in the evening talks.

Yesterday, Casey did a cross-fit-like beginner course for the campers and most of them thought that it was the hardest thing in the universe (ok, maybe they did work hard on the soccer field all morning, but still…).

 

Beni was sporting in a different way (plaid shorts and buzz cut)…


Today, I had the pleasure of watching and photographing their many volleyball games. By end of the day, Casey said that they played around 7 hours of sports. What?

It is so fun to watch sporty people sport around. They get to get bloody wounds and sweat and I get to be like, “let me take a pictured of that.”

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The Türi Football Team’s Afterparty

After we left the church in Märjamaa, we headed to Türi and found the football pitch where we were to meet the Türi team. The pitch was smaller, shaded (thank goodness), and was an indoor-ish outdoor field. It worked but made it hard for the penalty kick competition because, although the goal was small, the kids were also standing really close to Casey when they kicked.

The game…

The penalty kicks…

The party was held in the yard of a family that attends the Türi church. Another group came to join ours as well. They were from a JV English camp that was run in connection with the same church.

Fun for the littles…My kids pretty much played with legos inside, jumped on the trampoline, and eventually made friends with some of the other church kids running around.Wrestling, eating meat and playing netless badminton seemed to be the things to do at the party.This is our friend Mike (above) who came from the JV U.S. office to help the JV Estonian team this summer. He is modeling the padded goalie pants that Casey bought as soon as he found out that everyone wanted to do penalty kicks against him at the afterparties. Adel was the medic on our team and she saw her fair share of blood at camp. I think that a large portion of her week was dedicated to Casey’s numerous wounds. Casey’s knees and legs were bloody and he had bruises all around his middle from diving for balls at the tournament earlier that week without said pants. Padded pants…money well spent. Mike actually was only wearing the pants because the mosquitos were eating his legs alive so he needed some armor :).Please join us in praying for the footballers that came to camp to draw closer to Christ, the regulars that were not able to join us, and for these guys to get more connected to the Christian community in the Türi church.

 

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The Estonian Football Camp Afterparty with the Märjamaa, Estonia team

The day that our Estonian Football (soccer) camp ended, we moved our lodgings from the classroom floor to a bed and breakfast in Tallinn and we got the afternoon off. We were D-U-N, done and went to bed early.

The next day was our big day for camp afterparties. Since our camp was a combination camp of 2 different football teams, we had 2 different after parties in the towns where the teams normally practice. Both afterparties consisted of a football game, everyone getting a chance to do penalty kicks against Casey (he killed it as a goalie at the tournament during camp week so everyone wanted to get another try), and a gathering with the footballers and the church members from the church the team is linked to.

The first was in Märjamaa. We arrived at the football pitch early so our team had a bit of fun in the playground next to the field. It was a gymnast’s paradise. Good thing our interns are all about gymnastics and death-defying feats (not pictured here…the death-defying part).


When everyone arrived, the football began (present were kids from camp and members that normally attend practices and games in Märjamaa, but were not able to go to camp).

Then the penalty kick competition…

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Like father, like sons…IMG_2150

The church…

 

A few years ago at a Christian conference that Indrek (our Estonian friend that organized and led our football camp) and his wife Regina were attending, they were asked to start helping a church in Märjamaa that was struggling to survive. That was this church. They meet in an apartment in a  residential apartment building in Märjamaa and have a total of 3 members attending on Sundays. Because of the football club supported by this church and coached by Indrek, on Saturdays, they have a weekly attendance of 30 young people. Praise God!

These three church members, with the help of some others, made open-faced sandwiches, cakes and brought some other snacks to welcome us and the footballers from camp. When it was time to leave, one of the church members used the few English words that she knew, “God bless you! I love you!” and hugged each of us individually. What great words to learn in a foreign tongue!

Please join us in praying for the Märjamaa church, the footballers that came to camp, and the regulars that were not able to got to camp to get plugged into and grow in this very small church community.

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From Latvia to Estonia and back again

While in Estonia, I had the pleasure to talk with my friend and fellow JV missionary Elīza Kobin. She is married to Vahur (JV Estonia’s country leader). She is brave. She is not Estonian. She is Latvian. 

Not only is she adjusting to a new cross-cultural marriage, learning Estonian (a language that is not even remotely similar to Latvian), learning new cultural norms and how to live in Estonia, and helping on the JV Estonian team…she has also organized a team of Estonian youth to go with her to Latvia to run a JV Latvia evangelistic camp this summer. What a way to cast vision to the youth and encourage young hearts to serve the Lord in her Estonian church!

Most of our camps have teams that come and help run things from the States, Canada, or the U.K. We are, however, super overjoyed when people from one JV country serve in another country as missionaries. Many of the European churches that JV works with are either super new, or old and need a call to reach outside of their church walls.

Although I have not spoken to Elīza now for over a week, I am sure she and her team have much work to do in preparation. She and her team’s trip will be July 20-31st. 

Please pray for safe travels, that all of the funds would come in to pay for all of their expenses (for nationals, support raising is super challenging), that all the details would come into place at the right time, and that God would prepare the hearts of the Latvian youth that will be hearing the gospel for the first…fifth…seventh time!

I feel so honored to work beside such faithful and brave people like Elīza and so many others.

Elīza is in the front and behind her is her team. Photo credit: Märt Saar.

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A day extra? Yes, let’s just go to Helsinki, Finland.

After arriving in Estonia with our team in the early afternoon last Thursday, we were told that our next time to need to be anywhere for our Estonian camp training was Friday night. So…with 4 people on our team that wanted to spend their own money on a 2 hour ferry ride to Finland, why not? So, we packed up some yummy lunches and went on a day adventure.

As soon as we arrived, Adel, Chris, Logan, and Nick Went off to explore while we just slowly enjoyed our surroundings. 

This was a wonderful day for our family because, for us, there was nothing that we were dying to see. We just wanted calm and happy kids (and selves) and that’s what we got!

Seaside farmer’s market, practically right off the boat.Best berries ever! We bought blueberries and raspberries. Soooo good. Beni got the greatest joy out of feeding the mushy/questionable berries at the bottom of our stash to some more-than-willing seagulls.We bought a “Gentle Leader” dog collar for Haley a few weeks ago. Helsinki was our trial run of more than a half hour walk. Game changer! Miss pull, pull, pull on the lead was super well behaved and our hands did not ache at the end of the day. Thank you Ruthanne for the suggestion!

My sensory boy. Whenever there is a desireably textured surface, off go the shoes! Sand is the favorite.Time to jump and get some wiggles out.Best tea ever! Casey and the boys got  white tea with cherry. I got green tea with passion fruit. They would not sell me a box of tea. Sad face.Super cute used book store. We even found a Richard Scarry book in Finnish and a pop-up Disney’s Haunted House book in English. We bought the English one.Casey’s candy shop in the form of bikes…The boys happily did some light reading while waiting for Dad. Thank you used book store!

Thanks Helsinki. That was a wonderful and refreshing day for our family. Adel and the interns had a great time exploring as well.

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More photos from the Marjamaa/Turi camp in Estonia

I (Kristin) am a beginner photographer but I think that I learned a lot this week. Lesson number one: People with soccer balls not only do not stay still, when they move, they move really fast. I think that I took over 700 pictures and only a handful are great. I have always loved documenting memories but I love to be able to serve our team in this way. What a blessing from God to find a way to serve that I love!

Some of these pictures are at camp (we slept on the floor of a school in classrooms, ate food made by the “lunch lady”, used gym showers, and used the school field…we loved it) and some are at a nearby school where Kuldar (JV Edge Sports Estonia leader) arranged for 4 teams to compete in a tournament and I had the pleasure of photographing that event.

How do you sleep with no window coverings and the sun does not go down until after 10:30?

Light outside at 10:30pm

We all ate dinner at the school where the football tournament was held. Just imagine the stench of 4 soccer teams’ shoes in one small space after several matches. No. Actually you can’t. There are no words.

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JV Edge football camp with young men from Märjamaa and Türi, Estonia

We had the fortunate circumstance that our soccer camp started on Sunday afternoon so we were able to go to our friend Indrek’s church in Tallinn (the local church that has adopted the Märjamaa football team) and they prayed for us! An evangelistic camp focused on reaching local footballers is a great thing to pray for!

Once church concluded, we ate lunch and headed out-of-town to the school (approx. an hour outside of Tallinn) where we would spend the next 4 nights training footballers about football and teaching them about Jesus!

Casey, below, starting the Sunday afternoon training.

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Not including our Interns and the Estonian leaders, 13 young men showed up ready to go. What you see above is pretty much what every morning and afternoon looked like but with more blisters, bruises, swollen everything, and strawberries as the week progressed.

Most JV camps just have one talk in the evening that introduce the idea of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and progress during the week and not only get deeper, they tend to ask the question…what about you? Now that you know these things, what will YOU do?

Since a football camp is bound to be full of a bunch of move-ish young men that have ADHD or similar symptoms, the JV Estonia team decided to cut the talks into two parts. There was one talk each day right after breakfast (followed by small group time to discuss what they learned and thought) and one right after dinner (also followed by a small group discussion). Something that I thought was pretty creative was that instead of calling the talks “meeting”, on the schedule there were 2 “coach’s room” times a day. How appropriate.

At the first “Coach’s room”, Indrek introduced the interns and had them help him to distribute football jerseys.IMG_0920IMG_0921There were two different teams from the JV football league that came to our camp (Marjamaa and Turi). The Märjamaa team had blue jerseys and the Türi team had black jerseys.IMG_0927Below: the Märjamaa team (plus all of our interns and their coach)….and not all of the team came to camp so their team does not really have only 4 members.IMG_0997Below: The Türi teamIMG_0994Everyone together.IMG_1000In a separate blog post, I will include some of my favorite pictures from the week.

Below: Nick sharing during Coach’s roomIMG_1736Chris sharingIMG_1489Casey sharingIMG_0958Logan (tank top) sharing after a tournament that our camp had with another football camp in Estonia. Ranno is translating. I have written about Ranno in a few previous posts about Estonia.Adel sharing (she came to be the camp medic, help Casey with logistics, and help me with the boys and Haley while Casey was out training the guys all day…I am so thankful for her help). She has a very interesting and miraculous testimony. A lot of the guys resonated with what she had to say. She is Czech (also a very atheistic country) and went to Christian camps and events for many years before choosing to follow Christ.IMG_1475The last night and morning, we did praise and worship (in English to my surprise).IMG_1752Something very interesting about very atheistic countries like Czech and Estonia is that more people have open minds and can hear the good news without contempt, mockery, and heavy disbelief, like so many other people do. However, once a person decides that they believe what Jesus did, choosing to admit that they are sinners and asking Christ to lead their lives, and be their savior, is a much more gradual process.

This week, many of the young men at camp admitted that they do believe that Jesus died on the cross for their sins, to reconcile them to God, but they are reluctant and fearful of having a relationship with Jesus and devoting their lives to him. One boy did say that he used to the follow the Lord, fell away, and through the discussions and teaching at camp, he has decided to turn around and walk towards the Lord again. Praise God!

Please join us in praying for these precious young men. Please pray for the Lord to soften their hearts and speak to them in a personal way. Please ask the Lord to take away their fear so that they can walk towards Him with courage and hope, not fear of the unknown. Please also pray that they would not forget what they have learned as they go back to their daily lives. Hoping and praying….

The lovely thing about Edge Sports is that this is not it. These guys will be meeting together in the future for many practices, trainings, and tournaments. Our Estonian missionaries and churches already have programs and events in place to continue these relationships. So much to praise God for!

 

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