Reflections on a summer well-spent

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Ukraine interns saying goodbyes at the airport.
Ukraine interns saying goodbyes at the airport.

The interns are home! Over 100 US, Canadian and National interns served this summer in the countries of Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine. For the 1st time this summer we had two traveling teams of interns: Communication Team interns travelled all over Eastern and Central Europe capturing the stories of camps and interns in photo, journal and video, and EXIT Tour interns travelled as a band, doing concerts at schools and camps all summer. The stories are pouring in of God’s provision and work in young lives this summer- and I love reading them! Here are quick excerpts from 3 intern newsletters (used with permission) that capture the momentum of God’s work better than I can:

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Bella~ Latvia

Warm greetings from Riga again 🙂 This is my last newsletter for my summer internship with Josiah Venture 🙂 Thank you for your greetings, prayers and encouragement this summer. They have meant huge to me throughout my internship in a remote and unfamiliar country.

Time flies and I couldn’t believe that I will leave this team and this country in less than one week. Next few days we will be debriefing… I have experienced so much in 2 months..If you ask me to use one word to describe my summer, I can only use “good”. It is good, not in the way that is comfortable, relaxing, financially rewarding. Instead, it is very challenging, energy-demanding, and very costly. But it is all WORTH it. I have never doubted that it is God that led me here and as the time went on, I saw more and more of His purpose to let me be here. I’m so glad that now I could say that I not only have finished this “race”  but also finished it well. I discovered, learned so much from this summer in many ways and got to know some very dear friends. Honestly, it was the most meaningful summer I have had so far.

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Rachel~ Poland

Cześć wszystkim! I am writing this to you all from my own bedroom in Denver. I have to admit it feels
strange—it’s been one of the first times I have been completely alone for more than 15 minutes for
almost 3 months. I have been in the United States since late Friday night, spent two days debriefing in
Arizona with the Arizona girls and leaders, and have been in Denver since Monday afternoon and the re-
entry process has definitely begun.

I will detail more of my re-entry process in my final, follow-up letter in a few weeks. Before I
briefly talk about my final week in Poland I have one awesome praise to God. At my final camp in
Mikoszewo I met a girl named Ada and, at the beginning of the week, she had told me that she had been
somewhat attending the Łodź church for about 5 years but had never made a decision to follow Christ
and have a relationship with Him. But she was interested in what the pastor had been saying in church
services and enjoyed camps. I prayed that night and in the following days that she would finally make a
decision to have a relationship with God because indecision is still a decision. The second to last night of
camp we had Labyrinth, which, if you don’t know what it is, is a series of four stations that guides the
campers to think about where they are in life and where they stand with God. That night Ada finally
made a decision, and she made a decision to have a relationship with God and to follow Him! Praise the
Lord!

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Toby ~Czech Republic
It is hard to believe that I am writing this final update from my couch in America! The summer in Czech Republic came to an end last Friday when I made the long flight home. As I began saying goodbye to my team last week, I had to think about how thankful I was for the summer. Many people in Josiah Venture worked everyday to insure that we could be working effectively in our ministry. I was also very thankful for my team of five who shared their lives with me throughout the summer.
Looking back, the evidence for God’s direct involvement on the summer is incredible. Whether it was our city and youth group visits in the month of June or the English Camps in the months of July and August, I can think of many moments that point to God. One of the memories that I’ll keep forever is from the first English Camp in Cheb. I was able to become friends with a spiritual seeker named Peter. He had many questions about the bible and about God. I will always remember reading from the book of John on our balcony with Peter. He left camp with a bible and a heart that continued to seek the truth. This is just one of the countless encouraging stories from the summer. At the debrief during the final week the other Czech interns and I had the opportunity to praise God for what he did by telling stories from the summer. There were stories of relationships being built, truth being spoken, and commitments to the faith. There was even a story about a student who sold his bike so he could afford to go to an English camp. This time of sharing and praising went on for quite a while. It was amazing to come together with fellow believers and tell about what the Lord did this summer.
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This is the “why” behind every form I am redesigning, every handbook I am updating, and every process I’m evaluating. I read these stories and re-read them, because while I and my coworkers at Josiah Venture are planting the seeds of what will become the intern program of Summer 2016, it is good to see the fruit from this past year’s harvest. It is good to pause in the work of today to remember what God can do with one little seed planted in faith.
I thank you all the time for making it possible for me to wake up each morning and do this, and I will thank you again. Without your support, I would not be able to be a part of this. Thank you!!!
Many of you have asked how support raising is coming. Josiah Venture would like for me to be full-time by September 1, and I still need about $700/month for that to happen. I have been fervently asking God to provide. Please pray with me this week that God will provide what remains.
Maybe you are a part of that answer? Will you ask God if he might be calling you to join me in this ministry?
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If you’d like to be a part of what God is doing in the lives of American and Canadian college interns, and the lives of young people all over Eastern and Central Europe:
Give online here.
Give by mail here (print prayer card and mail in with a check).
We are almost there…..!!!!!!! *smile*
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