Transcend Yourself – the theme for this year’s English Camp sponsored by our Bulgarian Cru ministry. Egocentrism is not just an American plight it is a human plight. Bulgarian college students came to this mountain retreat site to: improve their English, obtain life skills, consider how to make an impact in their world, and enjoy some fun. Returnees from previous years citied: “this camp is different”, “more positive”, and “such caring people”.
Only one third of students attending were Christ followers. Our classes, of course, were re-written for this audience who possess different presuppositions and worldviews. Many Bulgarian students are open to spiritual things, but see evangelical Christianity as a cult. So to ask, “Are you a Christian?”, if they are not Muslim they respond, “Yes.”
“Do you believe in God?”
“Yes.” Then discover they believe in many gods.
Caring relationships and honest dialogue is required to transcend the mental barriers about Christianity. Speaking the Truth must be supported by a lifestyle that demonstrates Christ’s teaching. As in America, authenticity and consistency-over-time invites an unbeliever to consider this life-changing message. As Paul said, “Some plant, some water, some reap but it is God who causes growth.”
In teaching the Story classes, I presented three ‘snapshots’ of my life. It was useful to demonstrate what we would require from each student, but also afforded me the chance to speak about God in a very personal practical way. The next day we dissected my story as a model of how to piece together their own story(ies). To their surprise they remembered my snapshots in great detail and grasped more than just words. This is the magic of stories.
Developing indiginous communication trainers…
It was fantastic to watch our Bulgarian staff teach our classes on:
- eye contact
- facial expressions and gestures,
- posture and stage movement, and
- using your voice effectively.
Though they spoke in Bulgarian, we easily followed along as they incorporated the skills they gained from our course last year. Denise and I coached students and mentored the Bulgarian coaches for each practice session. It requires on-the-spot discernment and grace.
Though we knew they were ready, after camp the staff were also convinced they could now use this tool effectively. This curriculum will open doors in many settings such as businesses, college courses, etc. It is a useful tool to serve communities, build relationships and have ongoing spiritual conversations about Jesus. Staff are also discussing possibly sponsoring a Communication Club on campus to continue the training and relationships begun at this camp.
“Having a fond affection for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” I Thessalonians 2:8
Your missionary to the world,