That’s A Wrap

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Our last day of camp has been a wonderful day! We started off with the shorter sports sessions again this morning. After lunch we had free time where most of the campers decided to swim in the lake. The campers were all having such a great time in the lake that we decided to skip English and crafts today and give them more time to swim. Swimming in the lake quickly led to a homemade slip n slide which was also great fun.

We took a group picture of all the campers, counselors, and our team before dinner. Everyone wore their tie dye t-shirts they made yesterday during craft time. The photographer had us all looking straight into the sun when he took the picture, so it’s doubtful that anyone’s eyes will be open!

For dinner tonight we decided to give the campers a treat and our team ordered pizza for everyone. We had quite a surprise when the pizzas were bigger than any pizza we had ever seen in our lives. We were also misguided into ordering 21 pizzas when 9 or 10 would have fed the entire camp. So it looks like we’ll be having pizza for breakfast!

We’ll have our last worship service tonight and then tomorrow morning the camp will wrap up and the campers will head home. This will most likely be the last blog post for this year so, thank you all for reading and keeping us in your prayers! It’s been a great year at Ostroda camp!

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Free with God

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Day 6: 

The theme for camp today was God wants you to be Free!! and the scripture to go along with this was Luke 4:18. Tonight was the most important night spiritually of camp. We were lucky enough to have a fun Polish Christian band come and lead our worship service. Everyone was really feeling God’s presence during the worship songs. There was lots of clapping, dancing, and jumping all night. One of the members of the band is a hip hop artist and performed several rap songs. Lots of the boy campers really enjoyed those songs.IMG_1697

After the music, we had a very powerful message given by our worship leader, Sergiusz. He talked about how even though we may have literal freedom, that doesn’t mean we are free with God. We need to be free from everything holding us back from our relationship and walk with Christ. After his message he invited anyone who wasn’t feeling the freedom of God to come up and pray to receive that freedom. Almost all of the campers came up and we had a time of prayer and thanksgiving. It was such an amazing experience to see so many young people give their lives to God.

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The worship service was definitely the highlight of camp today, but we also had a great time during the sports sessions. We stuck with the shorter sessions again this morning since it was the hottest day we’ve had yet.

After sports we started our annual soccer tournament led by Jeff Rush. All of the participants played really hard and the spectators had a great time watching and cheering. Tomorrow the teams will compete in the semi finals and I will report back with a winning team.

We ended the night with a secret McDonalds run for the counselors and Americans and we are all happy campers with our milkshakes and cheeseburgers.

On a completely unrelated note, we discovered today that Dave Shuping, Mike Dingman and Chrissy Wetzler will never turn down a fresh cup of coffee. However, Dave should never be allowed to make the coffee because, in his own words, “it’s not weak.”

Tomorrow will be the last day of camp and we’re all shocked at how quickly the week went by. It’s been another great year at Ostroda Camp and we’re so thankful for all the prayers and support our Pender Family has provided! We send lots of love back home  from Poland!

It’s America Night!

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Day 5:

We started day 5 at camp with a thorough devotion provided by Dave Cacner. He cited many sources from the Bible and the rest of the team has nominated him to receive a Ph.D in resourcing upon arrival in the States. Our camp theme for the day was “you have a calling!” and the scripture to go along with the theme was John 15:16.

Wednesdays are traditionally our “rest” day at camp, so today we had much shorter sports sessions. We did two sessions that lasted one hour each and we found everyone, including us, enjoyed the shorter sessions since today was the hottest day we’ve had yet.

After sports ended around noon, the American team all headed into town for a few hours. We walked around, took pictures at the lake, and enjoyed a pizza lunch at a local restaurant. Zbigniew, Lidia, and Ben were kind enough to invite us to their home and we headed over there after town. We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon of ice cream and coffee and wonderful conversation.

This evening we had our annual bridge competition. The campers split into groups and built bridges out of popsicle sticks the other day in crafts. Today they set their bridges up across two tables and stacked books on top until the bridges fell or broke. The winning team was a group of four girls. Their bridge held 15 books!

Our team led the evening worship service tonight and it was quickly deemed “America Night.” Mr. Dingman provided the message and focused on the song “Voice of Truth” and related the lyrics of the song to what it means to be a Christian. The rest of the team contributed to the service by leading four worship songs. The songs we chose were Days of Elijah, Lord I Lift Your Name on High, You Are Holy (Prince of Peace), and Blessed Be Your Name. Before we started each song, one of the youth would read a short description explaining the meaning of the song. All in all America Night went very well!

The Ping Pong tournament finals were held tonight after service. One of the boys in the finals, Matthew was also in the finals last year at camp. However, he was not victorious this year. A camper named Martin won the tournament and it was a very close match. Matthew gave a touching speech after the match and told us that he had never been in the finals of anything before this camp, and even though he didn’t win, everybody cheering and clapping was one of his happiest memories. It was a great moment for all of us!

Another highlight of today was the introduction of the grenade game. This game consists of all of the Polish counselors, and for some odd reason Phillip Helms, having one imaginary grenade. At any point in time they can “throw” a grenade by simply yelling grenade really loudly. Everybody then has to drop face down to the ground. The last person to drop to the ground is immediately thrown in the lake. The only rules are that no grenades can be thrown during meal time or worship and that the loser is allowed to take their electronics out of their pockets before they’re thrown in. I will keep you all posted on any grenades that are thrown.

Photos from today:

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“Where does this bench go??”

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Ping Pong Champion, Martin!

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Ping Pong runner up, Matthew

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Team photo!

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Team photo + Filip

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Selfie time