Greetings from Croatia! One week in country and this is the first real chance we have had to record any of the things that have happened, and there has been some excitement. Following is a brief account of our first seven days. Meredith’s words will be in black. Mine, similar to the holy scriptures where the most important words are a different color, will be in black.
Our flight was nice except for the screaming child who sat in front of us. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the child had been in distress, but she screamed for sheer pleasure most of the eight hours on the plane. Interestingly enough, Meredith seemed to be bothered by this darling little infant more than I was. I found myself sympathizing with the wee tot trapped in a meager few feet of space on an airplane and being passed back and forth between family members for nine hours. NINE hours. During which time the aforementioned family members never once corrected the young sonic weapon for squealing at a decibel and pitch far beyond the range of safety for human ears. NINE hours of clamping hands quickly over the mouth of the newborn harpy accompanied by a “shush” that was at times more like begging than a direction they expected to be obeyed. At other times there was only laughter which the budding opera star took as encouragement. NINE hours while the passengers around them patiently and kindly dabbed the blood droplets emanating from burst eardrums and trickling forth from sore ear canals stuffed with plugs and ipod earphones. NINE HOURS. Not eight.
The small print disclaimer from Jamey*****Certain words in red above are not meant to be taken seriously as examples of my impatience and lack of maturity. Rather, they are an attempt on the part of the writer to entertain myself while keeping the promise we made to everyone to let you know how we are doing and what is happening. Hope you enjoy them and don’t simply report me to ministry heads in leadership over me. Do videnje from Croatia! J
We hit the ground running as soon as we landed. Although Meredith is basically right here and not intentionally lying, let me just give you a few more details to help clarify things. Sunday was a quiet day since we landed early morning after an overnight flight. We just tried to stay awake talking to Stevo, Sarah, Nina, Daci, Marko, PJ, and Zak (team members already here) so that we could get into more of a normal sleeping routine. It wasn’t too difficult since the excitement and adrenaline of being here carried us. Monday we did get right down to business, so now back to Meredith and her “bullet-like” synopsis. We spent much of the week discussing camps, visiting the camp grounds, and talking to students about camps. Our numbers for the first camp are quite low and we could use prayer for more students to register. Yes, please! Even though we talked to dozens of kids in many different schools around the city of Rijeka and surrounding towns, we only have six kids signed up for the first camp. We’re hoping for twice that for the actual camp. In talking to the kids some were receptive and kind and will come to camp. Others gave us the stereotypical teenage response to strangers asking them to willingly come to a camp to learn more English right after they just finished the school year. It really was a great illustration of how important it is to get more team members here on a permanent basis so we can be an active presence throughout the year. If the kids aren’t hearing about these camps for the first time from strangers only a couple of weeks before they happen then I think the response will be better. However, we were shown great favor from the administration in many of the schools in letting us go directly into classrooms to talk about the camps or just to hang out in the hallways talking to kids in between classes. This would NEVER happen in the states, and we thank God for this cultural difference and for having prepared the hearts of the principals and teachers before we ever got there. We are hopeful that once we are here full time that we can volunteer to tutor or run after school clubs to build relationships with the whole community. We know how important this is in ministry, so we’ve been trying to do what we can to acculturate ourselves as Meredith is about to tell you.