Jul 5, 2016 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
Sometimes a short conversation can reverberate for decades.
In 1994 I volunteered as an English teacher at a high school in the town of Havirov, in the Czech Republic. I had no particular desire to teach English, but it was a great excuse to build relationships with lost teenagers and I didn’t have much else to offer.
Our youth group was pitifully small, only five people, and our tiny church had less than 60 members. We needed some innovative new strategy to get the gospel to atheist Czech young people who were far from God.
Standing in the school hallway, discussing summer plans, one of my students made an offhand comment. “Dave, why don’t you do an English camp for us. Our parents would pay for something like that, and we need an excuse to get out of the house!”
I didn’t hear the rest of the conversation. Immediately my mind went to how we could make this happen. I contacted my brother, who was leading a youth group on an American military base in Germany and asked if he could supply an enthusiastic group of believing teenagers – who also happened to be fluent in English. We booked a facility, designed invitations, and 6 weeks later over 80 students gathered for the very first English camp. Our team taught English during the day, and spent the evenings talking about God.
This event launched a youth group, then five more youth ministries in surrounding cities. Our church began to fill with young people. The next summer we led three English camps, then seven the following year.
This summer the Josiah Venture team will lead 110 evangelistic camps in 13 countries with over 5000 young people in attendance. Half of these are not yet believers, and many will hear the gospel for the first time in their lives. Over 100 churches will be blessed with lasting fruit.
Many of these camps happen in July, so your prayers are particularly needed during these crucial weeks. Pray for the gospel presentations and for many personal conversations where young people will be challenged to respond.
Because sometimes a short conversation can reverberate for eternity.
Grateful for your partnership,