Walking in Courage - Katka's Story
Jackie Grondahl | July 2017
While some sit in a circle on faded patterned rugs, a few straggling students make their way into the English Camp main room to join discussion groups. A hum of Slovak dialects begins to rise as leaders invite their huddled campers to engage in conversation. Although many leaders feel anxious or inadequate to lead a discussion group, God is working in the students' hearts and the leaders’ lives as well. One of the Slovak leaders who has experienced this movement of God is Katka.
Accepting the Invitation
Although Katka has been serving God in Slovakia for five years, this year marks the first that she’s led a discussion group at English camp. Katka found out about English camp through her friend, who was working as a camp leader. Around the same time, Katka was wondering what she could do to better serve God and her community. She felt a strong need to be a part of something bigger, but she didn’t know where God wanted her to go. Her friend came to her and asked her to be a leader at camp. Katka was surprised and scared at first because she felt her English wasn’t the best. But with her friend’s assurance, Katka accepted the invitation and began leading at camp.
During the first four years of being a leader, Katka cleaned up around camp, played worship songs on her guitar, and started a prayer team with other staff members. Rather than leading a discussion group, she was content to stay on the sidelines and help behind the scenes.
“I felt all the time that I am a very bad person to share the gospel because I’m not even able do that at home,” Katka explained. “That was one of the reasons why I was asking if I was the right person.” She was hesitant about joining the English camp team because she didn’t think she had the skills or the boldness to evangelize. She remembers thinking, “I cannot be with students, I cannot share the gospel because I’m not good at it. But through the years, I’ve realized that’s not the only way to do that.”
Sharing Hearts, Transforming Lives
Before summer camp began this year, Katka decided that there are more ways to serve others than organizing items or cleaning around camp. She knew it was time to start sharing her life with the people she loved --the students at English camp.
“The main thing is not only to be here and tell people everything we have on our minds, but that we learn to hear their stories…to share ourselves as we are and to ask God to help us to have broken hearts for these people, to be open to them, too.”
Through leading a discussion group, Katka is able to help campers with their frustrations and has a better opportunity to see campers the way God sees them.
“So, this is what I realized: the only thing is to be near to God, to love Him and He will do everything else… be open to share our lives and our weaknesses… be ourselves and show students that we are really interested in them, that it’s not something someone told us to do.”
Katka loves serving at English camp, but she hopes to experience God just as much at home as she does at camp. Something God is teaching her right now is that the Holy Spirit is just as present during the year as He is during the summer. Katka reflects on her recent revelations with God saying, “When God calls us to do something challenging, He will definitely bless our courage, that we are obedient, and that we are exactly where He wants us to be. He will not only bless others, but He will also bless me.”
Will you join Katka in praying for the hearts of students in Slovakia and all throughout Central and Eastern Europe? Visit our Prayer Room now and join us this summer in the movement.