Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and buses and trams and…..)

July 8, 2019

Ahoj from Vranov nad Toplou, Slovakia! We arrived here safely on Saturday afternoon and it’s currently Monday, so I’ve got some catching up to do.

On Saturday, we took a train 6 hours east from Bratislava to Kosice, the second-largest city in Slovakia. We were met there by several of our Vranov helpers and our primary host in Vranov, Dodo. After an hourlong bus ride, we settled in to our lodgings, had dinner, and spent the evening getting ice cream and doing laundry.

Lydia and Martin, two of our longtime Slovak partners, leading the pack of Americans through the Kosice train station.

On Sunday, we attended worship at the Vranov Lutheran Church, our host congregation and the church conveniently located right next to our lodgings. Slovak Lutheran services include a lot of “stand up—sit down—whoops, up again,” so we definitely got our morning workout! We were also invited to introduce ourselves to the congregation and lead them in a song, after which the pastor gave us each a blessing in preparation for the week

The American team in front of the Vranov Lutheran church

After church, we enjoyed a team lunch together at a local restaurant and spent the afternoon preparing for the week ahead. In the evening, we met with our Slovak interpreters and helpers, one or two in each class and a few to help with rotations and other parts of the camp.

Today, Monday, was the first day of camp. We had 97 students attend! We talked about the story of Moses as a baby and how we can trust in God when we are in danger, just as Moses was saved from danger. 

Team member Dan introducing himself to students before opening
The crush of students registering for camp on day one!

Prayer requests:

  • ​Several team members are battling colds and stomach issues. Please pray for solid rest and quick healing.
  • Gratitude for wonderfully cool weather after a very warm and humid night on Saturday.
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Meet the Team: Timmy

Timmy is from Washington and is on his second mission trip to Slovakia.

What do you like about English Bible Camps?
Meeting new friends!

What do your friends back home think about your trips?
They miss me! I told them I’m going because of God and English.

Meet the Team: Phil

Phil hanging out with some kids in Group 1.

Phil is a team leader and is an English teacher back home in California.

What’s one of your favorite memories from an English Bible Camp?

One day last year during sports, I walked out to the rotation to take photos and a bunch of kids mobbed me, and we ended up in a big group hug. This memory sticks out because sometimes as a team leader, I feel like I’m more “behind the scenes,” so a little moment like this with the kids is always nice.

What’s one of your favorite Slovak candies?

Probably Bon Pari (a hard candy similar to Jolly Ranchers). It’s got more taste than sweetness to it, and they last a long time.


Team Leaders

PHIL SCHMIDT & ERIKA MECHSNER are sibling team leaders. When they aren’t leading short-term trips to Slovakia, Phil is a high school English teacher in California and Erika ​is an English teacher in Nevada.