Sunday, July 1, 2012

Latvia Update: The First Days of Fusion

Fusion Camp location, featuring Nathan Curtisi.
Latvia 2012 rec: Kajabi Can Can

Team Orange. Our chant: "You can't hit this, 'cause we are citrus!"
Our two teams--English and Fusion--split to head to our respective camps. The Fusion team and I were on a 3-hour bus ride to the coast of Latvia, to the port town of Ventspils. We met Laimis, a Latvian pastor in Ventspils who has been faithfully serving in his community for years. Ventspils is beautiful; it feels a bit like a beach town, and is clearly doing well economically. Laimis took us to the Baltic Sea, where we found a giant rope swing. No, not the kind of rope swing you're thinking of. It's hard to explain. I'll post a picture later.

After stepping in the Baltic, we walked further through the town to a large man-made hill. The mayor of Ventspils had this thing commissioned. It's just a giant hill with random amusements attached to it, like BMX biking, an inner-tube run, and this enormous rolling ball thing. I'll post a picture of that too; it was crazy fun, and plenty of people on our team went.

It was a welcome afternoon of fun after a long few days of travel. The next day, we packed up again and drove to our camp location, a large youth hostel in the Latvian countryside. This place is also beautiful, like an enormous countryside manor. The facilities were far better than anyone expected, and we are having tons of fun exploring (though there are a vast number of insects here, including giant wasps and ticks).

After all the prep and planning, we met the Latvian youth as they arrived at camp yesterday. While we had been repeatedly told that the Latvians would be initially reserved and aloof, they have immediately been warm and amicable. Both the American and Latvian teens are having a lot of fun together, and there is plenty of laughter and memory-making. Our first session together went fantastic. Nate and Aaron led a great game of popping balloons, which left a balloon graveyard in the middle of the sports hall (yeah, this place has a gym too). Ben and Dylan led us in worship, teaching the Latvians the wonderfully ridiculous motions to the "Lions" song. Finally, Whitney preached her first sermon as the camp speaker. She was phenomenal, especially with some of the complications that occurred (no music stand or microphone for her talk).

Today so far, we've had a morning session, led music workshops, had our first choir practice, and did team rec. We've got only an hour of free time before our second workshop of the day, and I've gotta go move a drumset before we practice. The teens will learn twelve different songs for our Fusion concert at the end of the week, so we've gotta get working! Keep praying for us, our team is healthy and having a blast! And pray for the English camp too! I haven't heard much of an update from them, aside from the fact that they arrived and camp has begun.

Facial Hair Update: It's getting dirty looking. See below:

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