Jennifer in Macedonia
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View from our hotel in Berovo
In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.
I love nature. God just seems to speak to me in a special way when I am out in nature. Maybe you are the same? This past month, I had the privilege of helping with the teenager camp for all our churches in North Macedonia. The camp was held at a hotel tucked away in the beautiful Maleševo mountains just outside the village of Berovo. This area of North Macedonia has the honor of boasting the highest concentration of oxygen in the entire Balkan peninsula! The camp was a wonderful three days of services, games, morning devotions, workshops, shared meals, hiking, and relationship building.
The theme for the camp was “Користи го Божјиот дар во тебе” or “Use your God given gifts.”Dejan Vasilev spoke the first evening about how our life is a journey and we should choose carefully with whom we travel. He pointed out that many Bible stories are about people who went on a journey with God and He gave them the gifts they needed to reach their destination. He concluded that traveling with Jesus is never boring and God alone can provide us with the love, guidance, and other gifts we need to complete our journey.
The staff and campers
Every morning we nurtured our bodies and souls by doing calisthenics and morning devotions together.
God’s Gifts Through Relationships
For the camp, I offered a workshop on the gifts God wants to give us through relationships. First, we made paper doll chains with eight figures to represent eight major relationships in life. The first figure represented our relationship with our self, so we drew our likeness on it. Then we looked up verses to discover some of the blessings of having a healthy, godly, relationship with ourselves. We wrote the blessings on the doll and we also talked about what can happen if we don’t have agodly relationship with ourselves.
We proceeded in a similar fashion through each of the figures looking up verses about relationships with our parents, friends, church family, pastors/counselors, boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse, and children. We wrote the blessings and discussed what could happen if these relationships were unhealthy or ungodly.
The workshop was well received and led to some fascinating conversations about low self-esteem, toxic friends, who to go to for guidance, when is the time to pursue a boyfriend or girlfriend and more.
They next day, Gligor expounded on the story of Joseph and how his journey only made sense in retrospect. He touched on the fact that Joseph named his firstborn Manasseh because God had made him forget all his troubles. It really made me reflect on how God does not promise us a journey without troubles, but the gifts He gives can make us forget about them!
Enjoying lunch with the teens
The final day, Danail asked us what goals we have for our lives. What are we chasing after? He said there are many things we can chase after such as a career, a romantic relationship, or fame. But he encouraged us to chase after God and things that will last forever. He challenged us to be disciplined like an athlete and not be scared about what others will think or say about us. He said the more we know who we are and who loves us, the lessothers’ words will affect us and the more we can follow and represent God.
I had a wonderful time at the camp, especially since my increased language skills allowed me to connect on a deeper level with many of the teens. My goal is to keep on learning the language so I can keep investing in this beautiful place God has planted me!