Transnistrian English Summer Camp

I never imagined myself as a camp counselor. I always wrote myself off, thinking I wasn’t cool enough for that type of job description.

But during the last 2 weeks, I got the chance to step up to the plate! 🙂 We were asked to throw together a summer English camp for 50 Russian students over a weekend, and during that time I felt the Lord calling me to volunteer as camp counselor. Normally I would volunteer to be the English teacher, since that’s more “up my alley.” However, I felt the tug in my heart and knew I needed to be stretched…that the Lord wanted to do some work in me. And work, He did.

The first week of camp, I was paired with Morgan and Ashley as counselors to 10 rambunctious, adorable, crazy girls ages 6-9. They were our Disney Princesses. They were divas. They were sweethearts. They had cell phones. They were hilarious, high octane, horrible, adorable, and kept us on our toes day and night. Every day we woke up to hugs and candy and 10 outfit changes, and every night put them to bed only by multiple back scratches, head rubs, hugs and endless “sshhhhs.”


From jesseischens.theworldrace.orgFrom

The second week, I was paired with Claire and Jacquie as counselors to 9 crazy, stubborn, very energized boys ages 11-14. They were our “MARVEL” guys. We were lucky to have Miko and Bogdan as our translators…they bridged the gap to some awesome conversations that we never would have been able to have with the boys otherwise. There were some hard lessons learned this week. It was not as fun as the first week, simply because the Lord had different plans for our boys to learn character and respect.




Each week had its ups and downs and terrible and wonderful times. The first week we had to work through some things in order to mesh and become a good team with our Russian counterparts. It was amazing to see the Lord move. We built some incredible relationships and man, was it hard to leave.

I wish I had more time to spend getting to know each of the wonderful people we came in contact with. I don’t even know how to explain it, except that I pray I get to see them again in my lifetime. I can’t wait to see what the Lord does in each of their lives and hearts. He has His hand on their church, it is so filled by the Holy Spirit and I believe is going to be a big part in bringing Transnistria and Moldova to know Jesus in a real and authentic way.

I really loved my time in Transnistria. I’m glossing over so much, simply because I don’t have time to jot down all the details. I think after the Race is done, I’ll write more blogs about what I did, what I learned, and how I changed because of it.

Every time we leave a country, I have to choose let go and let God continue to plant/water/harvest the seeds. God doesn’t need us, yet He chooses to use us.

I know that I’ll never know the impact that these past 2 weeks had on each of the precious children I had the chance to get to know, but what I do know is that each of them got the chance to know Jesus better than they did before. Some were introduced to Him for the first time, and one of our boys said he went from being 50/50 with Jesus, to 75% :). In a week, that’s pretty amazing.

My prayer is simply this: That wherever each of my kids goes in their lifetime, that Jesus encounters each of them in exactly the way that they need Him to, in order for Him to meet them where they’re at, radically change their lives for Him, and that they would become lights for Him in the dark country they call home. The light is beginning to shine brighter and brighter in Transnistria, and the Lord is faithful to complete the work that He has started!

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)