Camp: Day 3 – I have a quest(ion) for you

This whole week feels a little like an “English boot camp” and today the emphasis was on “boot camp.” First thing in the morning we began a six hour “quest” which was a cross between a team building exercise, scavenger hunt, and an episode of Survivor. We army-crawled through sand, solved puzzles, planked, and did way too many burpees. The Ukrainian staff obviously put a lot of effort into designing the Quest and took great pleasure in subjecting the campers and Americans to their inventions.

We truged to 11 different challenge stations where we were given bags of sand. We then had to decide whether to exchange those bags for a special task or to carry them with us. We exchanged a few, but because the bags had letters from the English alphabet attached to them we assumed that we would need them later in the Quest. By the end, six hours later, the chest we were carrying the sand in became more than a little burdensome! However, keeping the bags proved to be a mistake because we were informed at the end that the bags of sand that we carried all over creation for six hours had no relation to the goal of the quest. At the discussion time our team leader told us that the sand is a sort of parable for all the things we gather and carry with us in life that have no purpose in the end. They are merely burdens.

Our team is growing into our role as English teachers and students are getting more comfortable in using their English in conversation.

There is quite the range among the campers. Some are university students while others are professionals such as doctors and programmers. At lunch one web programmer said he works on a website for “lazy students.” It allows you to hire people to write your essays and papers for you. He said that Americans, Australians, and English are the most frequent customers.

The spiritual discussions are starting to get a little more intense as everyone grows more comfortable with each other. Although the country is officially Orthodox, only a few were willing to say with any confidence whether or not there is a higher power. Pastor Max is slowly building a moral argument for a personal God–arguing that a materialistic evolutionary theory cannot account for the innate sense of right and wrong which transcends cultures. We all have an intuitive sense that murder is wrong, but from an evolutionary perspective it is difficult to say why it is wrong.

Prayer Requests:

  • For the students as they think about some of the questions raised during the spiritual discussions.
  • For Gretchen’s knee which continues to hurt and hinder her.