Last Sunday after church our team met with Brett Bartlett to learn a bit more about our trip and ask some questions. Brett serves as the president for HAF - and he's a really cool guy, we soon found out! Last year was the first year HAF hosted these camps. So, they learned a lot and are building upon those experiences, with just a few changes this year. Last year, the worship services weren't mandatory. This year they are, but we can't have a mass invitation. We can talk to kids individually if they choose to talk to us with a translator. Brett highly suggested breaking the ice with the Hungarian workers when we get there. The kids will warm up quickly, but the workers may have reservations about us. The Hungarian government and HAF have formed a very special, yet fragile relationship. If we do anything against their (gov.) will we could jeapordize everything. If there is a problem, we cannont discipline the kids in any way....we can't even say, "hey, don't do that," in passing. Someone at the meeting said that's going to be hard to adjust - just think of how many times we tell our kids, no, don't do that! in a day. We can't give the kids personal gifts - only to the orphanages as a whole. (The kids could actually get beat up if they take something back to the orphanage - heartbreaking, but true.) Brett told us that generally, the kids are warm hearted, helpful, and respectful. Watch out for the Gypsy/Roma pick pocketers, however. Sadly, many kids are forced to steal just to survive. The kids get $1.50 a day for food and everything else. Brett said the kids will be so happy just to eat the 3 meals a day that we'll get during camp. Based on last year's interactions, Brett said the kids may like crafts, makeup, temporary tattoos, 80's music / discos, glowsticks, soccer, ping-pong, the Rubix cube, even gambling, smoking, and drinking (drinking is not allowed this year). Brett said this isn't your typical church camp, but we will have opportunities to share with the kids. There will be some activities planned already, but our team can plan some crafts and games too. We will have to be flexible it sounds, but our team is there to help, most of all.
There may be 5 other people coming from another church in Ohio. A praise band from Boston College will join us too. One of the last notes I wrote down... the kids HATE being called "Orphans." .....Most of us grew up with a parent or two - we had a place to call home - we ate several meals a day - we had our own toys and clothes - someone was allowed to tell us about God. Humbling.... we pray we can be a light for them this week.