Houten's DISCOVERY CLUB become Bridgebuilders.
Twenty-seven youth and youth leaders from the Lichtenboog church in the Dutch town of Houten were on tour for two weeks in North Bohemia and Saxony, visiting Mittweida (D), Prague, Liberec and Zatec. The name of their youth group is Discovery Club. Their mission was to serve local communicaties and build bridges. In February they started their cross-cultural learning at the Atlantic Bridge centre in Kruiningen, using the Bricks. From there on Yvette Boertje, our BRICKS specialist, met with the group in Houten to finish the training.
On July 4 they left Houten on their two week mission visiting Mittweida (town in east Germany), Prague, Liberec and Zatec. On the way home they stopped at the Camp Knul near Kassel to take part in a German-American English camp for one evening!
Ilse van Veldhuizen, one of the host leaders in Mittweida, wrote:
At the final youth event at a main church in town, one they do not often work together with, lots of people showed up and the Dutch youth created a great atmosphere. Everyone participated. How unusual for us to experience this here. So now there is a first step made for cooperating in the youth work between churches.
The Dutch participated in a social day, a day where the students of the Secondary high school (Gymnazium) help people in town with various service projects. Some of the Dutch were given a project that would take two days to do, but they finished it in one day and did another project the second day. The newspaper in town made mention of it and of the positive influence of the helping hands from Holland.
Bridges were built with local youth through a soccer game, but the bad weather stopped the contact. So Ilse and Gerard and their little church are very happy for the help and encouragement the Dutch gave. Now we hope to start a Bridgebuilders Club in Mittweida in the fall.
In Liberec the group led a special youth service at the local baptist church which was greatly appreciated. They also did a project to help fix the garden of the church, something the church had been dreading to accomplish. After a lot of hard work duyring the three days in Liberec, the team left with a good feeling of accomplishement for a grateful church.
The final days in ZATEC
The setting:The group also spent the last 4 days of their mission in Zatec. Six hundred years ago Zatec was one of the main towns of Reformer Jan Hus whose name is found everywhere in the land. Then the Bible was very important in the town. Today Zatec is best know for its beer. After Pilzen it could be considered the main beer town of the Czechs.
The meaning Regional Coordinator Lenka Fritschova hoped that the Dutch would be an inspiration for her students at the Obchodni (business) high school. The Dutch students did not stay in homes, but were together at the school. Milada Fohlerova came from Jicin to help with the cooking for the group.
The action: Students from the Obchodni high school met the Dutch when they arrived and some of them stayed involved for the whole time. They had a great time together. On Friday they visited an orphanage and did a variety of activities, working with children, etc. On Saturday they had a special meeting in the garden of a church and people from town and the church were invivted. Some good friendship bridges were built between the Dutch ande the Czech youth.
The Mayor wants to hear more music!
When they were welcomed at the Zatec City Hall, they sang a song. Later in the day, the Mayor of Zatec called to ask if they would sing again at a
special event at the garden of the monastary. They were happy to do that! At this event they expected only a few people, but when the children of the orphanage heard about it, they all came, as well as some of the students from the high school, so they had 100 people sitting in only 10 chairs! Well.....maybe not.
The result: Were there any new bridges built or old bridges repaired?
1. Bridge to churches in Zatec. Before this week, there was not so much contact between the churches and Atlantic Bridge. This changed during the week. People from the churches helped to make all the arrangements. On Sunday they ended their time in Zatec at a service in the Czech Evangelical Brethren church, and the other churches also joined. Still there were only 30 people, but for Zatec this was a great number and a great experience for all. 2) Some of the students also came to the church on Sunday and we hope it was a good experience for them. With the coming of two American English teachers to the region, perhaps this week was also a good start for a new Bridgebuilders Club in Zatec.