Today is the third day of training camp for CYIA (Christian Youth in Action), a division of CEF. Thankfully our time here so far has not matched the nasty, rainy weather. We’re on the campus of Columbia International University, and groups from all over South Carolina are here: Spartanburg, Greenville, Columbia, Orangeburg and Myrtle Beach.
As soon as we arrived early Saturday afternoon and got our stuff in our rooms, classes started immediately. There are three “tracks” of classes for summer missionaries: Evangelistic (1st year), TCE (Teaching Children Effectively – 2nd year), and Leadership (3+ years). The evangelistic classes teach everything from how to teach a memory verse and a Bible lesson to maintaining control of a group of kids. TCE students learn how to create their own CEF-style lessons from any Bible passage they choose. Leadership classes focus on how to lead and mentor the less-experienced summer missionaries.
Our schedules are packed with several classes a day, chapel, family group meetings to discuss what we’re learning, study time, worship, and other fun activities. I literally feel like I’m back at college for another week during the summer, it’s so busy. As far as spiritual growth is concerned, we’re focusing on the condition of our hearts all week. We have 24 summer missionaries in our Spartanburg group this year, and we’re all getting along fantastically and getting to know each other better, which makes me super excited about the rest of the summer.
Another special part of our week is continuing a Mside Youth tradition: passing the Tuareg Cross. At the first Space Invaders of the summer, Nathan announced that he had decided that the cross should go to CEF camp this summer instead of being passed around at VBS like it usually is. So, on Saturday night when we had our first group meeting, I told the background story of the cross and passed it to Ryan, a 5th year summer missionary who’s a great leader and who, although he’s been going through some rough stuff at home, continues to have a very positive and encouraging attitude toward everyone. Last night, the cross went to Makayla, a 1st year summer missionary who made the statement our first night here that she was bad at making friends. Ryan gave her the cross to show her that, despite her past luck with making friends, she now has 23 new friends.
Well, that’s all I have for now. We’d appreciate prayers for the rest of the week as the leadership students lead demonstration clubs with real kids who will have the opportunity to accept Christ. You can also pray for all the students who have practicums where they have to present their memory verse and Bible lesson teaching to leadership students for evaluation – as you can probably imagine it can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. Thanks a bunch!In Christ, Brittany Eberhart