Building Relationships

What Summer camp was made for

We got to attend Church Summer Camp in Denmark, specifically for Farsi-speakers (mainly immigrants from Iran and Afghanistan) of all ages.  About 200 people were there, and it was amazing.  I’ve got a great video to share tomorrow, but right now – pictures!

Many of the Farsi speakers (from Iran or Afghanistan) knew each other before conference.  Either they have been to conference together last summer, they attend one of the churches or mission center which were sponsoring the conference, or they are in the same refugee camp or detention center.  But a lot of them didn’t know anyone when they came, and they must have been just as scared as I was – what will we do there?  Will I meet anyone friendly?  Does anyone there speak my language?  Where are we sleeping?  What are we eating? By the end of conference, though, we were a big family.

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The conference was in this great facility that includes a grade school, a mission center, and a boarding high school – all Lutheran.  We stayed in dorm rooms, and ate in a cafeteria.

The conference was intentionally multi-lingual.  There’s 3 nationalities in the praise band (Persian, Danish, and South Korean), and we sang most songs in English and Farsi.  There were translation headsets for English and Danish speakers to use, so that the primary sermon could be in Farsi, to accommodate guests.  Song lyrics were often shown in Farsi, English and Farsi with European letters, and we would sing each verse multiple times in each language.

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Most Danish Lutheran churches do all their worship in Danish, with maybe one or two English praise songs during communion.  A few have headset translation for immigrants, too.  At this camp, we got to sing, pray, listen, and read the Bible in multiple languages.  The adults were so excited to do that. Many of them left their countries in order to worship Christ freely, so they wanted to praise as loud as possible!

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Meals were served cafeteria – style.  Breakfast was Danish (yogurt, bread and butter, oatmeal/cereal, coffee and tea).  Lunch and Dinner were a combination of Danish and Iranian foods – sometimes Iranian with a Danish twist. Evening dessert was danish cookies or cake, but with Persian tea.  We ate liver-pate and hummus, lettuce salad and tabouli, rice and potatoes, carrot cake and tzatiki.  David & I loved it!

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Dave & I even made a few new friends.  🙂  We were just as much out of place as the Persian immigrants, really, as we didn’t speak the local language, and didn’t know the local customs or any of the people.  But the Danish leaders of the conference welcomed us immediately, spoke to us in English, and tried very much to show us their gifts of hospitality.  Julie (coloring with me above) volunteered to translate for me much of the time when it wasn’t practical for a headset, because we were about the only people there who spoke neither Danish nor Farsi.  She did a great job, but also became a great friend.  Benny & Susanna and Thomas, a family from her church, and Pastor Klaus, her priest, also were incredibly nice, and willing to answer a lot of intrusive American Questions!

 

 

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