It was the second semester of my first year at the Bible School in Martin, when my English teacher, an American pastor named Scott Geister-Jones, came to me and my friend Jan Hrobon with a question. “Hey guys, how would you like to spend this summer (2012) in America? My church will pay for your airline tickets and everything else you’ll need.” We were, like, “Uh, that sounds like an American dream! Yes, of course we’ll come!” So our adventure began.
First time in US
We arrived in the United States, stayed a couple days at the pastor’s house with his family, and then went to Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Wisconsin. At that time I truly had no idea what I would do at a camp. I imagined it would be something like picking up rubbish from the grounds all summer. When we arrived at the camp, the first thing that happened when I stepped out of the car was the Sun slapping my face at about 104 F. I was like “Ergh—really?” Then I asked Scott when exactly he was coming to pick us up on Friday. His answer slapped my face a second time. “I’m not coming on Friday. You’re going to be here for three months!” I gave Jan a really confused look and he did the same to me. Was this a joke? If it was, it wasn’t a very funny joke!
In the US without Wi-Fi?!?
It took a couple minutes before everything sunk in. I looked around me… I was in the middle of a forest. I would be here all summer long with no Wi-Fi and no cell phone service! Scott soon left the camp—with a huge smile on his face. I don’t think he realized just how upset we were. Suddenly, a stranger was walking toward us. He was talking to us with an accent I had never heard. I only understood about every third word. Was this English? I wasn’t so sure.
By the second day of staff training, I was so homesick I couldn’t stand it. It was the first time I had been so far from home and I was without Wi-Fi, GSM (cell service), my friends, and NORMAL food! Everyone noticed I was having a really hard time. I wanted to go home. But I was also thinking, if I go home, I’ll be a total loser, it’ll make my Bible School look bad… and did I mention, that I would be a loser?! It was a battle, but we stayed because Jan and I were ambassadors from our Bible School to Sugar Creek Bible Camp in Wisconsin, USA.
My view changes
There was one moment—one really strong moment—it almost seemed like a movie, but it was real. I was standing near a fire pit, where a couple of the counselors were trying to cook lunch outside. One of them kicked my backpack. He looked at me and said “sorry.” During those first two weeks I had been uncomfortable with the others and he knew that. I noticed that something had dropped out of my bag. It was my Bible and it had fallen open. So I picked up my Bible and guess what I saw? Psalm 30, verses 11-12: “You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will give you thanks forever.” I read those verses about twenty times, over and over. And everything changed.
God’s Word becomes my daily bread
That was my best summer ever. I made many new friends, my English skills improved so much, the Christian community was absolutely amazing, and my faith became stronger. Living with God and having his Word be my daily bread—so many experiences, so many… I cannot describe that summer in words, because it was so much more extraordinary than you can imagine! One week, Jan and I were counselors with two Americans. The week’s theme was supposed to be Christmas in July. Jan and I… we changed it a little bit. That week becamse Slovak Christmas in July, and I’m pretty sure that everyone who was there will remember that week for the rest of their lives! At the end of the summer, we did not want to leave.
Again?… So I did!
When we returned to Slovakia, Scott sent me an email and asked if I would consider coming back the next summer, because the camp leadership was impressed with our work at SCBC. So I did and it was another awesome summer (2013) and I left a piece of my heart there. By the way, our Bible school and SCBC have formed a connection. This was an idea that Jan and I came up with. We thought it would be pretty cool if our school could send other students there, as well. The idea became reality. I would highly recommend to our students to take a chance and go work there! It will totally change your life. Trust me, this did not happen only to me. This might be your life opportunity to find who you really are. I am so thankful to God, and to Scott! That moment, when he asked if I’d like to spend my summer 8500 km away from home, in the middle of nowhere, saved my life. Thanks be to God!