The school summer holidays in Kosova are for about three months so day or week camps and outings are really important for the kids and their families. Many parents can’t afford a holiday so are grateful when their kids have the opportunity to do something fun.
Twice over the summer we ran day camps at the church with worship and teaching and then took the children to the local swimming pool for the afternoon. Inspired by the Olympic Games, Ilir did a teaching on the importance of training and discipline as Paul talks about in his first letter to the Corinthians:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Kosova won its first ever Olympic medal this year, a Gold for Judo and Majlinda Kelmendi has become a national treasure. She is an inspiration for many young people in Kosova and embodies what Paul writes: the importance of training and working towards a goal. In talking to the children in the church we encouraged them to have this attitude to their relationship with Christ so that they are focussed and determined and their eyes are set on the crown that will last forever and as in Proverbs 24 not to delight in the struggles or failures of others.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from them.