Dear Friends, Family and Former Team Members,
“Thanks again for an amazing summer. While there was so much difficulty from many directions, I believe that this has been, hands down, the most spiritually impacting camp season we’ve had to date. TMI played such a huge role in that.” -Greg (missionary we
worked with this summer)
Once again, we are at a loss for adequate words to describe our ministry this summer in China! When you have experienced an amazing summer (like we have for so many years), you prepare yourself for the possibility of a “bummer summer”. Truthfully, you never know— whether or not the leadership will “click”, what the kids will be like, how the project will go, etc. And you pray—a lot! You pray for the team members, the leadership, the missionaries, the project, the weather and anything else involved in making your summer work. The team grabbed a BIG piece of our hearts this summer and that hole is still gaping…
We were blessed “beyond measure” with the 24 team members (12 guys and 12 girls) and the other two leaders. Caroline, our other lady leader, had been a team member on our Camnesia team in 2008 and she was only 14 at that time. We told her that when she was old enough, we wanted her to lead with us. She turned 18 and took us up on our offer! We are so thankful! She has such a sweet spirit and a servant’s heart and practiced those qualities 24/7 this summer. Chris, our other guy leader, is a student at the Teen Missions Bible School. He has lived overseas as a Missionary Kid for many years and had lived in China for about a year when he was younger. He also has a servant’s heart and was pretty handy with carpentry. We all worked well together and that is such a blessing when you are dealing with 24 kids!
Our team was composed of kids attending Christian schools, public schools, home schools and even college. We saw spiritual growth in each and every team member and that is what it is all about. They were “fluid and flexible”, which was necessary with our projects, and they knew how to have fun together!
Projects included doing renovations at the “Joy In The Journey” English camp. These included building picnic tables, landscaping, patching roofs, moving beds, cutting grass by hand with a sickle and building a climbing wall. Since we were at the camp two years ago, the camp has acquired the adjoining property (formerly a cheese
factory), which was a blessing with the many activities of camp. With the acquisition of the new buildings came a new and large kitchen, which I had the privilege of using!
Along with the physical work, the team was involved in the running of two English camps and were either counselors or teachers. We expected over 40 campers in the first camp, but due to an accident at another camp in China, the numbers dwindled down to 13, with eight of them being orphans. This didn’t take the Lord by surprise and provided the opportunity for our team to spend more time with the orphans. Even though the campers were not as disciplined as the next camp, everyone thoroughly enjoyed ministering to these precious kids.
The second camp brought over 50 teens from Tiyuan City (about an hour away). Some of these kids had a much better grasp of the English language, so we had the opportunity to get to know these campers on a more personal level. As in the first camp, many friendships were formed and are being maintained via Facebook and email.
In addition to developing relationships with the campers, the team also enjoyed getting to know other counselors and teachers that volunteered for the camp. The time in between camps provided the opportunity to get to know these young adults.
Our missionaries were Greg and Nina, who we had worked with two years ago. Greg has been on a year-long deputation and flew to China for six weeks to
help run the camps. Nina is a precious Chinese young lady who was not only our missionary, but also our tour guide. The thing that amazes me about both Greg and Nina is their servants’ hearts. They truly know what it means to be leaders, in that they truly know how to serve. They made a point of getting to know every team member individually and investing in their lives. What a blessing!
Colton and BJ were with us in China. Colton was a team member and BJ was a “family member” for the last time. Colton was “stretched” out of his comfort zone, in that he was involved in the teaching aspect of camp. BJ was the “official driver” of the three-wheeler and was instrumental in getting water jugs from building to building, carting trash to the dump, moving equipment when needed, etc.
Even though we were not allowed to openly evangelize in China, MANY seeds were planted. The campers watched our team do their daily devotions, heard them sing Christian songs, saw their participation in Bible studies and, because of that, they started asking questions.
They started looking over the shoulders of the team members as they were reading the Word of God. They saw the difference and many wanted to know more about that difference. Thank you for your prayers!!!!
Danae had an amazing summer in Tanzania. She worked on the construction of the Teen Missions Bible School there and was mainly involved in mixing concrete by hand and pouring the floors. They did spend a week and half backpacking on the lower part of Mt. Kilimanjaro and doing evangelistic presentations in schools and showing the “Jesus Film” in the evenings. She was also stretched physically and spiritually. This was a “tough” team—tents, having to walk two miles round trip every morning to fill a five-gallon bucket with water, bathing and doing laundry using a bucket, no electricity, etc.
The kids are all back in school. Colton is a sophomore. He got his Learner’s Permit right before Boot Camp and is actually really good at driving. Now, if he can just keep his grades up so he can drive…Danae is now in high school—9th grade. She is enjoying it. She is playing soccer again and seems to enjoy it. BJ is in Middle School, can you believe it??? His wardrobe is the main thing that has changed—middle schoolers have to dress a certain way and you cannot wear what you wore in grade school! Lindsay is attending the local community college. Please pray that they will be “lights” in their schools and that they will continue growing spiritually.
We are now back at work. We are trying to get all the paperwork from this past summer filed away and get ready to register the team members/leaders for 2013. We already have over 120 registrations for 2013!!!! Colton, Danae and BJ are all planning on going again next summer. Colton and Danae aren’t sure where the Lord is leading them. BJ is planning on going on the Preteen Bethlehem team. Please pray that they will go where the Lord is leading them and not necessarily where their friends are going.
We want to thank those of you who pray for us so faithfully and those who give so sacrificially! Many of you prayed for and contributed to our three kids going on mission trips this summer. Many of you pray and give month after month for our ministry with Teen Missions. YOU are making a difference, because of your prayers and giving. Many people accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior this summer through the ministry of the teams. Countless team members and leaders’ lives were changed, because of what the Lord did in their hearts and lives during their ministries this summer. YOU were a part of every single decision made for the Lord this summer and for all the growth experienced by those participating. THANK YOU!!!!
Paul, Beth, Lindsay, Colton, Danae and BJ Kostner
P.S. CHINA CAMP — We miss you guys!!!! The holes in our hearts don’t seem to be getting any smaller. We pray that you are continuing in your devotions and walking as Christ wants you to walk. We love you guys and are praying for you! “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives, ..And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:16-17