Back to Normal (Almost)
At the Biblical Institute, we are happy that things are getting (almost) back to normal. The COVID-19 shutdown and a major earthquake hit Zagreb back in mid-March, and we moved all our operations online in the aftermath. Now, more than ten weeks later, we have reopened our offices and operations are scaling back up.
Not everything is as it was before, of course. We are following guidelines for the number of people in close proximity, and following new cleaning protocols. Several of our people continue to work from home. Our main library continues to be open by appointment only. And our reference library is closed until further notice while repairs to earthquake damage are done.
We continue to offer online classes and fresh content every day, as we have since the shutdown began. All these things are available through our Facebook page. And we are planning for launching new face-to-face teachings and classes in October, when the world settles into the “new normal.”
CHAMPS CAMP: One of our ministries that has been affected by the COVID-19 shutdown is Champs Camp, our annual outreach to children and families. Every summer for the past nine years, as many as 150 young people have gathered at multiple locations in Zagreb for sports, fun activities, and teaching and mentoring from Christian sponsors from Croatia and the USA.
This year would have been the 10th birthday of Champs Camp. But because of COVID-19, there won’t be a traditional Champs Camp this year. The 10th anniversary celebration has been postponed until next year.
Instead of the traditional gatherings, Steve Taliaferro (the Director of Champs Camp) has announced alternative programming for this summer. “The programming will have three components. First, during the week we would normally have Champs Camp (29 June – 02 July), we will offer daily online workshops for children.” He plans to involve teen volunteers from Croatia and the USA in these online interactions.
Second, Champs Camp will offer a “big brother/big sister” mentoring program this summer and fall, using Croatian teen volunteers and the children whose parents sign them up for this program. “Croatian teens will be taught how to mentor, befriend, and encourage school-age children.” And third, “If the situation allows, in July and August we will offer some weekly fun outings just for the teen volunteers. These will be small group events, and only held if the government allows and if they can be safe for everyone.”
Things are not quite back to normal, as you can see. But God is faithful. And if we have eyes to see, he is always providing opportunities for us to serve and to invest in the lives of the people around us, in Croatia or the USA or wherever we serve.