Monday, May 23, 2011

Visiting in Znojmo

If Znojmo (pronounced ZNO-yee-mo) were located anywhere in the United States, it would receive millions of visitors every year. Its gothic cathedral, town tower, and picturesque squares would be plastered on postcards, calendars, and tourist brochures. Situated in Southern Moravia, near the Austrian border, this little city does entertain thousands of visitors each year; Annette and I recently added to that number when we went to visit our friends Jarek and Ema Chudobovi. We have included some pictures of the town in this post. The main reason for our visit was that I had been invited by Jarek and the other elders in his church to preach one Sunday in April.

We really enjoyed our time with Jarek, Ema, and their little daughter Anežka. In many ways, their struggles and joys would be familiar to any young Christian family trying to live out their faith in a secular culture. One thing that makes Ema and Jarek a bit unusual is that they have several close relatives who are also Christians. Most evangelical Czech Christians we know are first generation Christians with few, if any, other Christians in their families. So, most evangelical Christians here have grown up without the benefit of the example of Christian parents, without the understanding of church life that comes from being raised in a church, and without the solid foundation in God’s word that comes from years of learning in Sunday school. As a result of these disadvantages, evangelical churches often struggle to deal with parenting issues and marriage problems.

So, it was no surprise when Jarek asked me to preach on some topic related to marriage. I was encouraged by the Spirit to speak from Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18. God was gracious and helped me deliver a simple message about how God’s forgiveness of us empowers us to forgive. After church, we enjoyed lunch with our hosts and another young couple from their church who work as shepherds.

Please continue to pray for Czech Christians, and especially for their pastors. They are fighting the same battles you are, but with a lot fewer resources.