Friday, July 27, 2012

New Life

In one of our classes yesterday a young woman was playing a language learning game with the other students in her class.  When her turn came, she drew a card that asked her to respond to this question: "If you could meet anyone you wished, who would it be, and why would you want to meet him?"  She responded that she would like to meet God in the same way as the people whose testimonies she had heard in the evening program.

Later in the day, one of her teachers met with her and prayed with her as she entered the Kingdom.  We are celebrating with great joy!  Join us in thanking our God for his mercy.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I Want to Believe

Yesterday in one of the children's classes, the teacher read the Bible story from Luke 5 about Jesus calling Peter and his fellow fishermen.  Several times during the story, the teacher emphasized that Peter wanted to help Jesus.  At the end of the story, she asked the children if they wanted to help Jesus and what they could do.  The children gave good answers, but one was striking.  In a clear little voice one of them said, "I want to believe."
We often focus most of our attention and preparation on the adults who attend our English camps.  Thankfully, those who teach the children come well prepared, hoping for faith to spring up among these little ones.  Praise God for the opening of this heart.  May this be the first among many.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

New Day, Ancient Joy

We are in the third day of English Camp and we are enjoying the old friends and new class schedule very much.  The theme for this year's camp has been relationships.  On Sunday, we heard a sermon about the age-old call of God to join him in his joy.  We have discussed how sin ruins relationships of all kinds.  We are trying to help our students understand how to apply the gospel to the brokenness of their relationships and their hearts.  It's a huge task to teach someone else to do something that you struggle to do personally.

One of the great temptations in my life is to pretend that I have it all together, because I am a Christian.  I think most people can see through that pretty quickly - because the truth is that I DON'T have it together.  Although it's humbling to admit that I still struggle with sin - repeating the same sins, failing regularly - it connects me more closely to those who struggle in the same way, but without the joy of knowing Christ.

Please pray with us that we will make those new connections, that others may yearn for a personal connection with God, and that they may find the joy we have found.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's Off to Camp We Go....

It's that time of year again - a long list of "to dos", friends arriving from the US, last minute scrambling to pack and haul equipment, supplies, teaching materials, and a thousand other things to Bystřice pod Hostýnem for English Camp.  Our American team has already begun to arrive as we write this blog.  Our excellent Czech team has been preparing for months, creating a new songbook, planning for times of prayer and worship with our American teammates, and praying diligently for the Lord to be present in the camp each moment of each day.

Would you please join us in praying for the students who will come?  Many of them need to hear and respond to the good news.  Would you please pray for the presence of the Lord to be tangible in the camp?

Camp week is almost always a growing, stretching time, especially for those who serve there.  We look forward to what God will do in the coming week.  Might this be the time we have longed for when many hear and believe?  May it be so, Lord.  May it be so.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Alternate Holidays

Jan Hus
In the Czech Republic there is no such holiday as July 4th.  To them it's just another day. However, July 5th and 6th are another story.  July 5th is Cyril and Methodius day.  July 6th is the day Jan Hus was burned at the stake in 1415.  Both days are national holidays and most businesses and all government offices are closed.

Cyril and Methodius were Greek missionaries sent to the Slavic people in 862 at the request of Prince Rastislav of Great Moravia. (Say what you will, but Rastislav is a cool name.)  These brothers translated the Bible into Old Slavonic using a new alphabet - perhaps their own invention - and standardizing the spoken Slavic language of the time as they worked.  Methodius got into trouble with the ecclesiastical authorities of the day for wanting to offer worship in the language of the people.  It is likely that Methodius was influential in the conversion of several Bohemian nobles, including the grandfather of Václav I (aka Good King Wenceslaus).  Most of you are probably familiar with Jan Hus (John Huss) who raised many of the same objections to Roman Catholic practices that Luther did; but Hus was 100 years ahead of Luther.  Hus' final words were recorded as, "In 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” In 1517, Luther nailed his theses to the church door in Wittenberg.

Why, with such a rich history as this, are the Czechs some of the most atheistic people in the world today?  Why does a nation of unbelievers celebrate the lives of these Christians with a pair of back to back national holidays?  Or maybe, like lots of Americans, they are just happy to have a couple of days off work, whatever they are called.  I am both inspired by the richness of the Christian history of my new country and saddened by the national indifference toward it.