Last night was an amazing evidence of the work of God. We have been using the slow unfolding of the story of the prodigal son (Luke 16:11-32) to show the false path of freedom and rules and finally demonstrate the love of God who welcomes us home when we make the decision to come to Him. The slow unfolding of the story is intentional. It allows us to establish relationships with Czech students that are authentic and not manipulative. It also allows the Czechs, who are a very contemplative people, to let the message sink in throughout the week.
During the talk last night I concluded the story of the Prodigal son with the son’s return to his father and the father’s welcoming embrace. This gave me the opportunity to move directly and clearly into the invitation for them to make a decision to return to the Father. I very clearly laid out that God created us for relationship with Him but that we chose our own way to find the “good life.” That way may be the typical choices of Czech (and American) teenagers of drinking, sex, drugs, and rebellion or it may be a choice of being the good kid and following the rules. Neither of these lead us to God. Going our own way breaks our relationship with God but He loves us so much that He has made a way to allow us to be reconciled to Him. That way is through the death of Jesus Christ in our place as a payment for our wrongs. All we must do is accept what has already been done for us. This will change and reorient our lives. Our life will not be perfect but we will never walk through it alone.
At the conclusion of the story Miles Stransky gave his testimony of coming to Christ from a atheist family. He did a fantastic job. His story really connected with the Czech students. I followed Miles with a more straightforward presentation of the gospel from Romans 5:8 and Romans 3:21-22. We felt this gave them story, testimony and clear statements of the gospel. Then the four stations of the labyrinth brought the students back into the chiovna (tea room) where the conversations continued past midnight. I was so proud to see every one of our team involved in significant conversations about the gospel. Each and every one was “on mission” and sharing their own testimony as well as answering questions and checking on every student to see where they were in their journey to God.
We know that Daniel Mika clearly placed his trust in Christ last night (this is his second year at camp) and many many others moved much closer to embracing the good news. Iris told me and many others that she came to camp for the english but that she really wanted to leave her burdens behind and allow God to take them away. She said the week has had so much new for her that she needs to let in “sink in” before she can take any more steps. Pavla is clear on the gospel but she wants to hold on to some of her current lifestyle and knows she will have to give it up if she embraces Christ. It is a real battle for her. Shane really challenged her to consider if the things she is holding on to are worth the eternal price of separation from God. Two other girls, Tereza and Zuzka, have started coming to all of the prayer meetings. This is amazing since Zuzka came as a clear atheist. She now knows she has to seriously consider all we have shared and she is actively engaged in that process.
In general we felt the night was “very strong” (to use the Czech description) and that we have been used by God in a significant way. As we enter the last day of camp and get ready for follow up, begin to pray that we can finished strong and make a great transition of new students to the Czech Youth Group at Arka Church. We know that the time they will spend in that group will help them answer questions in their own context and culture and is the finishing of the work God has used us to begin. We are tired and excited and can see the finish line. Please keep us in your prayers.
For the Only Cause that Matters
Ken- for the Team