CZR 2019 Update # 4 – Hike Day, Gospel Night and the Fourth of July
Our English Camp, partnering with Archa Church in Pardubice, continues to be a huge success. The excitement level is high and we are very encouraged by everything we see happening. Archa’s new Youth Pastor, Honza Macek, is doing a fantastic job leading his team and negotiating with the staff at Chata Juraska. By the way, the weather has taken a dramatic turn and our highs are in the 60’s and as we went to bed last night we were approach a low in the mid 40s. The cooler weather and blue skies were a perfect setting for Hike Day along the Polish Border.
As I have mentioned before, our theme this week has been “Home” and the evening talks have been from Luke 15 about the Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, and Lost Sons. Last night was what we like to call “gospel night”. We have laid a foundation that God loves us and is seeking for us like a good shepherd, good woman, and good father but our sin separates us from Him. Whether you are the younger rebellious son or the older rule keeping son of the story, you are outside of God’s Home until the Good Father finds you and you receive His gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ. Last night I shared the “Bridge Illustration” of the Gospel with the Father on one side of a chasm and two sons, one rebellious and one rule keeping, on the other. We shared clearly how Jesus, through his perfect life, substitutionary death, and victorious resurrection, is the “bridge” that brings us back “home” to God. Our response is simply to turn from our own rebellious or rule keeping ways and receive the gift of God’s salvation through faith in Christ.
We appreciate you praying for us and would ask that you keep praying. This morning in our morning devotions we shared many stories of how students are taking steps closer to God. Some of them are naturally taking these steps and some are really struggling with it all. We will reiterate the gospel clearly again tonight and have an evening Cajovna (chai-ovna = Tea Room) where the entire night is dedicated to having conversations with the students and answering their questions about God, the Bible, Jesus, and salvation. This is why we came, so continue to pray for us.
On a lighter side, today is the fourth of July and we started the morning singing the National Anthem. Our entire team and many Czechs are decked out in the Red, White, and Blue (Interestingly these are also the colors on the Czech Flag). We are happy to be Americans but more importantly we rejoice that we are members of God’s family and we want to represent him well. Please keep us in your prayers.
CZR 2019 Update # 5 – Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you;
and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem,
and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.
This verse has become very familiar to us over the past number of months and we are privileged to be able to be part of the application of this verse for Fellowship over the past few weeks. As our camp in nearing an end and we anticipate our stay in Pardubice for follow-up and Church Services on Sunday, the magnitude of our work here is very real to us. We have build some very special relationships while at camp and presented the gospel with both our lives and the evening talks and discussions groups. The Czech People tend to be very slow and deliberate processors and we have seen that this week. We are praying that the small steps we see here at camp will continue throughout the year as students plug into the Youth Group in Pardubice.
One of the themes I am hearing consistently this year is that for many students it is easy to think about God and Christianity and “feel” drawn toward God while at camp but as soon as they return to the “real world” they literally have no positive Christian influences in their life, not parents, friends or teachers. All of their influences have a negative opinion of what it means to be a Christian. Please be prayerful that the students will connect with the Youth Group and that Youth Group Leaders will reach out to stay connected to the students who came to camp. That connection is essential for the students to continue to take steps closer to God.
Pray as well for our stay in Pardubice and Church Services at Archa. I will be preaching on Sunday and hope to be both an encouragement to the church as well as taking one last opportunity to make the gospel clear to any of the campers who join us at church for follow up. They often come for one last chance to spend time with the American Team.
After church we will head to Prague for a free day sight-seeing in an amazing city with a wonderful history and stunning architecture. Our team has been fantastic and I have be amazed at their energy and ability to stay on task. Pray that we finish strong.