It was obvious that many people were praying for us last night. In the midst of my own personal low expectations, the chaos of sending the entire camp through a “labyrinth” which gave the students a chance to personally reflect on all of the talks this week, a fifteen minute delay because everything was not completely prepared, and a few key check leaders being sick, God showed up and we had one of the most powerful gospel nights at camp I have ever experienced. The talk was on Jesus’ “collision” with the two thieves on the cross – one accepted the truth about Jesus and one rejected it. This set up the challenge for each of the Czech’s to personally decide which thief they would be.
Here are a few testimonies we heard through the night:
Honza: Making his way through the labyrinth, Honza wrote out things about himself and drew a self-likeness on a balloon. Walking to one of the final stations, one of the Czech leaders spoke words of affirmation to him about who God had made him to be and how God loved him. Honza was moved by the interaction as he arrived at the final station…the choice. Each student had a rock and 5 options of where to put it. The range of choices spanned from “hostile to God” to “I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and am a Christian.” Honza made his selection and placed his rock in the last bucket. His choice…”I have decided to give God my life.” Another Czech leader who has reached out to him in the past got to be part of this life transformation. We praise the Lord of the Harvest for this new brother in Christ!
Lucka (Lutska): Lucie is a sweet Czech girl who sat down by one of the Americans after the labyrinth on Gospel night. With tears in her eyes she explained that after last year’s English Camp she felt like she believed in God and wanted to spend time with the youth group at Archa Church. However, she never prioritized the time and made the effort. As the discussion progressed, Lucie revealed she was not sure the Czech church would let her in since she was not baptized. You see Lucie does not come from a Christian home. Her parents are unable to explain what it means to follow Jesus or be in Christian fellowship. So Lucie never went. Here she sits, pouring out her heart having placed her rock in the can of “I believe Jesus died for my sins, but I am not ready to choose.” Lucie does not know where to begin, what it means, how one becomes a believer, what she needs to know or do if she does want to believe…. What a God-ordained appointment. Silva the main translator for the week came over and shared her testimony. We share that the choice is what she lacks… choose Christ, believe in the finished work of redemption. Lucie understands, but desires to talk to Martin the youth pastor from the church we are partnering with. That conversation should happen today… Please be praying that we have a new sister tonight? Let’s pray for more harvest!
Lucka: Another Lucie is in a different boat. She explained to Shane that there should have been another can for her rock. The can labeled “I don’t believe in God but would sure love to talk to someone about God and my questions”. This Lucie does not believe in God, but she is not hostile to the idea. She just does not have enough information. Who would talk to her about her doubts, questions & beliefs? Enter Melody, always looking for a gospel conversation; she steps in and joins Lucie in a deep quest to find truth and she slowly starts to answer questions that she has become all too familiar with here in the Czech. Some of the questions they discussed included: “If God loves us so much why not make us love him?” ‘The Bible cannot be true, it was written by humans, right?” Melody with grace and tenacity stood firm on the truth of Christ and interacted with her until Lucie decided she was worn out and needed to go to bed. Melody went looking for the next person with questions!
We could go on and on with the meaningful conversations that took place last night. Hopefully you will have a chance to hear many of these in person when we return. We have one more full day of camp and then we return to Pardubice for “Follow Up” when we make a final effort to connect unbelievers to the Youth Group at Archa by attending church Sunday, activities in town followed by a cookout at the church Sunday night. Monday will be a “Gang Tour” of Pardubice (Famous for its Gingerbread and the Green Gate – Zelená Braná). We will get on the train shortly after noon on Monday and head back to Prague for a debrief with all of the American teams followed by a two day, non-stop, whirlwind tour of one of the most amazing cities in the world.
Allow me one final story from Gospel Night at Camp. As I walked through the “labyrinth” to make sure that everyone was finished and had joined us at the tea house (čajovně) which was set up all over the first floor, I met Blake and Jordan K. on the third floor. When I told Blake that we were finished she said that standing at the top of the stairs near the last station praying for each student that walked by was one of the greatest privileges of her life. Then Jordan and Blake walked toward one another and literally fell on their faces and started praying that God would use the events of this week to reach more people with the gospel, who will in turn reach out to many here in the Czech Republic that we will never have the opportunity to meet. Would you please join them in those prayers. That is why we came. We want to finish well but also know that God will continue to work long after we are home eating hamburgers and getting free refills with ice.
Under the Cross (pod křížem)
Ken – for the Team