Thursday, June 28, 2007

Last Day of Classes


Thursday was my last day of classes and it ended nicely with my high school conversation class at the bowling alley. I know you don’t need a lot of English to bowl, but we had a lot of nice conversation between frames. In fact the popular question this week was, “What will you do this summer?” Many of my students are looking forward to our upcoming English camp in July. I’m sure many of you remember reading about the camp and looking at pictures on my Shutterfly photo page. This year you can look at this website for a selection of the best photos from each day and a link to the Picasso web albums. So DON'T FORGET to “Czech my blog” July 23-27 for up-to-date information about the camp.

So, what am I doing this summer? Some of my friends are coming to the Czech Republic and see where I’ve been for the past year, and then one of them will travel
with me to Germany. I’m excited to visit Dresden for a third time and see Berlin for the first time. I’ve always wanted to see the Berlin Wall (or rather what’s left of it) in person. We’ll also pass through Leipzig (yeah for JS Bach) along the way. And of course, one of the highlights of July will be the releases of the fifth Harry Potter movie and the seventh book, the “last” of such a long and suspenseful series. I’m still holding on to the idea that Snape is actually good and, at during book 6, was only acting as Dumbledore had instructed him to do. I guess this proves that the typical distrustful Czech mindset hasn’t worked it’s way into my way of thinking.

After the English camp, during the month of August and the first week of September, I will be traveling to the US while the Czechs also take their vacations. While I am visiting my friends and family, I will also be visiting several churches and groups to give a full report on the progress of our mission with comments about my experiences with the Czech culture. If you would like me to come to your church or organization, please contact me by email (, as soon as possible, and we can talk about possible dates.

And finally my dear readers, I’m sorry that I forget not all of you get my newsletters, but, I'm happy to announce that we have a good base of pledges for next year, and we have decided that I will stay in Polička for another year to continue this mission. This would not be possible without the continuing support from many churches and families. I want to thank all of my prayer partners, friends, and the churches who have been supporting me throughout the year with encouraging emails, cards, continuing financial support and, most importantly, prayer. Thank you to all of you who have pledged your support for next year, sharing your faith in the work that we are making a difference.

"Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again," Ecclesiastes 11:1. This scripture says a lot to me about our work here. You have been casting your support across the world to this small country, a place where many of you have never been, and some of you may have been wondering what became of the loaf I sent. It may be difficult for you to see the ripples in the water, but little by little, the love you all have shown will come back to you. It won't be the same loaf, but it will be the reflection of your kindness and faith. I'm looking forward to telling many of you about my experiences here in August. I feel like we've come such a long way in opening the doors of the church to the community and creating a welcoming place. Now people will have a better picture in their mind as to who goes to church, what we do there and who we worship.

Oh, but there is still such a long way to go. I can't even begin to describe the shock on some people's faces any time I drop the "G" word, and I can't imagine what would happen if I said the "J" word in a sentence. Plenty of people say Jesus (Ježiš) as a swear word, but I don't think half of them could tell you where he was born or even admit that he lived in the first place. The only time I've ever talked to Czechs, other than the Dus family, about Jesus was at Christmastime. Maybe you remember my post about Ježišek, little baby Jesus who brings presents like Santa Clause. They had no problem discussing the idea of a make believe character who visits at Christmas, because it's not connected with the church and Jesus. So, long story long, some Czechs think they have a handle on what Christians are like and what God, Jesus, and all of that religious stuff is about. My prayer is that, as we have opened ourselves to them, may they open their minds and hearts to us. They may hear what we have to say and choose to go the other direction, but if they will only give God a chance, they might find something to make their life worth living and fill that gap left in their hearts when money, technology, and success no longer bring them joy.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

An Unusual Experience

Čas pro neobyčejné zážitky
(The picture above serves as a link to the photo album)
Last night we provided activities for Policka's "Time for unusual experiences." During this festival, or exposition rather, people walk from place to place in Policka to get a sample of interesting activities. For instance the schools, the Gallery, Museum, and other places presented concerts or exhibitions that people can enjoy in 15-20 minute sessions, one after another. We chose to have activities for both adults and children. We started the evening with challenges for the children in the garden and a slide show with Tea and snacks upstairs in the church. After dark we changed our youth activities to suit older kids, and we played more active large group games like Ultimate Frisbee. Unfortunately, rain finally pushed us inside(because of the cold air), but we persevered and played some card games.
I have to thank all of you who were praying with me about this event. Due to busy schedules a this time of year, on Thursday morning, I feared I wouldn't have any helpers for our activities, but by that evening I had 5 definite helpers and on Saturday another 5 turned up! Oh, I don't know what I would have done without them! I don't know how it works out like this, but each time it seems like God provides exactly the right helpers that I need. For the Disco Night I had people who really liked to dance and could get the kids dancing. This Saturday I had younger youth that really wanted to be there and had a good time even though they had a lot of down time while they waited for people to come through to our attraction. Each one of them eagerly took charge of their activity and encourage the other kids who were taking the challenge. I think everyone had a great time, and God really had something fantastic in store for us.