There is something so settling about knowing that you're in the place where God wants you to be, knowing that all of your passions, gifts, growths, experiences, and desires have all prepared you for this time and location. While this may sound like a bold statement, over the past few months as God was preparing me and leading me to make this small step, I've seen Him reveal to me again and again how my life as a Christian has been to lead me to this place.
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9)
I previously mentioned the scariest moment of my trip—of my life—when I spent the evening in the Emergency Room recovering from a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting. If you want to see the detailed story, I just finished writing up a blog about it:
(I was going to include it in this update, but it was just too long)
I've had a busy but fruitful two weeks here already, and while it partially feels like I've always been here... I also feel like the time is flying by too quickly. One-fourth of my trip is already over! In addition to the hard times that you've heard about—the difficulty getting here and the evening in the hospital—I have had some wonderful times here as well!
I've built some great relationships with the Czech church here. The church pastor and his wife have been very welcoming to me, having me over to their home to visit and play with their two kids. They have been very encouraging, and I have spent quite a bit of time with this pastor as well, since much of our ministry work has been side-by-side. His nephew is also a Christian, and probably my best friend here! He lives about an hour away, but has come to visit a few times. We get along great, and have fun hanging out and playing music together. I also have gotten to know the youth leader fairly well. She is very sweet, and we've had some great evenings visiting. I have gotten to know several of the Christian youth also (One girl just left on Thursday for a 2-month mission trip, herself! She's in Brazil, if you can also pray for her).
But I've also built some great relationships with people that do not attend the church! One woman has quickly become a dear friend of mine. We met in an English lesson that I visited, and immediately hit it off. Her English is excellent, and she enjoys the opportunity to practice the language. In addition, she has been giving me free Czech lessons and helping me grasp some of the grammar and usage of this difficult language. She has been surprisingly open with me about spiritual things, and while she does not claim to be a Christian, she hungers strongly after God and has a relationship with Jesus Christ. Her husband and family, however, are interested in “spiritual” things, but are not as close to Christianity. I am praying for the opportunity to invite her to church with me.
Part of our outreach this past week was speaking in public schools, inviting high school students to the English camp we are hosting in August. We have had immense success, with five students having signed up already (last year there were just 2 from the schools), and several of them have added me on facebook as well. I spent yesterday morning with a young girl from one school.
Pray for the upcoming English camps—I have about two weeks until
our first one, and from that point on I will become very busy... that
the students will come, and that they will be open to both building
relationships and hearing the Gospel.
Pray that I will stay plugged-in to God. All of this may sound
like fun and games, but it is spiritually and emotionally draining.
There is spiritual warfare going on around me, and I need to stay on
top of my game, and continually filled, as I pour out love and hope to
those around me. I can't pour out if I'm empty!
Pray for the other Americans from Mosaic Church that will join
me here in August—my parents and baby sister, Deb, Christy, and Emily.
Pray that they will be sufficiently prepared, their spirits will be
lifted and filled, and that the fundraising will be provided for.
Pray for the Czech church here—that I can encourage them, and
that they will continue to have boldness to share the Gospel with their
friends and family members. Also that any spiritual warfare will stay
away from their doors, so that any people that enter will see the truth
and love of Jesus.
“It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” (Psalm 44:3)