I arrived safely home today at about 5 PM. Hopefully my luggage will arrive tomorrow. It was a good and productive trip. The brethren I visited often asked me to thank brethen in the States who care about them and make trips such as mine possible. I want to thank you for this as well.
I was scheduled to travel from Budapest to Prague early Thursday afternoon. I had decided to fly primarily because the schedule seemed to offer the best assurance of arriving in time for the lecture that evening in Prague. Upon arriving at the gate to check in, I was informed that the flight had been cancelled. There had been no previous notification. An hour later, people were still standing in the line expecting to be checked in. The next possible flight would not arrive in Prague until 6:40- 10 minutes after the study was scheduled to start.
Honza Novak met me at the airport. I had convinced the airlines to let me take my large suitcase on the plane to save time. Mike Morrow spoke for about an hour before I arrived. He had about three hours notice that he would be doing a study on demons and demon possession. I felt terrible for him, but I know he did well. I spoke for another hour and a half after that. Most of the people stayed for the entire study. I was amazed. We had a total of 22 at the lecture.
The picture shows how large the bag was I carried on to the plane. The briefcase beside it is an oversized one.
On Friday, I met Honza for lunch. He had just finished a meeting with Minister of Agriculture. We had a great visit for a couple of hours in which we discussed spiritual leadership and rearing our children.
After that, I went to the Morrow’s. I had the opportunity to help with the study Mike was having with a young medical doctor. Afterwards Mike, Tatana, and I had a few minutes to visit. The time we are together always flies by.
That evening I went to see Robert and Tammy. They had invited Honza and Monica Vlcek and me to eat supper with them. It is great to see these young Czech families spending time together.
On Tuesday evening I met with Peter. We spent a couple of hours discussing spiritual matters. He is struggling in some areas and he realizes it. He seemed determined to try to work through it.
On Wednesday, I taught the Bible class. The brethren were very appreciative for the encouragement. As a group they are struggling with the new translator situation, but I think they will get it sorted out. After the class, I spent a couple of hours with Emese. She has been quite discouraged of late, but I think she will be fine.
I’ll try to upload a couple of pictures taken after the class. The Hungarians really hate posing for these shots.
In a few hours I will leave for Budapest. This evening I will meet with Peter. On Wednesday I will speak at the group study and then have a chance to visit with Emese.
Bulgaria is a hard country. It is almost third world. Tonight as I walked home I saw a pack of the wild dogs that roam the streets. The female was in a “family way.” The loud and dangerous situation this created reminded me a lot of what life is like for the people here. The strongest and those with few scruples do well. Most of the rest struggle.
I had the opportunity to visit with Savella in her home today. it was the first time I had met her father. He is a veteran of the Eastern Front in the Second World War. Savella had a smile of her face when I left and told me the visits we had over the last few days really helped, but she is having a very difficult time. She needs prayer from all and attention from those who know her.
Biss and I managed to spend a little over an hour together this evening. The good- byes here are always difficult.
The day began early. I was ready go leave for worship early enough that I decided to walk to help me get ready for the day. After a brisk 45 minute walk I was at the cultural center where the group is now meeting.
The room they are in now is very small, as the picture indicates. However, as a result of the generosity of some brethren in Texas, they will have the option of moving to a larger room with more than an hour period in which to meet.
After services, we all went out to eat. We have done that before, but it seemed to mean more to them than I could have imagined. After the meal, Biss and I went to see Draga. The look on her face when she saw us was one I will treasure for a long time. She rushed us through a discussion of her physical condition by repeating in English, “lesson? lesson?” Her desire to study was amazing- especially considering the fact that her heart problems had kept her inside her flat for the last 10 days (She is not doing well at all.) After an hour of study, we went to the market and bought groceries for her. We left her with tears welling up in her eyes and struggling with words of thanks. She is a remarkable lady.
After the trip back into the city, Biss and I spent another couple of hours walking and talkig about the condition and needs of the church as well as just enjoying one another’s company. The evening ended with me meeting with a young couple I have known for some time. During my last visit, my discussion with the young lady about the illness of a friend led us into a discussion of Biblical themes.
I am supposed to meet with Savella tomorrow afternoon and Biss in the evening. After that, I am supposed to eat supper with some people I have been discussing spiritual matters with for some time. On Tuesday I will head to Budapest.
Street music in Sofia can take on a western flair. Few things here are more popular than American Indians.
Life is hard on women in this part of the world. For every woman of this age selling some small product on the street there is another who is begging. The thought of this type of future often leads to some frightening attitudes amonger younger women fearing this fate.
Typical street scene.
This is the front door to the building where I am staying while in Bulgaria. It is fairly typical for buildings in the city.
The folks back home have been so kind and helpful with the family while I’m gone. Concern for what is going on back home is the most stressful part of the trip. Though I knew people would be helpful, I’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness towards Nancy and the kids. While I was in Bratislava last Saturday, one of the Christians asked what the people we were working with back in Texas are like. I told her they were a wonderful group of helpful and devoted Christians. The description was surely an accurate one.
The streets of Rome are narrow, crowded, and crooked. In addition to the scooters so often seen darting around the traffic, the people have also found some really small cars to drive.
And yes, this ride makes the Smart car seem roomy.