The flight to Sofia was short and on time. It is great to finally be in a place I will stay long enough to bother to unpack. I have never been so excited about a washing machine before. I met Biss for supper and to iron out details of the weekend. Seeing him is a pleasure. After supper we walked a bit. Winter has come here. I need to get acclimated. I also got to speak with Savella. She is overjoyed with positive medical news about an issue that had been of great concern. We will all meet tomorrow for study and discussion.
The rainy trip from Bratislava to Budapest went off without a hitch. I had about an hour and a half to settle in before I met Emese. Her great disposition makes her a joy to be around. Even her smile has been strained by the stress most of this year as well as uncertainty for the future. Though I have known and respected her so much through the years, her faith in this surprised me. The church in Budapest has effectively dissolved. This would have occurred regardless of whether the American family working there would have stayed or not. The Lord will sort out the causes. Now, Emese is trying to sort through her options. She is helping me to arrange a meeting with her, Janos, and Peter for when I come back next week.
Tomorrow, I’m to travel to Sofia. I’m looking forward to meeting with Biss.
Coming to Brno is always like coming home in a sense. The worship was very encouraging. The brethren are still dealing with some very sticky issues concerning Jan’s ex-wife who has been withdrawn from but still attends services. This created an unusual and awkward situation during the worship, but everyone handled it very well.
On brighter notes, the church there is meeting in a new and better location. It is more accessible and much more visible. Jan and Jozef did a great job in choosing it.
I’m including some picture of the outside, the inside, and a sign they are able to put up. As before, it is inside property owned by the YMCA, but now it is on the edge of a huge shopping mall. They are actually able to get some drop- in visitors now. Also, after services, Jan gave me the phone number for a young man Charlie Brackett had met and studied with last summer. When I contacted him later that evening, he set up a study for my next weekend in Brno.
The worship there was as encouraging as usual. Their sturdiness in the faith always leaves me so encouraged. After my lesson, it was suggested that we might use that material for a future lecture. Obviously I was heartened by that. The brethren were planning a potluck after services. Sadly I had to choose between enjoying that and getting on a train that would get me to Brno in time for worship there. As I started for the train station I was very touched to find that some of the ladies had prepared a sack lunch for me to take. It’s funny how such a simple gesture can mean so much.
For those who wondered about me saying that I should have looked at a topographical map of Brno rather than just a city map before getting my accommodations, I am including a couple of picture to perhaps clarify it. The shots are taken from the hill I climbed to get to the point I could start going somewhere. I was planning to complain until I saw an old woman with bag of apples in one hand and a sack of potatoes in the other beat me up the hill.
I had a great evening with a good meal and spiritual discussion with Robert and Tami Saturday night. Robert and I were able to finalize some things concerning the upcoming lecture here. Unfortunately, their son, Thomas, was sick. This morning after worship in Prague we will hop on a train to get to Brno for the worship there this evening.
I traveled in Brno this morning by train. On the way I was able to chat with Honza Novak about raising children. The two Russian ladies in my compartment understood enough English to be amused. The trip was pleasant and afforded me the chance to make final preparations for the lecture tonight. After finding my accommodations I wished I had looked at a topographical as well as a street map of the city, but the room is clean.
I met Jan and Jozef for a few minutes before the lecture. When we got to the rented room, we were surprised to find that a small group of visitors had beaten us there. We had a total of 9 visitors. Most of them stayed for the hour long lecture and for the hour long question and answer period at the end.. At that point we had to apologize and send them home since the room was only rented for two hours. Needless to say, it was a good night. Probably the most touching aspect of it was the fact that two elderly members attended. To do this, 87 year old Mr. Matousek and his wife traveled about an hour by foot and bus to get there. The last bit of their trip involved navigating 30 steps. They came in with a smile and a determination to do their part to talk to the visitors.
My trip over was pleasantly uneventful. After my arrival in Prague, I had about an hour to settle in before leaving for the group study. It was well attended and very encouraging. It lasted a little over an hour and a half. I have uploaded a few pictures of the group. They enjoy having their pictures taken about as well as I do, but they were good sports about it. After class I had some time to visit with Mike and Tatana. It is great to be able to spend some time with them.