On Thursday I was invited to visit Robert, Tami, and their delightful children. From the moment Robert met me at the Metro, we discussed various Bible questions and spiritual topics. He is studious and thoughtful, so opportunity is a blessing for me. Tami and the kids were waiting anxiously for our arrival. Tomas and Kristina are growing up so fast and well! I would have brought Daniel home in my suitcase if I could. The evening was filled with fun, great food, wonderful Biblical discussions. It was, as always, a blessing to be with them.
On Tuesday I traveled to Bratislava to meet with Lucy. Upon arriving at the train station, I was reminded of a basic cultural difference between The CR and the States. After lugging my stuff from the hotel to the platform, I decided to rest by sitting on the back of one of these toy trucks used to load and unload trains. Not only wasn’t there a sign telling me I couldn’t sit there, but also when the driver came out to use the truck she didn’t even glance at me before taking off with it. She trusted me to have enough sense to get off.
Spring was in full glory in Slovakia. As I walked to where I would meet Lucy, I noticed the vine covered buildings and wished it was a little later in the season. As I waited for her at the Eurovea Mall, I was able to sit outside and watch the people relaxing along the Danube while I enjoyed some Mango-Mint Lemonade.
When Lucy arrived, we were able to spend a few hours together catching up, discussing various spiritual issues, and getting an update on the situation in the church in Bratislava. It was all encouraging and though the trip was lengthy, it was worthwhile.
The lecture in Brno was so encouraging. We had 10 first-time visitors from the community. Almost all of them not only participated well, but left contact info with requests for studies, etc. It was great to see how encouraged the Christians were. A couple of years ago I feared they might despair of doing these lectures for lack of response. This concern was misguided. They have not only persevered, but have continued to excel. They began the discussion of what we will do in the fall before we left the lecture hall.
Sunday was probably my busiest day yet. It began in Prague worshiping with the brethren there in the morning. The crowd was quite good. It included Petr and Marcella Unger. This is a fine family who has been worshiping in their home in a city about 45 minutes from Prague for the last several years. It looks like they may begin driving into Prague to worship again. After a lesson I had to abbreviate just a bit, I rushed to the train station for my train to Brno.
I arrived just in time for the assembly there. It was a good and demographically exciting crowd. Of the 14 present, seven were children. Tomas and Andrea were their with the new baby. We visited for some time after the assembly before the Fojt’s and Planeta’s went with me for supper. Upon returning to the center, I took a book and went out for a snack and to read for a while. It turned out my reading was quite limited because of good spiritual conversations with first a Buddhist poet and then two young law students one of whom was suffering from PTSD from his time in combat. A lot of contact info was shared and hopefully the conversations will continue.
Here are a few pictures from my stroll to grab a late lunch today before the lecture. All of them are from the city center of Brno. It was a beautiful day that saw most people going without coats. The crocodile in the fountain reflects early Brno lore of a South American “dragon.” I was surprised to see two hawks on the roof by my hotel. Normally it is the exclusive domain of pigeons. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are as diligent as ever, and they have upgraded their displays.
The “Brno Study” was actually in Brno on Saturday. It moves back there couple of times a year. The location paid an immediate dividend by allowing a family from the church in Martin, Slovakia to attend. Overall the turnout was good with folks coming from a variety of cities. I changed the format a bit this time, and the change was very well received. As usual, I lectured during the 1 ½ hour period before lunch. After lunch rather than following the same format I divided the group up into smaller groups to work on a textual assignment. At the end of the allotted period, a spokesperson for each group shared the results of the work.
It was wonderful to watch them work together as men and women, adults and kids, and brethren from different congregations. The presentations were lo very good, and I got a lump in my throat as I watched a teenage boy I have known all of his life make the presentation for the last group.
The Czech spring weather allowed the children to play and the adults to visit outside for another hour or so after the study. The farewells were warm and sincere among these brethren who love and rely on one another so much.
To add a little local color, I’ve included a night shot from from hotel room window in Brno as well as a shot of a bread bin before I attacked it.
The church in Prague invited me to conduct a lecture again during this visit. The challenges of doing lectures here have come to be quite complex. The issues include limited resources for advertising, choosing a good location in a huge city, and selecting an appealing topic.
For this lecture, it all came together well. The location was, once again, a culture house in a heavily populated suburb. I’m including picture that just one building in the immediate walking are that houses between 300-400 apartment units as well as a couple of street scenes showing the normal ebb and flow of life there. (I took these as I ate my supper of fruit, bread, and yogurt. 🙂 The topic was a very practical one that was suggested and used in Brno a few years ago and finally implemented here.
The turnout was exciting in every way. The Christians were pleasantly surprised at the results as far as both the numbers and the response. The brethren continue to show a courageous attitude towards evangelism. I snapped a picot of the partial audience as we were preparing to start.