Synergy is: the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that isgreaterthan the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism.
On some level we see this concept in successful evangelism. Baptisms occurring in South Bohemia yesterday demonstrate this in a powerful way.
Tomas and Andrea (husband and wife) were baptized about 2 years ago. This was the result of having found a web site created by Robert from Prague. Since Prague is quite far from their home city, they began driving an hour each way to worship in Brno. The brethren in Brno did a wonderful job of enveloping them with love and care. They visited with them, and Jan studied with them via Skype. Some brethren in the States who knew about the couple of their two children sent them small gifts connected with teaching the children about God. This genuinely dedicated young family that was nurtured by their spiritual family not only survived the distance they live from the other brethren, but they thrived.
I say this confidently not based only on my personal observations, but on the events of Sunday. You see, the people baptized were Tom’s mother and another friend. He worked with them, set an example, and taught them. So this is a beautiful story about the character and effort of Tom and Andrea, but it is more than that. It is about them, but not only about them. It is a story that has a lot of moving, Czech parts that did move and moved well together. (I’m sure my brief account omitted others who played very useful roles.) Each one of them played a part in the wonderful outcome.
All of them realize and rejoice in the fact that the real power is that of the gospel and, they are merely tools of service. Beyond the simple, deep joy of souls saved and the church in the Czech Republic growing, there is the realization this should provide lessons for we in the States.
Maybe the questions I’m asking myself will be helpful to someone else. Are we nurturing and preparing our spiritual young to utilize the opportunities uniquely theirs? Are we mindful of how our actions impact not only our brethren but those they may be trying to teach? Do we look for small and detailed ways that we may contribute to the process of sharing the gospel? Let’s be motivated by Tom and Andrea’s faith, and keep them and our two new brethren in our prayers.
Honza and Monika Vlcek have been very special to us for many years. I’m not sure how long we have known Honza, but he often carried our now 24-year-old around on his shoulders. Now we are privileged to see their children growing up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” We enjoyed spending several hours in their home on Saturday. Seeing our grown kids made them nostalgic and contemplative as they pondered how quickly the time passes. The visit was, as always, warm with wonderful hospitality being extended.
A train trip with the entire family brought back a flood of fond memories as well as reminding me that some things like the joy of fresh bread and cheese for a snack, the beauty of the countryside, or the kids picking at each other do not change.
We had about an hour to wander around the city before heading out to the meeting place. Many of the kids earliest memories are from Brno, so there were certain simple things they wanted to see. We met Jan and his family for a snack before worship. He is a having a very difficult time trying to help care for his ill father. Catching up was great, but it made us acutely aware of how little time we have together.
Our assembly began with the wonderful news that two people were baptized earlier in the day. (More about that in a separate post.). Fifteen Czechs were gathered to worship. For many of you that number will seem quite small, but for those who have followed the work over the last number of years you will rejoice. Of that 15, 8 were children. After the assembly we walked as a group to a nearby restaurant for a quick supper before our train which got us back to Prague at about 11.
We spent the day on Friday with the Novák family. I think Pavla cooked the entire time we were there. As always, it was a delightful visit. In addition to the good discussions I always get to have with the family, our kids could spend time together and Nancy and Pavla were able to have a great visit. Seeing our kids together as young adults was bittersweet. The weather was lovely so we spent a lot of time in their garden. We laughed, ate, prayed, reminisced, studied together is the kind of warm camaraderie that develops through many years together. Truly it was a wonderful day.
The neighborhood we hold the lectures in is a growing middle-class area on the edge of the city. It still has a number of communist era buildings. We are able to use an old Kulturni Dum (Culture House.)
Lovely weather arrived on the day of the lecture. It was very pleasant, but probably wasn’t good for our attendance. We had only two local visitors. None the less we felt good about the results for a couple of reasons. Both visitors seemed very interested as evidenced by the fact they stayed and talked for a good while even after the Q&A session ended. In fact it was only when the people in charge of the room turned out the lights everyone left. Also, the church in Prague videos the lecture to post on their website. They have been getting a lot of traffic it.
Prague is a difficult city to navigate for those with physical challenges.
Headed to the lecture with the family
The youngest visitor. His father is teaching him early.
Nancy, Elizabeth, and Nathan arrived safely and worn out. They can be forgiven if they doze during my lecture tonight.
I was again blessed with an uneventful trip “across the pond.” The rest of the family is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Honza took time off from a construction project he is involved with north of the city to come to the airport to pick me up and take me to lunch.
Wednesday was a quiet day with only one brief study. It gave me time to sort out some logistical issues and finish preparing for the lecture on Thursday. While I was out, I took a few photos to provide some local flavor. The weather is lovely and families are taking advantage of it. A new smoking ban has pushed folks outside as well. The city is booming economically as evidenced by building renovations everywhere. Efforts by Russia to influence former Soviet Bloc countries continue, often by means of “museums.” Both horses and hooligans are out in force waiting for the tourists.