The short train ride from Brno to Ceaska Trebova in East Bohemia was short, but it gave me some time to prepare mentally for the great opportunities that awaited me. Marek pick me up and drove me to their small, picturesque town. When we arrived at about 4 PM, it was time to get started. I began with a class on Young People in the Bible with the younger children, this was followed by a class on how to study with the young men. During the class with the young men which we help in the courtyard, a slithering friend decided to join us. After a delightful, typical Czech meal of pork and potatoes, the entree group gathered to sing for about 30 minutes. We followed this with about an hour study of 1 Peter. What a great start!
After not having been to Bratislava in a while, my schedule allowed me an afternoon/evening to make the trip into Slovakia to visit Lucy. The weather was beautiful, and a walk along the majestic Danube always take my mind back in time to my own experiences connected to this river as well as it huge role in European history. Lucy was doing great. Her life both materially and spiritual seems very well in order as she continues to be a pillar of faith in this part of the world.
Being back in Brno for a lecture fills my heart with joy for so many reasons. We often remind ourselves of how prayer and perseverance pay off, but we may not often have such tangible signs of it. Admittedly, I was a bit unsure about the lecture topic they had assigned me for this particular night. I know that the 500 Year Anniversary of the Reformation is a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, best I wasn’t sure how it would play in this blue collar city. I also knew that Tomas was hoping the practical aspects of it would help people he is studying with, but I just wasn’t sure. As happens often enough, I was wrong. Sometimes my error is such a wonderful thing! The crowd came early and stayed late. As I discussed the causes of the Reformation and its practical implications for today, the people responded well. Perhaps the most encouraging response came from an avowed atheist who, based on his response, made great strides in overcoming his prejudices.
The demographics of the crowd let me grateful as well. While we only had about 20 “visitors,” I’m guessing 20 visitors on any given night night of our gospel meetings would be judged as a true success- especially if those visitors were from the community as opposed to neighboring congregations. The second encouraging aspect of this was that several of these have now been to multiple lectures. Finally, a few of them were people who are studying with member of the church in Brno. We are already looking forward to next time. One of the visitors even suggested another great topic. The recurring problem is that I never have enough time here.
With all the storybook glamor of Prague, it can be easy for folks who haven’t gotten out of the tourist areas to get a feel of normal life for typical people. A couple of photos may help with that. I Made these on the way to the suburb/village where the Novak’s live. I sent a delightful afternoon with them and with the Vokal’s. we enjoyed time in three garden as well as a hike through the forrest. Mira, who was there with his family for the study he next day, had a set of Bible questions he brought for us to discuss as well. as always, Pavla was a most gracious hostess.
My trip to Prague was wonderfully uneventful. As I was checking in, I was quietly informed of major changes for the airlines brought about by their financial issues. The fact that no other passenger was within “spitting distance “ probably explained why they are having issues. As usual, Honza disrupted his busy day to pick me up and take me to lunch before delivering me to my accommodations. Yes, he had the salad while I had the classic Czech dish.
As recently as a couple of weeks ago, I was frustrated that the trip was as back-end loaded as it turned out to be, but with the life disruptions of Irma I’m thankful it is. Wednesday gave me a chance to catch my breath a bit and work on some lessons.
Thursday felt like a bit of a throw-back day. I was able to spend a few hours with one of the first people we met and baptized here almost 30 years ago. Though he is now internationally known as an economist and director of the World Bank, Filip is as warm and engaging as he was as a college student hanging out at our apartment. His lovely wife was more than hospitable, and their younger child, who I had not seen before, and I bonded quickly. It made for a pleasant and productive day.