Saturday’s plans changed in a fortunate way. Our planned meeting with Hristo and Vanya was cancelled because of something that popped up on their end. That allowed us time not only to visit with Savella, but to also help her with some tasks. By the time we finished, we had climbed almost 1000 steps in total moving things and repaired a window. It was great we were able to do that for her. She had prepared a nice meal to share with us after we finished the work, and we were able to have a good visit and study.
Traveling to Sofia was easy. This time I managed to get a good price on a direct flight. That got me there early enough to get settled in before any meetings. I’m staying in an Airbnb flat I have used before, so that simplified things. It was a beautiful warm day, so talented street musicians were out in force. The Bulgarian pipes are especially haunting. Biss and I met for tea to catch up, discuss some ongoing questions, and plan the details of the visit. Later that evening, I had a study with and older man and his nephew. The uncle is a “devout” Catholic who doesn’t believe any of the stories in the Bible are true. He said he wanted to meet again the next day. The Bulgarian leg of the trip is off to a good start.
After meeting Biss at a metro stop in the center, we made the trip to the suburbs to meet Rafik and his family for supper. It was another chapter in their wonderful ongoing story. We ate good food, laughed, talked, prayed, and discussed the scriptures together as a group. The children are doing amazingly well in all aspects of life while keeping a proper focus. The evening came to an end too quickly as I headed back into the centrum for another scheduled study.
The last day in my adopted city is always emotionally complicated. I’m so thankful to have been here, but so mindful of how many opportunities were missed. This particular last day was the day of our public lecture. We really never know what to expect here. The brethren work hard to do it well, but we still wait with some apprehension to see what will happen. We did have four visitors, and that was encouraging. In addition to what we may accomplish during the presentation, the lectures are videoed and posted to a website that has a good bit of traffic. Our efforts are still a work in progress. It was great to see the diligence and spirit of the Christians as they worked to engage the visitors even after the Q&A session lasted for an hour after the lecture ended. Got back home late, and needed to pack and clean to be ready to fly out the next morning.
Finishing up in Prague included maintaining one of our favorite traditions. I was able to take some of the college kids to a wonderful restaurant that serves Czech cuisine. Each of us enjoyed our meals while envying what the others were eating. After the meal, I had one final opportunity for an intensive two-hour study with one of them. The hunger of a college student to dig deeply into the word is humbling, encouraging, and energizing. I only wish I knew how to bottle some of it.
Monday back in Prague was highly unusual. I didn’t have any classes scheduled. I used the day to catch up on some correspondence, and prepare for the last teaching opportunities before leaving Prague. I got a use the magnetic declining sidewalk in the grocery store again, and I even managed to hike up to the communal laundry and give some clothes a fresh start.