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This Could be a Difficult Winter for Czechs

Sofia Dates Set

Though there is a little governmental paperwork pending, I am scheduled to be with the brethren in Sofia from August 19-29. In addition to the preaching opportunities, there are some special study opportunities I have been longing to arrange for some time.

Finally Back to Sofia!

There are so many exciting things about the move back to Europe that I cannot begin to describe them all. Each step back into life there comes with its own joyful feelings. Another was accomplished today as I finalized travel plans to be back with brethren in Bulgaria after not having been back since I was forced to cancel travel plans when Covid first hit. Obviously, I will be sharing more details as the time grows closer, but for now I am merely trying to share my excitement about going back. 

Good day in DC

I arrived at the Czech Embassy about a minute after the window they offered me to pick up the passports opened. The visa officer recognized me immediately upon my entrance and retrieved our passports. Given the overkill of our providing documentation and following up, I think he was happy it was over. None the less, as he handed the documents, he smiled and said, “Welcome to the Czech Republic.”

Just a few updates:

  • Though we are not yet in Prague, I plan to begin to use the blog for regular updates as the time of departure rapidly approaches.
  • Thanks so much for the outpouring of interest, support and prayers! We have what we need for the work.
  • With our long-term visas approved, everything is falling nicely into place.
  • Tickets are set, and accommodations for a couple of months have been secured. This allows us time to do a little more work on a long- term flat.
  • The Nove Mesto study is falling into place nicely for the first week of August. Of course, I will be updating that.

Brno Lecture

Who would show up for the lecture? That was the question that we almost feared to raise Sunday night as we talked about our preparations for the next day. It had been 30 months since our last lecture. The venue we had been successfully using had closed because of Covid. We didn’t know if people were quite ready to come back out either for fear of Covid or just dreading dealing with possible protocols. To say the new venue was an historic one would be an understatement. It was a room in the old city hall of Brno. The facility dates back to the 1200’s though the more recent iteration only to the mid 1600’s. Due to the legend of the dragon (crocodile,) it is also one of the best known places in the city. We had a couple of fallback consolations if the crowd was small. First, it would be recorded and thus archived online. Also, it was to be streamed live….

 

We had 22 visitors, 21 of whom we had never seen before. 13 people streamed the entire (70 minute) presentation. It was a good night.

Brno on Sunday

Sunday in Brno was really nice. Unfortunately, some infrastructure issues make it impossible to worship in Prague in the morning and make it to Brno by train in time for their afternoon worship. Yet, this does make for a less chaotic day. The train is beautiful as you transition from the river delta into the highlands and the edge of the mountains near Brno. I wish they had washed the windows of the train. It was probably a Covid thing.

 

The group was small on Sunday, but included a newer Czech couple converted not too long ago who live in England. They not only join by Skype each Sunday, but he takes a turn in helping lead the assembly. After the worship, Jan, Jozef and I went out for a bite to discuss some logistical issues for the lecture on Monday. Following that, Jan and I had time to talk about a wide range of Biblical topics. His continued growth is inspirational.

Week End

Friday was the kind of day that lingers in your mind ass you relish the opportunities. It was the 12 hour non- stop sort of day that really doesn’t leave you feeling tired. Several hours of it included studies. Topics included things like the condor Canaan, the influence of false teachers, the role of western philosophy in Christianity, and more. It also included two meals with a great people, a four-hour road trip, and a cold hike around a lake. Honza and Paula drove me to “CB” where we visited with Mira and Ruzinka. Mira is still dealing with some health issues that have plagued him for about a year. Thankfully, he is improving. We also visited with Jindra and “little” Jindra before making the cold, snowy drive home. The small structure is a cottage that Mira has on the lake.

Saturday was a little disappointing, it a blessing in a different way. The two studies that were both canceled. I used the time to catch up on some work and also have a couple of impromptu discussions with unbelievers.

Mid Week

The work here settles into a predictable and positive routine. As time passes, the opportunities shift more to non-Christians. That is a obviously a positive and exciting change. It is something that makes leaving more difficult. This has followed that pattern. Of course there have been several studies with the Christians, but the balance has shifted to about 50/50. Of course along the way there has been some good food. I was reminded that the centrum can be a small place as I have run into some of our young folks in various places. If you happen to know and like these sweet wafers, this store will amaze you.

Weekend

Saturday began a hectic weekend that had me slightly out of breath by Sunday, it with a great feeling inside. Saturday included, in addition to a good bit of preparation time, four classes/meetings that only ended around midnight. Sunday morning found me walking about 50 yards from my flat to the meeting place in Prague. The assembly was well attended, including two young ladies who were visiting. I have known both of them all of their lives, so seeing them join us was especially encouraging for me. After a long visit following the conclusion of the worship, I traveled to the nearby village where the Hodankovi live. Another member of the group in Prague as well as another visitor joined us for a delightful lunch(by then it was 3 PM.) it gave us a great opportunity for more visiting and spiritual discussion. Karel drove me back into the city where after preparing my evening meal I caught up on some work before joining some other friends for a visit. What a great day!

A partial view of the group assembled.