Saturday began with the study with the younger children. It is wonderful to see how they are growing. They all call me “Uncle Bill.” I like that. Immediately after that class, Marek and I studied with a Bulgarian couple who live in London via Skype. We have done this often enough to develop a good relationship. I hope to be able to study with them face to face when they travel to Bulgaria next fall. When we finished the study, several of us together to the former village of Lezaky. This small town along with Lidice were the two Czech villages that the Nazis destroyed by burning the houses and killing the inhabitants as retaliation for the killing of Heydrich during the Second World War. It was a beautiful place, but the horrors of what happened there cast a pall over the visit.
After a late (3:00 PM) lunch, we had the class for the college age students who were there. That included one young man that Vitek has just began studying with. Following supper, we all gathered again for the last structured study of the day. An older couple that has been visiting the assembly of the Litomysl church came to that class.
The weekend study in the highlands village has quickly become one of the highlights of each trip. On Friday I traveled by train to Pardubice. Given the role the work in Pardubice played in the genesis of the church in Litomsyl, I always feel nostalgic when my travels take me there. Marek came by car to pick me up, and as we traveled he filled me in one a number of good things going on with the Christians in the area. We had some time before supper and as we awaited the arrival of others, so he took me for a walk in the forest to see a quarry that his family has an interest in. It’s was lovely area, and the exercise helped me get some blood flowing again after the trip.
After a wonderful, typical Czech supper we had our first session. More than 20 of us gathered in their living room for the first study. After I presented some material on the archeology and geography of the last hours in the life of Jesus, we had another 30 minutes or so of lively discussion before settling in for the night.
Thursday was a very unusual day in that I did not have any studies scheduled. I spent the day catching up on trivial things like laundry as well as doing some final prep work for the weekend in the Czech Highlands. In some ways having a day like this troubles me, but on the other hand it lets me recharge my battery just a bit and hopefully helps me be more productive for one of the most important opportunities I have during my trip. (It also makes my backpack smell better as I travel.)
I’m often asked to share a little more about day to day living in the Czech Republic. I wish I had more time to do this in words, but hopefully a few pictures will help. What you see below includes a picture of a hotel that we used for studies 28 years ago, as well as a couple of shots from my current flat, and an autumn market scene.
While I’m not trying to post on most of the personal studies/conversations I have, I will share a few reflections. As is always the case, what appears at the time to be a mixed bag of results is often the case here. I had a wonderful discussion with one of the brothers here who is still working to hone his skills in teaching others. This is in spite of the fact he has a wonderful track record of bringing people to the Lord. Maybe this should inspire us as well.
I also had a much more somber discussion with a lady who, after a number of years of deemphasizing the importance of talking to her daughter about the Lord has now- perhaps too late- decided to work on that. On other fronts, one door that I had thought had opened seems to have now closed while two others have somewhat unexpectedly opened. In another case, scheduling issues have hindered discussions that both of us have been working to have. I believe the lessons here are, in part, to keep pressing, trust in the power of the word, pray for skill in using the opportunities that arise, and care for the people we are privileged t encounter.
Each time I come, Honza Novak and I find a way to spend most of a day together- often outside of the city. This is one of the highlights of the trip. He is, without a doubt, one of the spiritual leaders of the church in Prague, and our studies have an impact on the entire group.
On Monday we traveled to a nearby village where he has a business venture. The hours together gave us time to study and reflect on many things at a leisurely pace, talking as we often do- while doing other things. His earnestness and practical insights are both challenging and encouraging for me.
We enjoyed a classic village lunch in a vertically integrated shop that included a farm to table process. As we traveled back to Prague, on a whim we stopped at the memorial to the soldiers who parachuted into their country during WW II to kill Heydrich. (It is worth looking him up if you are not familiar with the story.) On the way back to his house, we picked up his teenage son from school, and that afforded me the opportunity to spend some time talking with him.
Upon arriving at his house we were greeted by his delightfully hospitable wife, Pavla who fixed supper for us. Our visit continued for some time before Honza drove me back into the city center.
The summer here was really warm and the fall has started out that way as well. Even the evenings are warm enough the a very light jacket is adequate. People are enjoying outdoor activities including using a building in Old Town Square as a screen