A Great Walk

There are many great kinds of places to spend time discussing God’s word.  This cold but lovely afternoon found us in a beautiful park setting combining a long walk with a good talk.  We needed the good walk after a great meal. In addition to getting to study and visit, I got to hold one of Pavla’s precious grandchildren.

A quick trip back into the city center gave me just time to grab a bite before a rewarding study with two of our college students. Their dedication and hunger for knowledge inspires me.

 

Study in a Small Town

Honza’s friend Peter is a good man I met on a previous trip.  He lives in a small town near Prague where, in addition to his regular work, he handcrafts harps and does paintings. He had and has a lot of questions about the scriptures. Honza and I decided to spend an afternoon with him studying, visiting, seeing the town, and looking at some of his work.  It was a very pleasant trip and visit.  I so wish I could spend more time with him on his journey towards faith.

Prague Lecture

The church in Prague has worked hard to keep the public lectures viable despite a lack of many visible signs of success.  I’ve admired and encouraged their efforts to be creative and positive.  I’ve seen what I perceived to be signs of progress, but I’m not sure of they have or not, until tonight.  Tonight, I think the positive turning the corner was clear.  Though the weather was not good, and we had some technical issues that threatened to make the whole thing a mess, it all came together.  We had not only the best crowd we have had in years, but also some great follow up discussions.  We had to halt the Q&A because our allotted two hours was over.  The pictures show members visiting with one another, with visitors, setting up the table of free literature, and setting up the projector.  I wish they could show the encouragement the brethren felt at the end of the night.

First Day

Tuesday was the kind of day that makes me love the work here so much. It included the basics of the work.  I worked on preparing a couple of studies and then did them.  The hour plus trip to the suburbs included a ride on a bus that has this fascinating accordion hinge to let it make the corners.  If you suffer from motion sickness, you don’t want to be behind the hinge.  If you get on quickly, you can get the best seats.  Seeing this mom and her kids took me on a trip down memory lane.  The delightful evening began with a study with the couple’s two young children, and it ended with a study for the parents.  In between we packed a lot of visiting and a great meal.  The picture captured the essence of this godly family.  I’m just sorry I didn’t get a good shot of Monika.  As usual, she was working in the kitchen preparing the meal.

Made It

My trip was safe and comfortable.  I even had an empty seat beside me on both flights.  The only hiccup was in Frankfurt.  Someone flew an unauthorized drone over the airport.  That completely shut things down for a while, but thankfully my flight was only delayed a few hours.  Others were cancelled.  I did get settled in early enough to be able to talk to some folks and finalize study plans for the week.  All in all, it was a good day.

Productive Day

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.

A Day in Sofia

My first full day’s schedule allowed me to get out and see the city center for a little while.  The warm weather is giving folks great opportunities to be out on the main shopping street and in the park that adjoins the National Palace of Culture. I’m overwhelmed by the changes that I see, but made nostalgic by the things that have stayed the same. The arts are still revered, and a guy can earn a couple of bucks by bring out the bathroom scales and charging people to weight themselves.  My Wi-Fi wasn’t working, so I needed find a place to access it. Rather than an old-school internet café, I have a very trendy tea shop 100 yards from my flat hat has blazing internet.

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.

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In Sofia

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.

Special Family

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.

Finishing Up

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.