The “Brno” Study which is now held regularly in Prague presented another great opportunity to spend time with brethren from various Czech churches. They graciously scheduled it around my schedule. We spent the 3+ hours of study and another 3 hours visiting in what proved to be a wonderful day. The approach I took to some stories from the gospels was new to them and created a very positive and lively discussion. It’s such a blessing to see all of them enjoying their time together. Watching the younger generations bond is priceless.
Over the years, little traditions have grown up around my days here. A fairly new is taking the college kids out to eat. They don’t seem to mind something other than school food. Our traditional place couldn’t give us a table, so we boldly ventured into a Tex-Mex place which proved to be surprisingly good. This cuisine was new for Katka and Kris, and they enjoyed it. The meal was sandwiched between Bible discussions with the group. It was another great evening.
When invited, I’m always happy to do a lecture in Prague. I admire their tenacity and innovativeness in continuing to try and keep experimenting with different approaches. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of disappointment. On my last trip, we saw some encouraging signs, so I was cautiously optimistic as we waited to see who would show up. As we waited, Honza prepared to video while little Terezka put visitor info in each chair. As it turned out, we had twice as many visitors as we did 6 months ago. They were attentive and engaged in a good Q&A session until we had to vacate the rented hall. Several of them took some of the free material, about half of them gave us contact info That’s really good for here.), and at least one of them will almost surely go to the church website for videos of some other lectures. The brethren were as excited as I have seen them in a while.
Honza, Monika, and the kids are such wonderful people. I enjoyed a great evening with them which included a lot of visiting plus studies with the children (Ondra and Terezka) as well with Honza and Monika after they put the children down for the evening, and of course. great home-cooked meal. It’s so heartwarming to see these godly parents focused on teaching their children about Jesus. After the class with the kids, Ondra and I wrestled a bit and then he asked if I could sit beside him at supper. It was a special night.
When most people think of Prague, they picture the classic, fairytale- like tourist areas which make it one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Real life for normal folks here look a bit different. Here are a few pictures to provide a taste of that.
Getting back to Prague was a bit of an adventure. Hristo, Vanya, and Biss were scheduled to pick me up Monday morning to take me to the airport for my flight to Prague that connected through Vienna. About an hour before we were supposed to leave I got a notice that the flight had been cancelled and I was rebooked on a flight that was going to create headaches on both ends of the trip. I called Expedia, who once again proved to be of great help. After an hour on the phone, they found a flight that would work much better of I could leave immediately for the airport. It involved a 5-hour layover in Munich and a late arrival in Prague, but it worked. The time on the airport allowed me to get some much-needed work done. Upon arriving in Prague, I went to the counter of a taxi company to inquire about prices. The girl quoted a general price, which knew was high, but assured me the trip was metered. I was tired and had spoken to her in English. When the driver came to the counter, she quietly told him in Czech the price she had quoted me, so with a big smile he greeted me in English. When I responded very comfortably in Czech, he became furious and the girl was embarrassed, but I paid the normal Czech price for the ride to meet the owner of the Airbnb flat who had been waiting on me.
Spending a Sunday in Sofia is always a delight. I met Biss for the 30-minute walk from where I was staying to the meeting pace. It was a beautiful morning, and the walk gave me an opportunity for my traditional Sunday morning mosque picture. The walk gave us time to discuss something while doing something we both really enjoy. Upon arriving at the meeting place the joyous reunions began with folks I have come to hold dear. The meeting that had me fighting back a tear was with Dinyu. He has come from the mountains to live in Sofia again, and promised to become a part of the church. At 91, he seems as spry as ever.
The attendance was good, and that included several families with children. As usual, the two young Egyptian girls taught a class for them. The Arabic-language Bibles were a reminder of their efforts to reach the Muslim refugees in Sofia. Many things about the assembly were very moving, but nothing more so that realizing that the three men “waiting on the table” were from Nigeria, Egypt, and the Ukraine. They represented such different backgrounds and cultures, but united in and by their love for the Lord.
As the meeting concluded, we went with Hristo, Vanya, and a young American girl named Jeanna to a Turkish buffet for lunch. After occupying a table longer than the server would have preferred, we went our separate ways. Biss and I spent a couple of hours walking and talking. Along the way, we met a young family who had recently fallen away. That gave us a good chance to try to reconnect. In the early evening, we went to Savella’s flat for tea and cake. That gave us a better chance to catch up with her on the difficulties she is facing. As we left, I was reminded again of the little things we take for granted. She had had her front door replaced, but the price didn’t included removal of the old door. Consequently, it was standing in the hallway annoying her neighbors. She was understandably unable to carry it down the several flights of stairs to the street. We were able to take care of that on our way out.