Next Monday morning, 6/22, at a humane and reasonable hour (how new and different from my usual departure time of “o'dark thirty”!) I am leaving for a four-week missions/teaching trip to eastern Europe. My first week will be in the Czech Republic. (If, like me, you grew up during the Cold War years, you can be forgiven if you mean to say “Czech Republic” but “Czechoslovakia” keeps slipping out.) There's an interesting story behind how this door opened up.
Czech in My Spirit
Towards the end of last year's ministry trip to Romania, I traveled by train from Timisoara, Romania to Budapest, Hungary, and from there through Slovakia and the Czech Republic on the way to Munich, Germany. For most of the latter trip, I was in a quiet passenger car and I had a lot of time to pray. The train stopped briefly in Bratislava, Slovakia; shortly thereafter we entered the Czech Republic and something stirred in my heart. By the time the train stopped again at the station in Prague, I sensed in my spirit that I would be back, though I had no idea when or how.
Czeching with Friends
Actively involved in Romania missions; L to R: Yours truly, Raul Muntean, Al Strickland, Roy Olsen, Terry Swiney, George Barham, Sangyee Nam
My friend, missionary to Romania Roy Olsen, comes back to the States once a year during the winter months. (I'll be with Roy and basing out of his Romanian Apa Vie Ministries for most of July.) Back on December 12th, I joined a group of missions-minded fellows gathering for lunch with Roy to meet his friend, Korean missionary Sangyee Nam. “Sangyee,” explains Roy, “left South Korea 24 years ago following the Spirit's leading. Since then, he has planted five churches in the Czech Republic and two in England.” Out of that meeting came an invitation to minister in the Czech Republic on my next trip to Romania.
Czeching in at the Throne Room
For those of you who are praying (thank you!), here is your “Prayer Czech List” for this portion of the trip:
Czeching the Focus
Korean missionary to the Czech Republic, Sangyee Nam
Brother Nam describes his adopted country this way: “I would like to give you some information about the spiritual situation in Czech Republic. Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic countries in Europe, even though they claim Czech is a Catholic country. Czechs are also materialistic and secular, so they are much different from Romanians. We teach people to live for Christ 100% and become the disciples of Jesus, so if you touch on these areas of Christian life, it would be great.”
Pray that we (in that “we” I include my translator, Daniel Nam) would be completely yielded to the Holy Spirit's leading; and give thanks for the wonderful opportunity to preach Christ crucified and the fullness of the New Birth in such a place! The national motto of Czech Republic is “Truth Prevails.” May that motto prove to be prophetic!
Czech the Calendar (and Please Pray Accordingly)
Monday 6/22 through Tuesday 6/23 – I'll be “czeching” my luggage in Norfolk, Virginia (“A” on the first interactive map to the right) to Prague, Czech Republic (“D”) via Newark, New Jersey (“B”) and Düsseldorf, Germany (“C”). Besides the need for general “traveling mercies,” in Düsseldorf I will have exactly 65 minutes to de-plane, pass through customs, and catch the flight to Prague (something of a minor miracle). Arrival will be at about 2:30 AM Virginia time. The drive from the airport to Sangyee's home in Plzen (Plisen) looks to be about 50+ miles southwest from Prague.
Wednesday 6/24: Minister at the evening service in Plzen (“B” on the second interactive map to the right). The requested subject is an introduction to our Woman in the Kingdom of God series. (An appetizer for another visit, perhaps?)
- Friday 6/26: Minister at Horsovský Týn (“C”), about another 25 miles southwest of Plzen. (I'm not yet certain if this is part of the seminar training or a church meeting.)
- Saturday 6/27: Teach at the Bible school in Plzen (“B”). Here we'll spend a day on the subject of Hermeneutics, a fancy term for “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This seminar teaches pastors, teachers, and other leaders to ask-and answer!-the question “What is the context?” as they read, study, preach, and teach God's Word.
- Sunday 6/28: Preach in Plzen on the subject “God's Two Great Promises.”
Monday 6/29: Word is that we'll be able to tour the beautiful city of Prague, weather permitting (“D”). If so, I'm hoping to visit the small museum in Nelahozeves (northwest Prague, point “E” on the map), where stands the birthplace of one of my favorite composers, Antonín Dvorák. (Note to J.S. Bach: Your position as the favorite is not in jeopardy.)
- Tuesday, 6/30: I leave Prague airport (“A”) on Tarom, the Romanian airline, flying to the Romanian capital of Bucharest, and catching a plane in the late afternoon to Timisoara in western Romania, for a reunion with Roy and Melania Olsen, along with Cristi and his bride Lenuta.
Let Paul's words in Romans 15:30 set the tone of our prayer for this ministry in the Czech Republic: “Now I urge you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God for me” that God's presence, power, and the “spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ephesians 1:17) might be present in meetings and in each personal encounter.