Monday, July 22, 2013

Cobwebs in the Czech Republic

My pastor friend Zdenek has just finished loading our team's luggage into the church along with me (a relief after three days of travel). It's Saturday afternoon, so there's nobody else around his small, square, gray church - a humble appearance totally unlike what you see from Christian churches in America, or even ancient cathedrals right down the road from here in Vysoke Myto, Czech Republic.

In the quiet heat of the afternoon, Zdenek locks up the church, then pauses and reaches out with his foot to brush away cobwebs from the corners of the front steps.

It's a profound gesture for me, all too indicative of what this country has become spiritually.

The Czech Republic is what the United States will become in a few decades on its present course - a spiritual zombie. It looks animated; towering cathedrals stand everywhere in evidence of its rich Christian history. Like America, the heritage is unmistakeable. But it doesn't matter anymore. It's dead. Don't let appearances fool you. Atheism, materialism, and empty reason have taken over. And peaceful prosperity. 

There might be no country in Europe where God - at least on the surface - feels less urgent or more irrelevant to the people. To them, it's like believing in a fairy tale. Something akin to "I've given my heart to Santa Claus, and you should too."

This small but vibrant Baptist church, one of the few remaining, runs English camps. They bring in Americans to teach the locals English while building relationships with them in order to display the love of God. Progress is slow. Only a relative handful of new brothers and sisters have been rescued in twenty years of ministry since the Soviet Union fell.

The spiritual soil here is hard and unyielding, but the Czech Christians are undaunted. The camp's theme this year, in fact, is farming and agriculture - sowing and reaping. They refuse to believe the ground is irrecoverably dead, even though crops usually take a while to appear.

I want to agree with them.

Seventeen of us from Montana and Virginia are here for a week teaching English in the mornings, while Czech believers present spiritual messages in the evening. In between, our job is simply to get to know people. Show that being with Christians is the same as being with God: amazing. Something that just can't be matched.

Please pray for us. And I mean, really pray. I have Czech friends I've prayed for daily for months to be delivered from hell's grasp into God's love. The Czech believers, for their part, need endless encouragement and strengthening as they do God's work of reanimating a corpse, restoring color and freshness to a faith covered with cobwebs.

We are doing well. Pray that spiritual warfare will be resisted. That the Holy Spirit will turn us into the best possible friends and allies. That God will do things that would have been unattainable years ago.

Na shledanou.

1 comment:

  1. This is so true. But don't let this spirit of discouragement get you down! Pray and fight against it! God has huge and amazing things He wants to do here in the Czech Republic, and I wholeheartedly believe that we're about to see the break... a turning point between the death and darkness and a birth into a new life in this country! I think God is about to start a cataclysmic wave of change in the hearts of His beloved people here in the Czech lands.