Thursday, August 1, 2013

Mountain Dew in Vysoke Myto

"YES!" I hollered to the ceiling, grabbing the bottle off the shelf of the Vysoke Myto convenience store. Unlike the bottles I'd seen in the U.S., this one was colored yellow, almost seeming to glow. I hadn't expected to find it here; I was under the impression that it had been banned in Europe because of some ingredient they didn't like. Probably for good reason.

But there was no mistaking the label. It was Mountain Dew. In the Czech Republic.

Or at least it looked like it. Some things have a habit of tasting different over there. Would this be familiar? Would I be ambushed by something awful-tasting, like Diet Mountain Dew? Would it be watered-down like their Fanta?

After returning with exultation to my host family's house, I gave thanks and broke the seal. It was delicious. Barely distinguishable from what I knew back home. Good times.

God is like this as well.

We're back from our mission to the Czech Republic, and we can't regard it as anything but a resounding success. Our team was strong and cohesive, our Czech friends and hosts were as gracious and loving as ever, and most importantly, God was himself. The same as he is in America - unchanging, attentive, encouraging, and powerful.

I'm grateful enough to everyone who supported us financially and through prayer, that I could give them a body slam. But some of you wouldn't like that. So, this post.

I wish I could tell you everything. I'm a detail guy. It's so frustrating for me when people ask me, "So how was the Czech?" because I hate to reduce it all to a 60-second sound bite. So I mumble a non-satisfiying "It was good" and inside I'm like AAAARRGGHHH because I'd need at least an hour to give you a picture that does it justice.

We went to a family camp, taught English to Czech friends both new and old, had a lot of fun. A lady came to know Jesus Christ as her savior. In the atheist Czech Republic, one person is a revival. You'll have to shed your traditional American picture of revivals in order to appreciate this, involving converts in the dozens or hundreds. That's not how it works there. It's a materialistic country that just doesn't believe in what it can't touch. Yet this woman was clearly navigated to the camp, and to God, by God.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day." John 6:44

That was the best part, but it wasn't the only rumblings we saw. More and more spiritual progress is becoming evident over there. We met more believers from communities in other cities that we hadn't known existed. More and more good people to share Christ with their peers. Folks we've prayed for for years are more and more interested, open, thoughtful. The Czechs are taking over more and more of the ministry for themselves, increasing the trickle to a thin flow.

More and more. This is our God. Every one of us was encouraged and relieved. A Czech ministry friend described it as a season of "pure joy".

God isn't any different when he works in the Czech Republic. We don't have to worry about any weird shifts, any filters or sudden silences from him. He shows up, and he's the same person we know in America. Full of infinite goodness.

Except for being bad for the teeth. That's a quality of Mountain Dew that I could live without, honestly.

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