Prague, Czech Republic
We had high hopes coming into the Czech. Many of our friends and connections spoke very highly of the country, especially of the esteemed Prague. And let me say, it did not disappoint. It makes sense in light of the 100,000 artists hired by King Charles IV to beautify his empire during the 14th century. Even Hitler, as crazy as he was, said that he would have no bombs dropped on the city of Prague to protect its beauty. Given that, Prague has a great number of ancient, beautiful buildings protected from devastation of war.
This trip has been a huge learning experience for us all. The deep history of Europe no-doubt affects the way these cultures interact, but we as Americans have been almost completely ignorant of what that history involves. For example, the Czech has been a region completely dominated by other nations since the 1600s. Since then, there have only been two short periods amounting to about 40 years that the Czechs have been independently governed. These influences have profound implications for how the people engage socially, politically, religiously, etc. Through our 5 interviews here in Czech, we learned about the deep skepticism many of the people hold toward any kind of institution, including the church. There is a sense that any new idea presented for the people to accept is only a ploy to dominate them and oppress them.
After the time of communism in the Czech, when all religion was nearly stomped out, the soil for the gospel is very hard. There is a huge need for Christians to be building relationships and living out their faith in a vibrant way here. We are encouraged for the work being done through the various churches and ministries active here, but the need is great. Dave Patty, president and founder of Josiah Venture, is confident that a time of harvest is coming for the Czech. Too many missionaries and pastors have been burnt out and thrown in the towel. It is a long-term commitment to be ministers of the gospel in this country. Please pray for the perseverance needed for the gospel to penetrate the hearts of people here.