Archive for September, 2008

Marek and Pavla (CZ08)

by Sarah Hu

Meet Marek, Pavla and their rambunctious baby, Kuba, who never sleeps. They have been attending the church in Ostrava for 3 years. Although most of their communication with each other is accomplished by “what exactly do you mean” stares, here are some highlights of the interview.

How did you become a Christian?

Marek: I grew up in a Christian family so I had heard about God and Jesus when I was young. But when I was 17 or 18 years old I had to think these things out for myself. I knew that all that I had learned was true and important for my life so after I asked it someone could baptize me and asked Jesus to lead my life.

Pavla: I did not grow up in a Christian family. When I was at the university I met Marek. When a group of us were eating together I thought in the beginning Marek looked sick. It turned out later that he was praying. To be blunt, after I fell in love with Marek, he didn’t want me and I didn’t know why. Later he told me about God and what he believed in. After, he went to Scotland to pick strawberries for a year, I decided to a go to church—a different one than his because I wanted to be sure I was not doing this for him. There I learned about God and later about Christ, and I decided sometime after to become a Christian.

What have you learned about marriage?

Marek: I have leaned that there is a lot of compromise. Also when you live with someone you learn what will drive them crazy, but you have to be careful not to use those things because they will hurt the other person. In the beginning it was very difficult to live with each other—we argued a lot but with each month we got better.

Pavla: The first year was pretty difficult. I don’t know how we would have done it without God. I am always reminded of the verse [Ephesians 4:26] to not let the sun set while you are still angry.

As new parents, what have you learned about parenting?

Marek: It’s is a big responsibility to have a child. I have read some books, asked other men in the church what they would do in certain situations but mainly I ask God to teach me how to be a good father.

Pavla: Children are such a blessing but if you don’t have a good relationship in the beginning where you learn to compromise and work together it is very difficult. I feel that Marek and I have gotten stronger because you have to be willing to compromise even more and be more patient.

How would you describe Kuba in 3 words?

Pavla: Blessing, blessing, blessing.

Marek: God’s gift, responsibility, joy

How did you find this church and why did you decide to stay?

Pavla: We had heard good things about Meinolf and the church. When we went, we enjoyed the worship and felt it was the most similar to Marek’s old church, so we stayed.

Marek: Three years ago there were only 4 men at the church to preach and lead. I saw an opportunity to help serve since I knew Meinolf and Olesh (elder) were already so busy.

What is your favorite thing about church/church family?

Pavla: I love the sermons and also the closeness of the people—I can see that we are unified in Christ

Marek: I feel that the members at this church feel comfortable to worship God freely. There is also great friendship and encouragement from people in the church. It is a great thing that the church is growing but I do feel a little more fearful as I start to know less and less people. It’s hard to find out what people are genuinely thinking or how they are doing.

How have you seen yourselves grow spiritually in the past few years?

Pavla: It is hard to say because when I feel that I have grown in a certain area, I still see that there is still so much more to learn.

Marek: When I first went to the church I was given a lot of responsibility due to the lack of men. So I read many verses for guidance and I grew a lot. But because there are more men now it is more difficult to continue pushing myself. Meinolf tells us that after every service we should make a decision to make some change in my life and carry it out that week. Otherwise you will never change. I am trying to do that every Sunday although it is very challenging. The Thursday night Bible study has been a blessing. I realize this group has made me more sensitive to other people’s hardships.

Is there anything you would like to say to Lighthouse?

Marek: I would like to see some of the past years’ team members come back!

Ales and Eva (CZ08)

by Angela Kim

I had the distinct privilege of interviewing an awesome married couple from the Church in Ostrava, Ales (pronounced “Alesh”) and Eva Novotna. I first got to know them during our second mission trip to Ostrava back in 2001. From the very first time, I knew they were very special. Individually and as a family, they stood out because of their extreme gentleness, kindness, love, and commitment to live completely for the Lord. Their love for one another, their children, and even to “strangers” is so clearly evident in how they treat one another, the fun activities that they do together as family (just ask them about their spontaneous excursion to Southern Italy), and how they give up their own beds for us when LBC team members come almost every summer. Now after many years, my initial love and appreciation for them only continues to grow. I hope you will get a glimpse of who they are and their heart for God through their responses to my questions.

How did you two meet?

Ales: We actually knew each other since we were young, around 15 years old. Our families knew each other. Our grandparents were friends. It was before we became Christians. We started dating and after a few years we broke up when Eva became a Christian.

Eva: It was kind of funny because actually it was Ales who gave me the Bible as a gift. Then a half year later, he became a Christian. [Ales has a big sheepish grin on his face.]

So, how did you both become Christians?

Ales: Through a student ministry called “Students for Christ” on campus when we were in school—University in Ostrava. It’s similar to Campus Crusade for Christ. A friend shared the gospel with me. I was 21 years old.

Eva: Same for me, through this student ministry in the university.

When and how did you come to this church?

Ales: It was one year after the church started in 2000. We were part of another church but moved to this one. Just prior to getting married, there was a Bible study that had begun meeting at Yarka’s house. It was during that time that Eva happened to be renting a room in Yarka’s house to attend school in the area and she would often join their Bible study. And then soon after we got married, we decided to move to this one.

In what ways are you currently serving in the church?

Ales: I preach every 5-6 weeks, teach children’s class, and help organize things for church events.

Eva: I also teach the children and pretty much support Ales in…everything he does [they both laugh]!

What kind of work do you do, Ales?

Ales: Well, I’m in the middle of a change right now. [Ales & Eva look at each other; they smile] Actually, my last day of work at my job was this past Friday. I resigned. I was kind of the head of controlling department, middle management… Recently, one of third of the employees got laid off. They kept on letting people go around me and I was about the only one left in my department. So my work got busier and busier and they kept promoting me to higher responsibilities. So I wondered if I should stay or go. I wasn’t able to spend much time with my family any longer and Eva and I have been talking about this for the past 2-3 months. We prayed about this for a long time. So when we decided that I would quit, it was a surprise for everyone. But I was so thankful that everyone at work wanted to know why I would leave this kind of a job. People thought I was crazy for leaving such a high position. And I wouldn’t get any severance pay. For the seven years I worked there, I tried to share the gospel with my colleagues but they didn’t want to hear much about it. Now, because of my decision, everyone wanted to know the real reason for leaving and why my values were different. My boss asked me “So, why are you leaving?”. I said, “Do you really want to know why?” He said yes so I said, “Can you give me 20 minutes?” And then we talked for a real long time. I started with Creation and we went all the way to the gospel!” [they both laugh again] And my colleague in Hungary even called me to ask the same thing. So I got the chance to explain to him everything as well. Because of this, I got to share more about the gospel the past few weeks than the whole time I worked there. Before, no one was interested in hearing me share about God. Now, everyone was curious and wanted to know why I would make such a decision. I even got to give a Bible to 6 people.

So, how would you summarize your reasons for leaving?

Ales: First, this job was taking so much energy and time from me. I wasn’t able to give much to my family and church. Often, I would have to miss attending events and I haven’t been able to have much family time. Also, I thought that my time at my job was fulfilled. There were many changes in the structure. It was the right time for me to leave.

Eva, how are you taking all of this? How do you feel?

Eva: I’m happy to have more family time. We both talked about this a lot and prayed for God’s direction. [smiling big] It’s okay. Ales: I will look for another job…but later, maybe to start in October. Next month, we have a church camp so after that.

Wow, that’s incredible. I’m sure God will provide the perfect job for you. What do you do, Eva? What is your day like?

Eva: I take care of the children and the home. I also homeschool my children. It’s been mostly for Misa, but Eliska will begin this year.

So, what do you appreciate the most about each other?

Ales: How she cares about me and the children. She supports me with ministry and work. I’m always encouraged by her words like when she says that I’m a “good husband” and “good father”.

Eva: His patience with me, with everyone. And he has also a good…how do you say, [they say something in Czech] practical care for the family and the home.

Would you share your prayer requests with us so that we may keep you in our prayers?

Ales: Thank you. That we would both have unconditional love for our kids and for their salvation. Also for our marriage, for our relationship. We have Friday date nights – we play games, talk, ask questions to one another and talk about them. And also for a new job!

So, let’s faithfully pray for our Czech friends, Ales, Eva, and their 3 children. Ales is truly Meinolf’s right-hand man at the Church in Ostrava and serves as one of the church leaders there.

Team Reflections (CZ08)

by Ted Su

It has been two weeks since the Czech missions team has been back to San Diego, and yet we are still buzzing with excitement over all that happened during the trip. As we have been sharing individually with people about the trip and also preparing for the missions report night, we have had an opportunity to reflect more on the great work that God did in and through our lives, and how He continues to affect the lives of the people we met in the Czech Republic.
One central theme about this year’s missions trip was prayer. As the team would pray together to start off each day and pray together to end each night, we saw how God accomplishes His divine purposes through the prayers of His people. From the lesson planning to the travelling to the dynamics of the team to the conversations we had with the students at the English camp, there was nothing too insignificant to pray for. In particular, many of us were challenged when we learned that one of the members of the church in Ostrava had been praying for the weather during the English camp. According to His perfect timing, it started raining moments after we had completed all the outdoor activities we had planned for that week! It simply affirmed the reality that God answers prayers—even about something as simple and seemingly mundane as the weather—and that as we pray, we are able to see His sovereign plan unfold and to marvel at His greatness and majesty.
Another major theme of this trip was being faithful to whatever the Lord calls us to do. Initially, some of us struggled with not having a defined role on the team and trying to figure out how God might use us. But as the trip progressed, we saw how our usefulness to God was not to be measured by our position or responsibility, but rather by a heart that is truly yielded and faithful to Him. Whether it was organizing the luggage tags for the team, leading the singing time, or praying for and encouraging others, what God desired from us was a humble spirit that is eager to serve and be used in any capacity. In coming down from heaven to this earth and living a life of a servant, Christ gave us an example for us to follow. We were thankful for the opportunities we had on this trip to grow in humility and in likeness to our Lord.
A third theme that stood out about this trip was having the proper perspective in building personal relationships. A significant focus of the missions trip was on developing relationships with the Czech people so that through our conversations and through the testimony of our lives, we might be able to share Christ with them. During the week of English camp, we tried to be intentional in our interactions with our students, not limiting ourselves to superficial conversations, but really challenging each of them to consider the truths of the gospel. When we spent time with our host families and with the members of the church in Ostrava, we sought to encourage and spur them on in their walks with the Lord. As our team discussed during debriefing how this missions trip would affect how our lives back home in San Diego, many of us felt challenged to be more purposeful in our relationships with people in the church, at work, and with our families and friends.
Needless to say, these reflections merely scratch the surface in terms of all that God did in and through our lives during the missions trip. We eagerly look forward to being able to share more of our experiences and reflections with you during our missions report night.

It has been two weeks since the Czech missions team has been back to San Diego, and yet we are still buzzing with excitement over all that happened during the trip. As we have been sharing individually with people about the trip and also preparing for the missions report night, we have had an opportunity to reflect more on the great work that God did in and through our lives, and how He continues to affect the lives of the people we met in the Czech Republic.

One central theme about this year’s missions trip was prayer. As the team would pray together to start off each day and pray together to end each night, we saw how God accomplishes His divine purposes through the prayers of His people. From the lesson planning to the travelling to the dynamics of the team to the conversations we had with the students at the English camp, there was nothing too insignificant to pray for. In particular, many of us were challenged when we learned that one of the members of the church in Ostrava had been praying for the weather during the English camp. According to His perfect timing, it started raining moments after we had completed all the outdoor activities we had planned for that week! It simply affirmed the reality that God answers prayers—even about something as simple and seemingly mundane as the weather—and that as we pray, we are able to see His sovereign plan unfold and to marvel at His greatness and majesty.

Another major theme of this trip was being faithful to whatever the Lord calls us to do. Initially, some of us struggled with not having a defined role on the team and trying to figure out how God might use us. But as the trip progressed, we saw how our usefulness to God was not to be measured by our position or responsibility, but rather by a heart that is truly yielded and faithful to Him. Whether it was organizing the luggage tags for the team, leading the singing time, or praying for and encouraging others, what God desired from us was a humble spirit that is eager to serve and be used in any capacity. In coming down from heaven to this earth and living a life of a servant, Christ gave us an example for us to follow. We were thankful for the opportunities we had on this trip to grow in humility and in likeness to our Lord.

A third theme that stood out about this trip was having the proper perspective in building personal relationships. A significant focus of the missions trip was on developing relationships with the Czech people so that through our conversations and through the testimony of our lives, we might be able to share Christ with them. During the week of English camp, we tried to be intentional in our interactions with our students, not limiting ourselves to superficial conversations, but really challenging each of them to consider the truths of the gospel. When we spent time with our host families and with the members of the church in Ostrava, we sought to encourage and spur them on in their walks with the Lord. As our team discussed during debriefing how this missions trip would affect how our lives back home in San Diego, many of us felt challenged to be more purposeful in our relationships with people in the church, at work, and with our families and friends.

Needless to say, these reflections merely scratch the surface in terms of all that God did in and through our lives during the missions trip. We eagerly look forward to being able to share more of our experiences and reflections with you during our missions report night.

Team Leader’s Reflections (CZ08)

by Pastor John Kim

Humbling. In one word, this was how I would describe the trip for myself. Making plans only to see them changed due to circumstances outside of my control. Getting sick at the beginning of the trip and not being able to participate fully. Getting stressed and feeling discouraged by my own failures to guard my heart attitudes. Yet through it all, there is one thing that shines through it all and that is the sufficiency of God’s grace. His promises are always true. His mercies are new every morning. He is indeed great in His faithfulness and though at times ministry can seem a bit repetitive, God is consistent in displaying His character.
This year’s trip was challenging for a number of reasons. No one, other than Angela and I, had participated in the English camp so it was going to be a whole new team with no experience in Ostrava. I was in an out of the hospital in the weeks leading up to the trip due to several health issues, which definitely made it a bit stressful in wondering if I could even go at all. In addition to all that, we had to raise funds for our whole family. But I can truly say that God was so good to address each and every one of the concerns mentioned and more.
The team was a joy to work with before, during, and even now after the trip. It was quite an interesting collection of individuals, most of whom did not really know each other well before the team was formed. But in the months leading to the trip ,as well as during the trip, God knit the hearts of our team members and it was probably the smoothest trip in regards to the conduct and attitudes of the team. The willingness to set aside individual agendas and to work together was something quite evident throughout the trip. The boldness to step outside of comfort zones was already shown through the café night performances at church before the trip. The concern for souls and willingness to share about Christ were characteristic of this team. As I was a bit incapacitated for the first half of the trip, I was forced to do a lot of observing, which was humbling but also encouraging as I had the opportunity to see how the rest of the team conducted itself.
It was also a great joy to see my family serve together. Angela is a stalwart partner in ministry and she again showed her capacity and heart for people as she taught the advanced class and talked with many of the campers. It was particularly encouraging to see how Jenna, Kara, and even Alyssa served as conversational assistants and spent time interacting with the campers, even getting a chance to share the gospel.
The English camp this year was limited to the youth so many of the members of the Ostrava church were not able to participate. But it was a blessing to see the young members of the church really step up and take charge in running the English camp. The Mellwig kids were vitally involved, from Katrin translating to Johannes directing. Matthias served behind the scenes in running the sound and video and Lukas was busy interacting with the friends that he brought from school. Meinolf attended the retreat and, while his role was not as upfront as other years, it was a great encouragement to partner with him again.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am so thankful for our church family. The prayers, the financial support, and the ongoing heart for missions is something that I am so thrilled to see and I look forward to the future as God would give us opportunity to represent Him from here to the ends of the earth. May God be glorified in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission to His glory.

Humbling. In one word, this was how I would describe the trip for myself. Making plans only to see them changed due to circumstances outside of my control. Getting sick at the beginning of the trip and not being able to participate fully. Getting stressed and feeling discouraged by my own failures to guard my heart attitudes. Yet through it all, there is one thing that shines through it all and that is the sufficiency of God’s grace. His promises are always true. His mercies are new every morning. He is indeed great in His faithfulness and though at times ministry can seem a bit repetitive, God is consistent in displaying His character.

This year’s trip was challenging for a number of reasons. No one, other than Angela and I, had participated in the English camp so it was going to be a whole new team with no experience in Ostrava. I was in an out of the hospital in the weeks leading up to the trip due to several health issues, which definitely made it a bit stressful in wondering if I could even go at all. In addition to all that, we had to raise funds for our whole family. But I can truly say that God was so good to address each and every one of the concerns mentioned and more.

The team was a joy to work with before, during, and even now after the trip. It was quite an interesting collection of individuals, most of whom did not really know each other well before the team was formed. But in the months leading to the trip ,as well as during the trip, God knit the hearts of our team members and it was probably the smoothest trip in regards to the conduct and attitudes of the team. The willingness to set aside individual agendas and to work together was something quite evident throughout the trip. The boldness to step outside of comfort zones was already shown through the café night performances at church before the trip. The concern for souls and willingness to share about Christ were characteristic of this team. As I was a bit incapacitated for the first half of the trip, I was forced to do a lot of observing, which was humbling but also encouraging as I had the opportunity to see how the rest of the team conducted itself.

It was also a great joy to see my family serve together. Angela is a stalwart partner in ministry and she again showed her capacity and heart for people as she taught the advanced class and talked with many of the campers. It was particularly encouraging to see how Jenna, Kara, and even Alyssa served as conversational assistants and spent time interacting with the campers, even getting a chance to share the gospel.

The English camp this year was limited to the youth so many of the members of the Ostrava church were not able to participate. But it was a blessing to see the young members of the church really step up and take charge in running the English camp. The Mellwig kids were vitally involved, from Katrin translating to Johannes directing. Matthias served behind the scenes in running the sound and video and Lukas was busy interacting with the friends that he brought from school. Meinolf attended the retreat and, while his role was not as upfront as other years, it was a great encouragement to partner with him again.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that I am so thankful for our church family. The prayers, the financial support, and the ongoing heart for missions is something that I am so thrilled to see and I look forward to the future as God would give us opportunity to represent Him from here to the ends of the earth. May God be glorified in our efforts to fulfill the Great Commission to His glory.

Missions Preparation Highlights (CZ08)

Preparations for the Czech missions trip started when the missions team was first announced in March and continued on until we reached Ostrava.
Prior to when the team was chosen, I really only knew one person (Ted Su) fairly well so it was interesting to see how God would bring such different personalities together to form a cohesive team. Our general missions meetings on Sunday afternoons were helpful to form a biblical view on missions and to build confidence on how to share the gospel, but much of the team building started during our separate Czech team meetings as we began planning for events, skits and praying for the Ostrava church and for each other. It was through working alongside each other and brainstorming ideas that I began to see my team members’ personalities, their hearts and their talents. Since no one had any formal teaching experience, many of us labored through many hours to put together our English lesson plans. A little bit of adversity helped bring us closer together.
Café Night preparation also brought the team together as many of us were pulled out of our comfort zones. Some practices went really well, and sometimes it seemed like we took a few steps backwards but everyone (both guys and girls) kept good attitudes and didn’t complain. I was particularly impressed with the extra time some of our team members spent practicing on their own, persevering for the sake of the Gospel. ;-)
But no matter how well prepared we were, we needed to remember that the only confidence that we could have was in God—not in our abilities or our planning. Our leaders reminded us that plans could change, and we needed to be flexible. Not surprisingly, we had many opportunities to be flexible when we experienced multiple changes and delays in our travel plans to Ostrava. The delays were actually blessings as they allowed our team to have extra time to bond with each other. Scary bus rides and long flights were filled with laughter, curious questions and times of encouragement. By the time we arrived in Ostrava, I could sense we had a genuine care for everyone on the team. This was important as we could minister to our students by our corporate witness—that they would know we are Christians by the way we care for and treat each other.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35

by Christopher Lim

Preparations for the Czech missions trip started when the missions team was first announced in March and continued on until we reached Ostrava.

Prior to when the team was chosen, I really only knew one person (Ted Su) fairly well so it was interesting to see how God would bring such different personalities together to form a cohesive team. Our general missions meetings on Sunday afternoons were helpful to form a biblical view on missions and to build confidence on how to share the gospel, but much of the team building started during our separate Czech team meetings as we began planning for events, skits and praying for the Ostrava church and for each other. It was through working alongside each other and brainstorming ideas that I began to see my team members’ personalities, their hearts and their talents. Since no one had any formal teaching experience, many of us labored through many hours to put together our English lesson plans. A little bit of adversity helped bring us closer together.

Café Night preparation also brought the team together as many of us were pulled out of our comfort zones. Some practices went really well, and sometimes it seemed like we took a few steps backwards but everyone (both guys and girls) kept good attitudes and didn’t complain. I was particularly impressed with the extra time some of our team members spent practicing on their own, persevering for the sake of the Gospel. ;-)

But no matter how well prepared we were, we needed to remember that the only confidence that we could have was in God—not in our abilities or our planning. Our leaders reminded us that plans could change, and we needed to be flexible. Not surprisingly, we had many opportunities to be flexible when we experienced multiple changes and delays in our travel plans to Ostrava. The delays were actually blessings as they allowed our team to have extra time to bond with each other. Scary bus rides and long flights were filled with laughter, curious questions and times of encouragement. By the time we arrived in Ostrava, I could sense we had a genuine care for everyone on the team. This was important as we could minister to our students by our corporate witness—that they would know we are Christians by the way we care for and treat each other.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  (John 13:34-35 )

Ready for Some Culture Shock? (CZ08)

by Helen Wong

When first asked to write the article about culture shock for the missions newsletter, I thought “Sure, why not?” since this would be my first overseas trip and there would be plenty for me to share about. I was the perfect candidate…or so I thought.
I would have to unfortunately say that I was wrong. By God’s grace and just the amazing wonder of how He alone can unite people from afar, I never once felt that far from home. The fact that about 6,000 miles and an ocean separated me from the area where I grew up, lived and rarely left for the whole of my life, did not even cross my mind. The Ostrava church felt like family and they opened up their homes and lives to us as if they had known us for years. It was an abundant outpour of love and support that made it even more difficult for us to leave them when the trip finally came to an end.
But before I leave you with the impression that there are barely any differences between the US and Czech culture, I will admit that there were some adjustments that needed to be made. To throw out a few items, one thing that stood out the most was the emphasis on lunch versus dinner. I am sure that some on the team, if not all, would agree with me. While in the US we highly value dinner as the large sufficient meal of the day, the emphasis in the Czech was on lunch. Dinner would sometimes consist of just bread with a simple snack and tended to be on the lighter side. I would sometimes find myself wondering if what was placed before me was all that we would get and hope for more.
Also, even though vegetables are included in their meals, they consisted mainly of bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes versus the vast array of green vegetables we have in the States (although some here would probably be more than happy about that). Moving away from food brings me to one thing that boggles my mind and perhaps a few others as well. Screens do not exist on windows, thus at night there was always a wonder of what the open windows would bring into the well light rooms. Bonding with nature is one way to look at it, but truthfully it wasn’t really that bad. It was actually nice at times to be able to stick your head out the window to survey your surroundings and admire God’s handwork. Also, why the US decided to have its own metric system confuses me. I’ve heard the complaint before, but now I’ve experienced it first hand. On top of trying our best to converse in English with each other (since it is not their first language), it was quite interesting trying to correlate the measurement of distance, height and time with the Czechs as well. It was funny how something so simple to speak about would sometimes be so time consuming and involve calculation.
Overall, the adjustments were more fun and interesting to note versus difficult. They just didn’t make the huge impact I initially thought they would and I believe it was because of the greater reason of why we were there: to serve and minister with the Ostrava church so that God would be known and glorified. God works in such a wonderful way. He changes our perspective and hearts so that it would not be focused on ourselves but on Him, so that things like culture shock becomes a small thing and is used for His glory.

When first asked to write the article about culture shock for the missions newsletter, I thought “Sure, why not?” since this would be my first overseas trip and there would be plenty for me to share about. I was the perfect candidate…or so I thought.

I would have to unfortunately say that I was wrong. By God’s grace and just the amazing wonder of how He alone can unite people from afar, I never once felt that far from home. The fact that about 6,000 miles and an ocean separated me from the area where I grew up, lived and rarely left for the whole of my life, did not even cross my mind. The Ostrava church felt like family and they opened up their homes and lives to us as if they had known us for years. It was an abundant outpour of love and support that made it even more difficult for us to leave them when the trip finally came to an end.

But before I leave you with the impression that there are barely any differences between the US and Czech culture, I will admit that there were some adjustments that needed to be made. To throw out a few items, one thing that stood out the most was the emphasis on lunch versus dinner. I am sure that some on the team, if not all, would agree with me. While in the US we highly value dinner as the large sufficient meal of the day, the emphasis in the Czech was on lunch. Dinner would sometimes consist of just bread with a simple snack and tended to be on the lighter side. I would sometimes find myself wondering if what was placed before me was all that we would get and hope for more.

Also, even though vegetables are included in their meals, they consisted mainly of bell peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes versus the vast array of green vegetables we have in the States (although some here would probably be more than happy about that). Moving away from food brings me to one thing that boggles my mind and perhaps a few others as well. Screens do not exist on windows, thus at night there was always a wonder of what the open windows would bring into the well light rooms. Bonding with nature is one way to look at it, but truthfully it wasn’t really that bad. It was actually nice at times to be able to stick your head out the window to survey your surroundings and admire God’s handwork. Also, why the US decided to have its own metric system confuses me. I’ve heard the complaint before, but now I’ve experienced it first hand. On top of trying our best to converse in English with each other (since it is not their first language), it was quite interesting trying to correlate the measurement of distance, height and time with the Czechs as well. It was funny how something so simple to speak about would sometimes be so time consuming and involve calculation.

Overall, the adjustments were more fun and interesting to note versus difficult. They just didn’t make the huge impact I initially thought they would and I believe it was because of the greater reason of why we were there: to serve and minister with the Ostrava church so that God would be known and glorified. God works in such a wonderful way. He changes our perspective and hearts so that it would not be focused on ourselves but on Him, so that things like culture shock becomes a small thing and is used for His glory.


About

The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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