Czech Republic


Dates:  July 12-23

Grace has been invited to send a team to the city of Cheb to serve alongside a youth group and continue a partnership that goes back many years.  The team will assist in running a “City Camp,” focusing on outreach to teens and young adults that will include English teaching, sports, games, and sharing the gospel in evening talks.  They will focus on relationships and friendship evangelism.

Updated Wednesday, July 23
Our Czech Team arrived safely at LAX this afternoon, bringing to a close a whole new approach to our outreach in Cheb.  Thank you for your interest in this ministry and for your prayers for our team these last couple of weeks.

Be sure to join us for the the GO Team Celebration on Sunday, August 10 at 12:15 in the F Mod, where you will hear exciting reports from the Czech team and the Mexico team.

Updated Tuesday, July 22
E-mail from Lauryn
We are leaving for Prague today!  We will be staying at the Krystal Hotel for one night and getting up at 3 am to catch our 7 am flight back to California. The team is exhausted from camp, yet we are so happy with the results! Pray for safe travels! 

Updated Monday, July 21
2 e-mails from Lauryn

Update #2: English class is a wrap! The American team had a follow-up with the Czech team, going over amazing stories and ways the camp can improve next year. We said good bye to several of the campers, who thanked us for our hard work. One girl named Ellie, was especially impacted by the City Camp. Previously, she declared that there was no God and that she had no religion. While she appreciated the principles and good morals that the evening talks had, she didn't think Christianity was for her. However, 6 days later, she shared that her friendship with Julia caused her to question her lack of religion. She exclaimed that her lifestyle left her empty and confused. She noticed that something was different with the American team and the friendliness they had was refreshing. Ellie said she would look into Christianity and try it out! Extraordinarly, she went from professing that no God existed to confessing that she didn't know what to believe. So many stories like Ellies' occured during the camp. God truly did amazing things this week!

First e-mail: Brief update! After the Amazing Race, we had another day of English classes! But the best part was the evening discussions by far. Jon and Lauryn's group had some great conversations. The campers started to let their guard down and share very personal stories. One student named Emil, shared his opinion on religion. He declared that he believes there is a "higher power" but he does not know what to call it. As a result, Jon told his testimony to his class, which opened many doors. The campers were intently listening and asked a lot of important questions. The rest of the team members had very similar experiences! They all exclaimed that the kids were showing intrigue!

Updated Saturday, July 19
E-mail from Lauryn
Germany, Here We Come!

Today was Part 1 of the "Amazing Race", which was organized by our host Viktor and his team. Everyone was split into 11 groups and sent out by train to Munich, Germany! The campers and us were nervous, yet very excited to start.

It was a competitive race, to say the least. What's a better way to get to know the Czech people than to frantically run around in a forgein country with them? Based on the reality television show, the Amazing Race forces the teams to race each other, with various "checkpoints" or challenges along the way.

Aside from building teamwork, it was a great way to sightsee the famous landmarks of Germany! Joe and Wes were super excited to be in the country who won the World Cup. We even got to see the Allianz Arena! It was a frantic rush that day, and unfortunately, all the teams got lost at the Arena. Nicole's team was stuck in there for 2 hours and emerged sweaty and frustrated. Other checkpoints included the Olympic Stadium and the Outer City Wall of Germany. Jon and Julia's team finished first, while Candace's team placed last. Julia became fast friends with a Czech girl named Ellie during the race. By spending time together and chasing trains around Germany, they were able to open up and have great conversations. Wes' team forfeited and opted to take a nap on a bench instead.  

Thankfully, everyone made it back safely at the church in Munich. The regular evening talk led by Martin was inspirational. He talked about the Beatitudes and how upside down it would seem for the meek, poor in spirit and etc. to be blessed. I think it was a great segue into deeper conversations with campers.

Later that night, everyone slept in sleeping bags, huddled on the ground. It was definitely a unique way to bond! We are becoming fast friends with the Czech leadership too. People like Patrick, Vitek and Nora are very inviting and treats us like brothers and sisters.  Anyways, tomorrow we leave for Czech again! We can't wait to connect with our English classes and get the ball rolling!

Updated Thursday, July 17
E-mail from Lauryn
City Camp-Day 1:  The first day of camp has been amazing! The team was introduced to the Czech youth group leadership, where they debriefed us with details of the City Camp. After some worship and a morning devotional, the campers arrived to the church! Quickly, the room buzzed with excitement and flurried introductions.

We greeted new faces as well as many returning Czech campers, who were split up into Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner English classes. Members of the Grace team were either Teachers or Assistants. The classes went pretty well! The campers were eager to learn English and work on their grammar and vocabulary.

The first day's lesson focused on Health and Fitness! Jon and Lauryn's Advanced class had good dialogue. They were suprised at how well the campers' English had improved since last year! Nicole and Wes' Beginner class was shy at first, but began open up as the hours went by.

After the lessons, both campers and teachers walked to the field to play a huge game of "Blob Tag" and "Tree Tag". We noticed that friendships began to form and everyone was a lot more relaxed.

In the evening talk, Jon gave a great sermon about the theme of the camp, which was "Upside Down". The focus was on how God's Kingdom seems crazy to the rest of the world, but is so worth it. He read from Matthew 20:1-16. However, the evening discussions are where the campers get a chance to process through the talks given each night. Tonight, they were a bit guarded and answered the questions hesitantly. But as the week progresses, we are sure wonderful things will happpen!

Well, we are off to bed and exhausted after a long day. Until later!  

Updated Monday, July 14
The Czech team left for LAX on Saturday evening, arrived safely in Prague on Sunday, and traveled to the town of Cheb to meet up with our hosts and prepare for the outreach camp that starts today.  Thanks for praying for their impact!  We will post news on this page as we receive it all week.