(Written by Pastor Doug Sandy)

“Then he [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few;therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”  Matthew 9:37-38 (ESV)

I am constantly amazed at how God has been growing our relationship and ministry within the Czech Republic.  It has only been about two years since our first short-term mission trip as a church, but since that time, we have co-led four gospel-camps for youth, developed a means of sharing prayer requests between our two churches, and studied God’s word together through online platforms.  Most recently, I returned from the Czech Republic in April, where I was graciously allowed to present the Sunday sermon at the church we work with (view).  All of us have grown to love our brothers and sisters in Český Těšín for their genuine love for us and the gospel of Christ.  Although our cultures and language are different, our common citizenship in heaven brings us together.

You might be wondering, “why the focus on the Czech Republic, shouldn’t we be focusing on making disciples in the United States?”  It is a great question, and one that I have been asked often.  My answer to this has two parts.  The first part is that we should definitely share the gospel in Chandler, Mesa, Gilbert and our surrounding cities.  There are over 5 million people living in the Phoenix area, and about 3 out of every 4 of them have not accepted the Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  As we focus on making disciples within our home area, the tide of darkness is pushed back, one life at a time.  We absolutely are called to this.

The second part of the question, however, is more complex.  Sometimes when the question gets asked, there is a tribalism behind it that does not exist in the gospel.  Implied is “we will take care of ours, and they will take care of theirs.”  God, is clear, however, that we are supposed to make disciples of all nations and we do that wherever we are and wherever there is need. The Czech Republic is a country of vast natural beauty and a rich history of Christianity, but its witness for Christ was virtually eliminated due to communist rule.

Putting some numbers on this, the entire Czech Republic has only about 60,000 Christians to reach 10 million people.  The Phoenix metro area has over 20 times more Christians, to reach half as many people.  Our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Czech Republic can benefit from more helpers in God’s harvest, and we have an abundance of laborers. As “kingdom people” we see the need and help where we can.  Like at home, God’s light of truth and grace shines brighter with each heart touched, one life at a time.

This summer Family Bible Church will again be partnering with Josiah Venture and the Brethren Church in Český Těšín to help share the Gospel to the eastern region of the Czech Republic.  Josiah Venture’s vision is to build disciples among the youth in Central and Eastern Europe in such a way that whole societies are transformed.

Who is Going?

The FBC team consists of 12 people (Pastor Andrew, Shelby and Holden Carson, Carolyn Slater, the seven oldest Sandys, and Betsy Sullivan).  In addition to these twelve, Leah and Noah Sandy will be assisting as helpers, and Aidan Carson and Andrew Mickey will be joining our team as interns.  We will be joined by 14 Czech youth leaders from Český Těšín in the Czech Republic.

What will We be Doing?

We will be assisting in running a summer camp for Czech youth.  The camp will feature English language lessons, American sports, and a systematic way of introducing campers to Jesus.  The FBC team will be responsible for helping with music, devotions and teaching by embedding ourselves in the life of the camp and pointing people to Christ at every opportunity. The program has been very successful in the past, and many of the Czech team point to English camp as the reason for their salvation.  The theme of this year’s camp is “The Original”.  It underscores the uniqueness of Jesus and his plan of salvation for everyone who believes.

When is the Trip?

The team will leave on June 25 and will return on July 9.  This might seem like a long time from now, but there are a lot of preparations between now and then.

How Can You Help?

There will be other opportunities later where you can help purchase supplies for the camp.  More than anything else, we desire your prayers though.

Specific Prayer Requests:

  • Pray that preparation for the trip goes smoothly.
  • Pray for health of the mission team and our Czech counterparts.
  • Pray that God draws students for another full camp this year.
  • We are in the early stages of planning for having Czechs visit us.  Please pray that God provides clarity on how this should work.