I don’t think I have ever really talked about the hotel that we stay in when we pass through Prague. They name “Krystal” (Crystal) might inspire thoughts of elegant chandeliers, fancy carpets, and mints placed on pillows along with the evening turn-down service. If this is your expectation, it certainly wouldn’t last long. The exterior repetition of concrete and steel balconies of the structure give off a communist-era vibe even though the hotel (I have been told) was renovated many years ago. A wide flight of narrow steps greet you as you ascend to the front door, and wood-paneled, yet somehow still unassuming reception area is barricaded behind a wall of plexiglass. The service is friendly and the rooms (sparse by American standards with no artwork on the walls) are a comfortable base for us that is both close to the shuttle to the airport in one direction, and the metro to the city center in the other.
This is my eighth time staying at the hotel, and I was surprised to find out something new about it. This monolith from communist past is a is also the home of a Christian Church of the same denomination that we work with in Český Těšín. For some reason that speaks to me of how powerful our savior is. Like the first green sprig of spring breaking through the frozen snow covered ground, the kingdom of God is advancing in a country that once tried to silence it. The gospel, is powerful, transformative, and unstoppable.
Today the team spent the morning sightseeing and chatting with Josh, Anežka and Krištov Dietz (okay, Krištov didn’t say much). We then had a wonderful lunch of traditional Czech food in a small Czech kitchen in the Prague city center. In the afternoon some of us visited an exhibit at the Czech National Bank and a fancy Czech pastry shop where we tasted the treats and watched the chefs prepare the food. Our evening concluded with reuniting with our good friends in the English Camp ministry – Viet and Daja Do Pham, and their young daughter Mia. We first visited their shoe shop in Prague district 3, then had a wonderful dinner and visit in old-town Prague. Another friend – Thao joined us after dinner for a stroll through the Christmas markets. These people have all become quite dear to us and being reunited is a little bit like coming home to family.
Tomorrow will be a big day for us. We leave Prague for an early train trip to the eastern side of the country. Then when we arrive, we will be busy preparing for a very full camp. The students begin arriving at 3:00pm, and we are off and running.
Thank you for traveling along with us through our our blog. Your prayers and support are a huge encouragement to us. Please pray for the team as we travel and transition into full camp mode tomorrow.