(written by Pastor Doug Sandy)

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11:16 (New American Standard Bible)

This is my fifth trip to the Czech Republic in a span of eighteen months and I have two more trips planned before the end of July.  Czech missions are now ingrained into my daily pattern. The foundation of this mission trip was laid before the last one was over, and the first discussions about our summer trip have already begun.  I am always praying.  Always planning.  Always looking for opportunities to expand our partnership for the gospel.  The packed duffel bags next to me, rather than seeming out of place, just signal where we are in the cycle – we are leaving soon.

Perhaps one of the most interesting side-effects of this pattern of Czech Missions is that the sense of excitement over seeing and doing something new and “foreign” have largely faded away.  A trip to the Czech Republic is starting to feel more like a visit to my hometown in California, rather than huge trip across the sea.  Sure, the travel time is longer, but there are people there who I love and who love me.  We have served together, prayed together, worshiped together.  I see Christ in them as I hope they see Him in me.  Going to Český Těšín has the familiar feel of home.

So where is home really?  Is it the location where you pay your mortgage or rent?  Is it where you hang your hat?  Perhaps it is where your furniture lives.  Or maybe, as the saying goes, home is where the heart is.

For me, I think the last statement is probably closest to the truth.  Let me throw out a few scripture verses and then see if I can pull it all together.

  1. Philippians 3:20 says that my citizenship is in heaven. Not America, the Czech Republic, or elsewhere.  As a child of the King my citizenship is the kingdom of God.
  2. 1 Corinthians 12:13, Galatians 3:28, Colossians 3:11 – all say that the worldly distinctions of nationality are gone when we are in Christ. There is no Czech or American.  There is only “Christian”.  We are one in Christ.
  3. Hebrews Chapter 11 talks of the faithful recognizing that they are strangers on earth. They long for a better country – a heavenly one.  Because of this, God is not ashamed the be called their God.

God has been using the mission trips to the Czech Republic to grow my heart for His kingdom.  As I begin to see past cultural differences between our countries, I see the image of Christ more clearly in the lives of the people that I work with.  I see more clearly the Spirit of God working through the ministries of the local church.  And I see more clearly the heart of God to reach the not-yet-saved regardless of culture, or language.  I believe the sense of home that I feel when I am in the Czech Republic is not just because of the brothers and sisters in Christ that I know, but rather, a sense familiarity of fellowship in the Spirit of the God we serve.

So tomorrow we leave our temporary residences in Arizona for our even more temporary residences in the Czech Republic.  I am thankful to be serving alongside such wonderful friends.  I am excited to see how God uses this trip. And until the time that God calls me home, I am thankful to see glimpses of His Kingdom on both sides of the globe.

Prayer and Praises

  • Safe travels as we depart for the Czech Republic
  • Final preparations for Camp