(written by Pastor Doug Sandy)
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 (NASB)
Maybe you have noticed a large focus on the Czech Republic lately. December 12 marks the beginning of our church’s fourth short-term mission trip to the Czech Republic in a span of less than 2 years. We experienced Czech food together at our picnic. And November 10 we heard from Josh & Anežka Dietz, and Tiffany Short, our full-time missionaries in the Czech Republic. With all this activity around Czech, you might be asking yourself “why”. Let me see if I can explain a little.
The first answer to this question is that Jesus commands us to be global-minded about our task of making disciples. As the church, we are told to make disciples of all people groups (Matthew 28:19-20). Part of this is teaching and training people here in Chandler, Mesa, and Gilbert. Part of this, however, is being ambassadors of God’s love, grace, and mercy outside of our home area. For us, this means partnering with other believers in Mexico, Ethiopia, Czech Republic and around the world. We are making disciples globally out of obedience to Jesus.
The second part of my answer is that the need is great. Czech is one of the least religious countries in the world. Most of the country is either atheist or agnostic and fewer than one percent of the population is Christian. These are wonderful, bighearted, people who have very little cultural awareness of Jesus as the result of years of communist rule. Just like Paul aspired to preach the gospel where the name of Christ wasn’t already known (Romans 15:20), we have the privilege doing the same each time we travel to the Czech Republic. We are blessed to be able to work with a well-established Church in the region that is passionate about producing genuine disciples. They are dear brothers and sisters who been faithfully serving for decades. We get to partner with them.
The third answer, and the most personal, is this: God has placed a love of the Czech people in my heart and the hearts of all of us who have served there. We have built deep friendships as we have served alongside our Czech brethren. We have struggled together, prayed together, experienced victories and setbacks together, and we long to see their country transformed by the gospel, just as we long to see the same for ours. We pray, even though we are away, that God will also continue to work through the church and in the hearts of those that we love who have not yet given their lives to Christ. We look forward to each return to see what God has done.
Here is what we will be doing on the mission trip this December:
- Host a weekend English camp for Czech Youth. The camp is titled “Indescribable Gift” and is themed around Christmas traditions and the meaning of Christmas. This camp will be similar to what we did over the summer, but will have fewer students, in a somewhat cozier setting.
- Join a meeting of the “English Club” at the CB Těšín Church for further fellowship and sharing time.
- Meet with the leadership of the CB Těšín Church to explore further ways that we can work together for Jesus in both of our countries.
Thank you for your prayers and support in this ministry. We look forward to sharing with you more about how God is using it to transform lives on both sides of the globe.
- Health for the team as we prepare for this trip.
- Wisdom as we work with the Czech team to plan the remaining details.
- Students with open hearts to attend the camp and English club.