Czech Mission Trip Wrap Up

Ta Cesta RetreatI’ve been quite inactive on the blog for the last few weeks. We had a great trip to the Czech Republic. It began with a few days in Pisek in Southern Bohemia by myself. I preached a sermon at Elim on the Gift of Marriage. Then for a few days I spent time with Christian brothers and sisters in Pisek. It was a blessing to be invited into the intimacy of family on the Sunday afternoon. My friends Inka and Petr brought me along to Inka’s family’s cottage. The property has been in their family since the 1600’s but was confiscated by the Communists. Inka’s father was able to get some of it back and has developed it by the sweat of his brow. It is a beautiful piece of property with a man made pond in which we fished that afternoon. Inka’s parents knew little English so I was able to practice a little German. I’m very rusty!

I was also able to give my testimony to a group of soccer players – which is kind of a joke since I am not very good at soccer. But they humored me both on the pitch and in my brief talk. The soccer camp is an evangelistic ministry to young men.teaching on the bar

Karla arrived on Wednesday for her first visit to the Czech Republic. The retreat I was speaking for began on Thursday evening. We had a wonderful time with the Christian family of Ta Cesta. I grew a deeper friendship with Sasa Flek and Mathias Schwender and met many new friends. There were about 40 people all together. Most were Christians but several were not. I taught on grace and on the kindness of God. I received good feedback and was blessed by the evidence of God’s work in the lives of people. I think the highlight for me was teaching on Genesis 3, while leaning on a bar in the Pension where we were staying. joel & Karla

After the retreat, Karla and I were able to have a few days holiday in Prague. A truly amazing city. And we had a memorable time. This was the first we’ve had an extended time together by ourselves, about 10 days in all, since our children were born seven years ago. The trip marked a new phase in our relationship. The toll child rearing has on a marriage is quite astounding. I had to apologize for something extremely hurtful I did to Karla in late 2008! It was only last week that we finally processed together an event that took place 5 years ago, but one that had been affecting our marriage unconsciously. That’s insane. But I suspect quite typical.

God is so good. Thanks for prayers.

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