So I have now been home for about a week. It is kind of surreal when I think about it. Part of me feels like the Czech was months ago while the other half feels like camp just ended yesterday. I miss it a lot, although there are some nice things about being home too. I feel like so much happened in the 3 weeks while I was gone that I don't even now where or how to start. I've thought about the trip a lot, but I've also been really busy so I don't think I have really reflected on everything. But I think some of the major things that I took away from it all are the following:
1. Discussion time-WOW!!! I have never had a group of students quite like the ones in my class this year. They were all so interesed in what we had to say and all particiapted even on the first night. Now that might not seem like a big deal, but it is not how a normal discussion group goes early in the week. The students are usually slow to open up and talk about their lives, but my class this year was just ready to go. They wanted to know why we believed what we believe, how are lives are different, what we think about different issues, religions, etc. They were really searching. They didn't just want to sit around and debate little issues just to argue with us but they really wanted to listen and learn- to weigh what we had to say and see what they believed. I became so close to the students in my class, and I definitely miss them. It is so hard to build these relationships with them and then have to turn around and leave, especially when some of them are so close to believing and having a relationship with Christ. But I know God is in control. The seeds have been planted and it is comforting to know that we are not just abandoning these students but that we are intrusting them into God's hands, praying that the students will continue to meet with people from the Zlin church and youth group.
2. I have never seen so many prayers answered so quickly and obviously. It was amazing! I know prayer is important, but this trip just solidified the fact that God does hear us and He is always faithful. I am so thankful for all the prayer support that we had coming from home. It is a long hard three weeks, and it would not have been possible without all of the prayers. It was raining, we prayed for sun and it was sunny. People were sick, we prayed they would be healed quickly and they were. Those are just two small examples, and there were many other larger ones. I think so often we forget the power of prayer. It shouldn't be something that we only do occasionally or in big and hard situations, but we should always be praying and praising God.
3. Moje Čeština je kostrabata (My Czech is bumpy-although I couldn't get the right accent marks on it). After 3 weeks of being around broken english and not being able to speak Czech, my english is now a little bumpy too.
4. Tonight we had our last team meeting/picture party/mexican food dinner. It was so good to be back with the team again. This team was amazing. There were 17 of us (12 from AZ and 5 from Iowa) and we were 17 very different people. Although we were all so different, you cold tell that the team was totally picked by God. We each had a different gift and personality to contribute to the team and to camp. Philippians 2:1-4 "If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider other better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." That is how are team worked, everyone serving each other and the students with the gifts, talents, and abilties we each had. It was such a wonderful example of how the church is supposed to be. During debriefing in Prague, Joe was talking about our team and the example of how it was the body of Christ-Christ is the head and each of us a different part of the body all working together. If one person hadn't been on our team, it would have been completely different, something would have been missing and the dynamics would have been changed.
So I know this post was really long and if you read the whole thing, thank you. A lot happened over the last 4 weeks, and I just wanted to share a little bit of how the trip went, the work God did and is continuing to do, and the impact it has. Please keep these students (especially Mira, Anicka, Ondra, and Linda), the Zlin church, and the Czech Republic in your prayers.