This past summer, a team from the Sam Houston State University, (SHSU) Huntsville, Texas Chi Alpha group was invited to help with a Creative/English Camp hosted by a church in the Czech Republic.
This past summer, a team from the Sam Houston State University, (SHSU) Huntsville, Texas Chi Alpha group was invited to help with a Creative/English Camp hosted by a church in the Czech Republic. The host Pastor, Stepan Hlavsa, and AGWM Personnel Steve Cuttino, helped the team to be prepared to honor the Lord with their work. The church used the camp as an evangelistic outreach tool by advertising in schools and buses that there would be native English speakers, music lessons, vocal lessons, and graphic design lessons as well.
Upon their arrival, the team met their hosts and the students they would be working with and had a prayer meeting and a “get-to-know-you” session. A train transported them out to the camp that was in a small town called Krasna Lipa. Aside from being home to the steepest hill known to man, it was a beautiful little spot. After some last minute preparations and meetings, 35 students arrived, 8 of them not part of any church.
The first night was spent watching a movie and playing some mixer type games. The next day, the regular program of classes was kicked off with English, Guitar, Drums, Bass, Vocals, and Graphic Design. The classes went really well, with Graphic Design being such a hit that three more class
periods were added for it. The team also put on a Texas Night teaching the students how to line dance and two-step, and shared historical facts about Texas with some fun games. There was a pepper eating contest, roping challenge, barrel races, quickdraw contest, and a few others. The Czech students loved it. The SHSU students did a great job of cultivating and fostering relationships with the Czech students and were intentional with their free time. It was amazing to see relationships blossom.
One of these relationships was with Petra, a gifted young woman. She was always cold, distant, and on the fringe of the group. She was there to polish up on her English, but one night she was playing piano sonatas from memory! She also practiced a religion that can only be described as occultic. One of the students, Shobi, absolutely wouldn't stop until she had won her heart and she did! By the week's end, Petra was asking about the gospel and even asked if the religion she practiced was wrong and bad. Shobi replied, "I am not sure how to answer, but what I do know is that from all I've read and experienced, it is dangerous." Petra came to church at the end of the week to see us one more time.
Another relationship that developed was between Katya and Jessica. Katya was a very good English speaker and was getting into western style horsemanship. It just so happened that Jessica was a part of the SHSU Rodeo Team and was working on her master's degree in agriculture! The two were inseperable almost immediately. Early on, Katya said that she was an atheist, her family was atheist, and she had no desire to talk about Jesus. The beautiful thing about our God is that he loves a person regardless of how they feel about Him, so the team became the avenue through which He showed his love for Katya. She developed a knack for roping, and she was floored when Jessica gave her one of her personal roping ropes. The rest of the week those two spent time together sharing their stories and hearts and growing closer and closer. On Sunday, back at the church in Usti, all the team were on the lookout for Katya, but she wasn't there when service started. After the first couple of worship songs, she came striding through the door and made a beeline for Jessica. As part of Pastor Stepan's message for that morning, Jessica gave her testimony and Katya had tears in her eyes.
The soil is hard in the post-christian and post-communist landscape of the Czech Republic, but as Winkie Pratney says, "Love and laughter plow the hardest hearts." The SHSU team tilled the rocky soil and broke up the hard ground in hopes that the seed of the Gospel would take root.