Team Praha 2019: Each Week Was a New Adventure
by Kelsey Veldheer, Branch of Hope OPC, Torrance, CA (August 2019)
Note: Czechs prefer that their photos not be shared online, so photos from the Team Praha trip posted at OPCSTM.org tend to be of the team members only.
Mission work has been an interest of mine for a while, and Team Praha was a team I was particularly eager to join. Many people I look up to in my church have gone on this trip, so I was very excited to become a member of this team for the first time.
Team Praha serves for three weeks, and each week was a new adventure!
The team led a VBS for the children of adults who were attending a Biblical counseling conference. It was an enjoyable and exhausting week of Bible lessons, singing, crafts, and sports, but it was an excellent way of getting into the swing of things and resisting jet lag. The first week was also great for getting to know the team members better, building up friendships, coming together to work as a team, and meeting and serving many new people and their children. It was amazing that despite the age, language, and cultural differences, we all shared a common bond through Christ and were able to come together as His children in worship.
We went on a hiking trip in the mountains with a lot of believing and non-believing Czech teens who were around my age. The first few days were a little rough, but it was just a matter of breaking the ice and getting to know one another. Each day it got easier as everyone warmed up to one other. The hikes provided an excellent opportunity to get into some good witnessing conversations and discuss our faith. A lot of Czech teens were very open about sharing their testimony, were always curious, and had great questions about the Bible. I had the opportunity to share my testimony with them during one of the nightly Bible studies led by Team Leader, Pastor John Shaw.
The team and I are so blessed to have made so many new friends, and we are all so thankful that God gave us opportunities to discuss our love for Christ. Before the trip, I was preparing myself to go over there and be an encouragement to them, but what I wasn't expecting was to come home full of encouragement I received from them.
In Prague, we ran a VBS for the local kids at the school where missionaries Jerry and Marilyn Farnik's church meets. it was another week filled with Bible lessons, singing, crafts, and sports, with kids who had an endless supply of energy. A lot of the kids that came to this VBS came from an unbelieving household, so not only was it an excellent opportunity to share the gospel with the children but also with their parents
At the end of this week of VBS, we had a closing program for the parents where the kids got to share everything they had learned. At the end of the program, we invited them all to come to church on Sunday. I wasn't expecting a lot of them to come, but I was praying that at least a few would. Sure enough, a lot of the families came to church that Sunday. One of the older kids from the VBS even came on his own. I felt so overwhelmed with joy seeing all those families walk into church that Sunday morning in a country where almost every man and woman denies the gospel or doesn't even know the gospel.
God truly is doing amazing things in the Czech Republic. I'm so blessed that I was able to be part of Team Praha and learn so much from my team members and new Czech friends. I'm so thankful for my church, family, and friends for supporting me both financially and in prayer, and for the Farniks' hosting us. Mission trips are something I would love to continue doing. If mission work is a calling for you, be in prayer for opportunities like Team Praha. 1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of Gods grace in its various forms (NIV).
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