Posted by: Craig | 21 October, 2011

First ever National Student Conference for UKH

To kick of this academic year we had a National Conference bringing students from across the Czech Republic and even Romania. We had 2 days to explore the letter to the Philippians so we invited Adam Jones, the General Secretary of IFES Ireland, to come and lead us through that. With Marathon illustrations and live plant props and even battleship and cruise liner comparisons he taught us about “The Glorious Gospel” or “To Nádherné Evangelium” in Czech. The talks can be downloaded below, each is about an hour with translation.

Talk 1 Talk 2 Talk 3 Talk 4

The most common reaction by the students was to say that these talks were “Inspirace” which means inspirational though i am sure you realised that already. This was a great 1st conference and will a great basis to now improve upon each year and start to achieve our hope of getting more students really excited about the gospel and therefore hopefully finding more student leaders.

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Posted by: Craig | 21 September, 2011

English Camp in Pixels

Posted by: Craig | 3 August, 2011

The Englishest Camp

As you can see we have been teaching good grammatically correct English to Czechs again. Recently we had our annual English Camp, I believe this is the 7th and it is my 3rd. This is our biggest evangelistic event of the year, it has the highest participation, and is longest in length enabling us to give a really full gospel presentation throughout the course of the week. This year we shared the gospel from Luke and continued the superlative theme with our titles though these words actually exist.

The Scariest Boat Trip
The Calming of the Storm (Luke 8:22-25)
Jesus is God.

The Saddest Millionaire
The Rich Ruler (Luke 18:18-26)
We are all sinners like the ruler, we are idolaters. It is ‘impossible’ for man to save himself.
The Brightest Darkness
The words of Jesus on the Cross, Crucifixion account.
Jesus’ death was necessary to save us, Jesus provides salvation through death on the cross
The Greatest Gift
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
Grace. No one is beyond it or lacks need of it.
The Weirdest Reunion
Jesus’ appearance to his disciples (Luke 24:36-48)
The resurrection validates Jesus’ claims, the correct response to the Gospel is repentance (v47)
Along side this we ran apologetic seminars and fun workshops. This year a lot of fun was had in playing up the Englishness of the camp, the highlight for me being when we had a royal lunch, where we gave everyone invitations with their titles eg. Duke of Hull. Then before we ate we watched the central part of the royal wedding, and through out all of this Tom, Jez, Gareth and I were dressed in Shirts and Bow Ties affecting our poshest accents and serving everyone. It was a lot of fun.
The camp was smaller than the previous two years but there were many opportunities for conversations about gospel truths, many friendships were built and questions asked. Of note one girl was willing to directly ask me questions about my talk, and then I found out she intended to read the bible whilst on holiday the following week,one guy was very open throughout the week about feeling he is only intellectually a christian and that he needs a heart change, and lastly there was a guy who is thinking through a lot but is very open to the fact he might become a Christian in the future and I will be meeting with him regularly to help him with his English as he helps me with my Czech.
Praise God for all that he has done in the preparation and in the camp itself.
Posted by: Craig | 13 April, 2011

Belated Ski Camp post

So I know this is very late in coming but I thought I would share some Ski camp photos. There was music, good food, snowboarding, skiing, Grill-a-Christian, Snow Tubing and evangelistic talks. It was good.

Posted by: Craig | 2 February, 2011

North Central Consultation

In January we went to the IFES North Central Consultation which was just across the border in Poland, in one day a group of people walked to the Czech Republic and back. This conferance is probably my favourite of the year.

Firstly because this conferance is for National staff and volunteers and not just the IFES missionaries it means us English are in a minority and it actually feels like I am part of IFES europe. In fact 50% of the people there were Latvian Staff, but we also had either student leaders or staff from Estonia, lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia, and Hungary.

Secondly it is because it is just inspiring to hear what God has been doing in these various countries, especially when many are tiny and have limited staff. The Latvians manage to have 5 staff (self supported which is impressive) and do tours of the Mark Drama, and now they are preparing there own bible study material to release. In Hungary they have had succesful mission events where they would have evangelistic and apologetic events throughtout a few days. In Austria some students used a Prop coffin and carried it around campus all day to advertise an evangelistic talk, which caused the lecture theatre to be jam packed. I could go on, but it is so encouraging to hear of all that God is doing around Europe.

 

Posted by: Craig | 9 December, 2010

Film Weekend

 

Last weekend UKH had its 2nd Film Weekend.

4 films + 2days + the Gospel = WIN!

This year we headed further afield to a small town called Tanvald up in the mountains in North Bohemia, and as you can see from the photo the snow had beaten us to there. The snow, though meaning it was cold, very cold, made our walk Saturday afternoon beautiful and had me regretting that I did not bring my camera when seeing the sunset across the snow and the forest lit up in hues of pink.

Any way this was primarily a film weekend and so obviously we watched films.

The first film we watched was Pixars The Incredibles, which Linda then had us thinking about our identity and who is special?, is everyone special?, and showing how we are made in the image of God.

The second film was The Prestige, where Judith got us talking about how these 2 illusionists fought for prestige and thinking about where they found their satisfaction and if they pursued it in the right way.

The third film was The Bourne Ultimatum, and I gave a talk about how we are responsible for what we do, responsible for our sin, and asked how can we be redeemed showing that the only way we can be is by God taking action himself in the form of Jesus.

Lastly we watched the recent visual CG feast that is Avatar, and Jeremy talked about our inherent desire for more than this world offers, and how we are longing to be dwelling with God.

All in all 19 people were at this weekend and there was a lot of banter (inc. Jeremy and Tereza snow wrestling), lots of ping pong (in various forms inc. ninja style) , and several ling conversations even going into the realms of philosophy. I think it was a success and I am looking forward to when we get to do it again next Autumn.

Posted by: Craig | 5 November, 2010

A new thing and an old thing

So I have now been back in the Czech republic 2 months and God has been revealing his grace in both new things and old things.

My students in Pardubice group from last seem to have got off to a good start, with plans to do an evangelistic event this term (the Jez and Craig musical duo might be finally coming to Pardubice) and a general shift towards more biblically based studies, and several new faces appearing. I had the privilege last week of preaching on the Parable of the Prodigal son (or whatever name people are giving it these days), I hope and pray that God used the challenge in this parable combined with the overwhelming grace in it to rejuvenate sleepy hearts with a love and awe of their king. I know for me I was greatly challenged as I preached it, to recapture my love for God and not get caught up in seeing church life and salvation as a cold system, but remembering that my obeying and serving God should be out of love for him not my own gain, to this end the warmness of the parable is a great help where I see that God is a warm loving father he is the God who embraces us!

The new thing in Pardubice is this new side project which I am responsible for, which is a group that meets every week for an hour to dig deeper into the bible and pray for our friends and family who do not know Jesus, and then every 4/5 weeks do an event which our friends can come to and find out more about Jesus. Its been a slightly slower start than planned but it is going now and there are posters and everything, so please pray that Christians at the university notice this group exists and God gives them a desire to reach their lost friends.

Posted by: Craig | 26 October, 2010

God’s grace in cross cultural ministry

“All the normal things from which we gain a sense of worth, success, achievement, competence are stripped away when you move to another culture.

You will be unable to communicate because of your lack of language ability
You will be unable to relate because of your lack of cultural understanding.
You will be unable to do ministry or contribute to church life.
You will not achieve much because your work life is on hold for language learning.
You will feel incompetent to manage ordinary life. (Where do you buy glue? What do you say at a road block? How do you get your washing machine mended?)
Your self-justification framework is taken away. Your behaviour will be weird and your productivity will be low.”

“Look at Luke 10:17-20. We are not to rejoice in success or in ministry. Nor need we be downcast by the lack of success and our inabilities in ministry. We rejoice that our names are written in heaven.

Look at Luke 10:21-24. We rejoice in God’s grace. We rejoice that we are God’s children.

Look at Luke 10:25-37. Why does Jesus tell this story? See verse 29. The lawyer wanted to justify himself. He wanted a checklist that he could tick off so he knew he had proved himself. But we cannot justify ourselves for the task is without limit.

Look at Luke 10:38-42. Martha wants to justify herself through her service. But the necessary thing is to sit at the feet of Jesus and to listen to his teaching – to hear his word of grace.

Expect less productivity. Expect cultural mistakes. Expect your sinful heart to be exposed. But when this happens find refuge in God.”

These two quote are taken from a recent article on Tim Chester’s blog which I found very helpful, the full article can be found here.

I have put it up because I am sure it will be helpful for others in the mission field or heading to it, but also because a year in I see that I experienced a lot of these things in coming here, and it gives people an insight into some of the struggles and experiences we have in other cultures.

Posted by: Craig | 17 September, 2010

Returning to Prague

The second year is upon me, I am back in the land of Beer and Dumplings, the capital of Bohemia, Prague. Flying to Prague this year was quite different to last year, this time I was not flying into the unknown, an alien culture, having little clue what I would be doing in a few weeks. This time it was a mixture of excitement and nervousness, with knowing the new ventures I am responsible for starting and knowing all that could go wrong.

I have to say I missed the Czech Republic over the summer, not only is it a beautiful city in which to live, and the beer is oh so cheap, but God was very gracious in giving me some really good friends and helping to really settle and have a life in Prague, and I missed a lot of good friends and am enjoying catching up and being reunited with many of them over this week.

Well unlike last year it is all go from day 1, we have already been on our Czech team orientation a fun 48 hours hanging out with our 2 newest members, Judith a new Interaction team member and Lukaš a new UKH volunteer. It is very exciting being able to have another  Czech staff member other than our general secretary, especially as our ultimate goal is to do ourselves out of a job by there being enough Czech staff that we are not needed. And I have two new groups to start, one in Pardubice and one in Dejvicka in Prague, and with both I really want to catch the 1st years and returning students before they get settled into a routine for the year so it is quite busy all ready as that time is here.

I hope to keep you all posted on the happenings of the year more regularly this year. Until next time, Čau.

Posted by: Craig | 19 July, 2010

English Camp 2010

So I have just returned from my second English Camp (A very popular camp in teh Czech republic, over a hundred happen in the summer, though mainly for under 20’s), this is an evangelistic camp where we teach English to Czech University Students. This year we had about 6/7 non-Christians at the camp, and there was 30 of us in total including the Teaching team, in which we had an Australian living in slovenia, two dutch girls and both americans and English so an international teachig team. The basic way the camp is layed out is English teaching in the mornings, Seminars, workshops and sports after lunch, then an evening program after dinner with an evangelistic talk followed by discussion, finishing with more games or going to the pub.
This year was very different from last year for me as I was a lot busier, I had evangelistic talks and a seminar on science to do, yet the part I find hardest still is the teaching English though it was fun. I think that the best aspect of this year was all the good conversations everyone had, I was especially impressed by the Czech team and the willingness to really get to know everyone even those that were maybe harder to talk to, and how they didn’t just talk about the trivial but the stuff of significance like truths of the Gospel. These conversations were key to the week and as important if not more important than the Gospel talks as they gave the talks the context of relationship with people.
This year was definitely not as active as last year, probably due to the excerssive heat, hitting 35 degrees. Some activity was still done, most notably Capture the flag was done in the twilight hours of two evenings, which was a game that almost the whole camp got involved in and was of epic proportions. Everyone was enjoying the workshops and seminars in stead of sport, all the seminars (God and suffering, Science and Chrsitianity, WHy trust the Bible?, and Love, Sex and relationships) had plenty of people attend and the workshops looked good though I personally did not go to any.
Obviously the highlight of the camp was that one of the campers came to see Jesus as their Lord and saviour, praise God, I do not think there is a better event we can celebrate this side of Heaven than God revealing himself to someone and them deciding to follow Him.

So I have just returned from my second English Camp (A very popular camp in teh Czech republic, over a hundred happen in the summer, though mainly for under 20’s), this is an evangelistic camp where we teach English to Czech University Students. This year we had about 6/7 non-Christians at the camp, and there was 30 of us in total including the Teaching team, in which we had an Australian living in slovenia, two dutch girls and both americans and English so an international teachig team. The basic way the camp is layed out is English teaching in the mornings, Seminars, workshops and sports after lunch, then an evening program after dinner with an evangelistic talk followed by discussion, finishing with more games or going to the pub.This year was very different from last year for me as I was a lot busier, I had evangelistic talks and a seminar on science to do, yet the part I find hardest still is the teaching English though it was fun. I think that the best aspect of this year was all the good conversations everyone had, I was especially impressed by the Czech team and the willingness to really get to know everyone even those that were maybe harder to talk to, and how they didn’t just talk about the trivial but the stuff of significance like truths of the Gospel. These conversations were key to the week and as important if not more important than the Gospel talks as they gave the talks the context of relationship with people.This year was definitely not as active as last year, probably due to the excerssive heat, hitting 35 degrees. Some activity was still done, most notably Capture the flag was done in the twilight hours of two evenings, which was a game that almost the whole camp got involved in and was of epic proportions. Everyone was enjoying the workshops and seminars in stead of sport, all the seminars (God and suffering, Science and Chrsitianity, WHy trust the Bible?, and Love, Sex and relationships) had plenty of people attend and the workshops looked good though I personally did not go to any.Obviously the highlight of the camp was that one of the campers came to see Jesus as their Lord and saviour, praise God, I do not think there is a better event we can celebrate this side of Heaven than God revealing himself to someone and them deciding to follow Him.

Just for fun here is the video we made to advertise Capture the Flag :

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