Czech it out–I had the privilege of joining our 8th grade English students on a four-day trip to the Czech Republic. We traveled by hired coach through the Carpathian mountains, across Slovakia and into the Czech Republic. The landscape was gorgeous: between pine mountains, green wheat fields dotted with red poppies rippled in the breeze as though God were stroking his corduroy sofa cushions.
Fulnek must be the most beautiful location in all of Czech. Of course the sister city of my sweet Téglás is beautiful. It’s all in the family!
We were greeted by the mayor and her deputy, and we were given tours of the schools and the historic town. Their English teachers and students welcomed us with great ice-breakers and activities. We played games, made crafts, baked treats, and even learned a Czech song and dance! I watched in awe as the orchestration of this came together in English, because Hungarian and Czech languages are very different. I realized more than ever the value of a common language. (Imagine if every state spoke its own unique language! Picture Illinoisans learning Missourian songs–all organized in Latin!)
Like in Hungary, hospitality is important in Czech. They gave us more food than we could possibly eat, and they sent us home with lovely gifts of Czech treats and handmade ceramic keepsakes.
The bittersweet work of relationship building was on display this week: painstakingly, year after year, the teachers teach and the students study foreign languages. Year after year, delegations from these sister schools make the 10-hour winding pilgrimage over the natural and political borders to exchange goodies and come to know and understand one another better and better. Thank you for sending me as an ambassador of Jesus’ love to join in.