Prague, Czech Republic. September 2002.
Greetings from the Czech Republic.
In this letter we want to thank you for your support and your prayers. We also like to share with you about one of our volunteers, who felt Gods touch to assist in the ministry of The Litomerice Baptist Church. This church is one of the 28 Churches from the Czech Baptist Union, with a total of only 2,300 members in a country of 10,000,000 inhabitants. (These proportions are common in many parts of Europe).
The Litomerice Baptist Church has a ministry called BETHEL, The House of Christian Help. The Bethel House is situated across the street from the church. They have a Half-way House for youth that is coming from orphanages, and they have ministries for reaching out to young people and children. The purpose of the Bethel House is to provide both, physical and spiritual help.
For more than one year the staff of the Bethel house has been praying for a volunteer who teaches English. This year April N. was the answer to those prayers. April, a young ABC volunteer, who set out one year of college to minister overseas, arrived at the Prague airport in January 2nd in the middle of a strong winter. Since that time April has been helping in various ministries, office work and teaching English. God has used her to touch many lives, but not only this, her own life has been touched as well. Here is her story in her own words:
If God Doesn´t Stop My Parents Won´t Recognize Me!
How do you put into words something that changes you so completely? That is the challenge I must overcome, so that everyone will understand all the ways that God has blessed my life. Before I experienced what it was like to be a volunteer in a foreign country, God was an entity that I read about and worshipped, now He is a being that I see working in people's lives. God has become a living God to me through my experiences in Litomerice, Czech Republic. I have learned to rely on Him completely and in return He has blessed my life generously.
I could tell that I was walking within God's will because all the preparations and traveling couldn't have gone smoother. All of my life I have wanted to go to Europe, but I never had the courage to go. But as one wise man once said, "All things are possible through Jesus Christ." So all of my flights were on time and can you believe it, they did not lose my luggage!! I have experienced millions of little confirmations from God telling me that I was on the right path.
The first week I was here God used to break all that was arrogant and prideful in me. I remember during this first week that I started to feel claustrophobic, because I didn't know anyone here, I didn't know the language, and I knew that I couldn't teach anyone English. As I sat crying in my room I realized something very important, I am not alone here. Jesus is always by my side. I also was not going to teach, Jesus was going to. I just needed to empty myself of all my fears and doubts so Jesus could have some room to work!
As I started to let go of worldly concerns, I started to make some wonderful and dear friends. Actually, I have more friends here my age then I do at home. I feel like part of a team that works for God. Most of my friends I have met through the ministries of The House of Christian Help in Litomerice, where I volunteer and live. It has been a wonderful opportunity for me to work in this type of non-profit organization. I had never heard of an organization that helps orphans thrown aside because they had reached the age of eighteen. Also The House of Christian Help offers a wide variety of activities for all the citizens of Litomerice, this is where I come in. I teach English and help with a group of children.
Along with helping with this organization, I have seen how dependent on God The House of Christian Help is. "Every year we remain open is a blessing from God," says the director of The House of Christian Help. The majority of funds for The House of Christian Help come from donations and programs such as fundraising concerts. My plans are, if it be God's will of course, to help raise money for them when I go home.
It is wonderful being able to help with a worthy cause. The sentence before sounds so stereotypical but when you actually see all of the lives that God is touching through this place, it seems like the right thing for me to say. Not only has this place touched lives of Litomerice, but it has touched my life as well. I suppose I won't know the full extent of the changes that have happened to me until I go home. But I know this will be one of the periods in my life that I will measure everything else by!
Please pray for:
- The staff of the Bethel House, that God gives them the wisdom when dealing with the clients of the half way house.
- The spiritual life of each person who attends the English classes (where April is the teacher).
- The last month that April is going to be teaching.
- For a new volunteer to teach English after April returns to U.S.A.
- Construction and sport teams to come from the U.S.A. to Litomerice.
- If you the reader can be involved in volunteer ministry.
Blessings from our Almighty God,
Nora and Pieter Kalkman