Around the world there is special openness for the Gospel this month. Even in the Czech Republic, what some polls call the world's most atheistic country, people are getting exposed to the message of good news. The Advent concerts in the prestigious National Theater, where Christmas carols with plain Bible truth, are sung in the Czech language for prominent audiences is one example. Pray that it touches hearts, and the words of eternal truth are brought to life by God's Spirit.
Norita sang and played for audiences of hundreds, with our local church in a Christmas Musical on the overcrowded picturesque Old Town Square; Lined with Christmas market booths, and a stage besides the power-saving-LED-lit-ornamented highest Christmas tree, in the heart of old, but vibrant Prague, where thousands of people visit from all over the world. Also in the Christmas story at her school she played for many (non church) parents. Pray that besides tourists and foreigners, that residents and Czechs are touched by Gods message to the world.
The essence of the story of Christmas is a story of repentance and new life, for those who believe, for those who want to break with unholy habits. A new life, forgiven, and in grace reunited with God, the Father, who made it possible for those who believe, through the incomprehensible gift and sacrifice of His most beloved son.
A brief visit to Serbia this month, took about 72 hours and 2000 km (1.300 mi); I did seven meetings in three countries during this trip. I went to Serbia to prepare for the MDT (Mission Discovery Team). I noticed a special openness from the people, after having gone through a deep valley of war and economic hardship. They were probably the wealthiest communist country in the 1980s. Back then, people from other communist countries traveled to Serbia (Yugoslavia), to buy JEANS, a touch of America and the free West. Americans, and their free adventures spirits generally were (and are) admired by Serbs; conflicts on political levels could not take that away. A school that I visited had a computer lab furnished by American Aid. They would welcome an STM-volunteer English Teacher (native English speaker) for several months to a half year (no visa hurdles); consider being a witness for Christ there, in connection with the local Baptist Church! (contact us to apply)
Now Serbia is among the poorest countries in Europe, but economic hardship results in openness for the Gospel especially in multi-ethnic Northern Serbia. Our MDT project is in this area that used to be part of the Austrian Hungarian Empire, before Yugoslavia was formed. This new openness will likely not last long; We have a chance to use this time now, and ride this wave of God, by helping this actively and successfully outreaching church (and conference center) in Stara Moravice through volunteering in the MDT Serbia 2009. Please pray that at least 25 volunteers sign up for this team for two weeks prior to July 4th 2009. Please consider doing it yourself or your church too, while praying.
Does God bring us down to bring us back to Him through repentance? Seeing the current openness in Serbia, reading carefully daily through the Minor Prophets in the One Year Bible this month, and looking at my own life I was reminded of that. At the same time seeing the economic crisis looming over the world and particularly the US, I pray, that it may lead to repentance, revival, new life in many hearts, and abundant fruit for God's Kingdom. May this Christmas and the coming year contribute to that for God's glory.
Have a Merry Christmas, and a Blessed new year.
Greetings from Prague
Pieter & Nora Kalkman.
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