Words cannot describe the impact this year’s trip to the Czech Republic had on my life.
Every year, I tell the team that God tends to show up and do more than we experienced on previous trips — and this year was no exception.
We experienced a lot of firsts on this trip, each one the fulfillment of a promise God gave me and Ignite roughly 8 years ago:
- Our first time visiting and doing ministry in the town of Liberec
- Our first time going to Germany (minus navigating through the Frankfurt or Munich airports)
- Our first time working with youth in Bohumin — a city I preached in during my second trip to Czech back in 2007
- Our first time leading an official Youth Leadership Conference
God connected me with a lot of youth leaders this trip, and we were invited to come do ministry in other cities and other youth groups.
He gave me a renewed sense of vision and direction for what He wants to do through Ignite in the Czech Republic.
We had the opportunity to build new relationships with students and deepen relationships with those we already knew.
It was a powerful trip to say the least.
But the part of this year’s trip that impacted me the most wasn’t the preaching or praying or going to new cities or visiting Germany or even being invited to minister in new places.
The most impactful part for me came the first night of Kristfest – the national youth camp.
You see, every year Kristfest gives a small gift to the groups who came and helped lead sessions and minister to the students.
The first year we helped with Kristfest, I was given a vase with dirt from the Czech Republic in it.
Last year, I was given a pretty massive coffee mug.
This year, the gift they gave me left me in tears.
Ever since the trip I took to Czech in 2007, to help with a leadership training conference as part of a church planting project, my heart has been broken for that country.
I cry whenever I pray for Czech.
I use my vacation time every year to go back.
I mentor and disciple young people in Czech from afar.
I am developing plans to resource and fund ministry in Czech.
I bring a team of college students with me every year to minister in Czech.
It’s no secret that Czech holds my heart.
But until this year’s trip, it felt very one-sided. Not that the friends and students in Czech didn’t like me coming or aren’t excited when we finally get there.
It just felt like I was an outsider trying to come in – a friend, visitor, guest who wanted to make an impact.
Until this year.
This year, a simple T-shirt spoke volumes to my heart and calling.
I’m not an outsider trying to come in anymore.
I belong to Czech Republic.