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An Egg, A Roast and a Road Trip

God did some amazing things on this year’s trip to Czech.
More than I could ever describe in a post.

He brought 5 young people back to Himself.
He set countless youth free from believing lies that they weren’t good enough.
He encouraged them that they are called.
He set a passion in their hearts for something more.
He united people with similar burdens.
He showed them it’s okay to be broken.
He healed marriages and gave hope to the single.
He helped them walk in courage to make a difference in their world.

It was a very powerful trip.

But beyond the workshops and outreaches, beyond the youth retreat and prayer times, beyond all the ways God moved in the lives of the young people on this trip, there are three areas that stuck out the most to me.

The Egg

It’s become somewhat of a tradition during our trips to Czech. We lead a youth retreat, I get nailed in the head with an egg. Or three. It started in 2009 with a game where I was the President, and my “bodyguards” were protecting me from various projectiles: water balloons and eggs. They didn’t do so well. Since then, the youth have become more creative in finding ways to hit me in the head with an egg.

Except this year.

Instead of trying to hit me with an egg, one of the young people hard-boiled the egg and gave it to me as a symbol of the impact I’ve made in Czech, and a reminder that no matter what happens, I have made a difference in the lives of some young people around the world.

The Roast

The last night of our retreat, the youth put on a talent show. Some sang. Others put on skits. One young woman topped them all – she pretended to be me and over exaggerated my little quirks. The way I play with my ring from Poland. The way I bounce up and down on the balls of my feet. The way I talk with my hands, pray over people, and hold my bible.

I laughed so hard I cried.

The Czech culture can be very sarcastic, but when they take two days to plan and make fun of you in front of everyone, you know you’re loved.

The Roadtrip

At the end of each trip to Czech, the team spends a day in Prague doing some sightseeing, enjoying the European culture and getting ready for the plane flights home. When we leave for Prague, it’s usually the last time we see any of the youth we spent two weeks working with.

Except this year.

As we were making our way through the airport Saturday morning at 4:30 a.m., we looked up and were surprised to see five of the youth there in Prague. They made the four hour drive at night to spend roughly an hour with us before we went through security, and then drove another four hours back to their side of the country. There were many more youth who wanted to make the drive to see us one last time, but with only one car, they had to pull straws to see who were the lucky five.

You know when young people are willing to drive four hours for the chance to see you one last time, you’ve made a real difference in their lives.

That is why we go.
That is why we fundraise and plan and pray.
That is why we travel for 30 hours and deal with jet lag for weeks.

We are making a real difference in the lives of young people in the Czech Republic.

Do you know a young person interested in being part of an Ignite mission team? We have two trips planned for 2013! Get more information and download a team application on our Missions Page.

View pictures from the trip!

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Freedom Giving God

It is hard to put into words all God did the past few days here in Czech.

Friday we experienced a lot of discouragement. It was rainy and cold all day. No one was out in the Svibice neighborhood. We couldn’t be in the park playing basketball and trying to draw people out of their homes. To top it off, most of our workshops didn’t even have one person show up. I was frustrated, upset and began questioning why we even raised $3,000 a person to come.

Then God smacked me.

Later that evening, two young boys we had been praying for and connecting with randomly showed up at the youth center. We were able to play games with them, talk with them and invited them to our youth retreat. After dinner, we did a small discussion time, where I shared my story and taught about how, first and foremost, God relates to us as a Father. One of the young men left once we got done, but the other hung out a bit longer and shared his phone number with one of the Christian youth – a huge step for those who don’t believe in Christ here in Czech.

On Saturday afternoon, we had four young women show up to our Fashion Workshop wanting to talk to someone. They had been practicing witchcraft that afternoon, casting spells and trying to contact spirits. Most times when someone does that, it doesn’t amount to much. These girls had a different experience. After trying to conjure up some spirits, weird things started happening. Scratches began appearing on their bodies. Unexplainable encounters in the room occurred. They even saw some kind of spirit show up.

These girls were scared, and the first place they ran to was the church.

Members of our Czech team were able to talk with them and challenge them that the only way to have protection and authority over evil spirits is by coming under the covering of Christ. The four girls gave their lives to Christ that night – a powerful testimony to what God is doing.

Later that night, we concluded our week of outreaches with a final Showcase. Each workshop had time to show off what they did that week, we began advertising for next summer’s trip, and the American team and some of the Czech team performed the Lifehouse Everything skit.

God moved in the lives of the young people in that room.

The skit, combined with a brief message about how Christ brings us freedom from the things in life that hold us captive, touched many of them in a deep way. Some were lost in thought. Others stuck around the youth center after the showcase was done. Two young men in particular, we were able to engage in deeper conversation about God, faith and the plans He has for their lives. I was even able to pray and prophecy over one of them.

A day later, that young man posted on Facebook that he loves Jesus.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

God is stirring something deep within the Czech nation. He is changing hearts, bringing people back to Him and positioning them to see His glory unleashed.

And, for some reason, we get to be a part of what He is doing.

Thank you again for your prayers and financial support. God is moving more powerfully on this trip than any other we have led in the past, and it couldn’t have happened without you.

View pictures from the trip!

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Czech Trip Update 2: Confirming the Promise

The past few days in Czech, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs.

We planned some great afternoon workshops, only to have a small number of youth show up.
We were playing basketball this evening, only to have it rain for 10 minutes.
We dealt with some uncomfortable heat and no air conditioning.
This afternoon, there wasn’t even a single person in the Svibice neighborhood to talk to.
We’ve dealt with sickness, tiredness and some sunburn.

And yet, God has showed up and showed off.

We have developed closer relationships with the youth group members.
We handed out homemade cupcakes in the neighborhood tonight, and sparked conversations with a good number of people.
We played basketball with some of the same kids both nights, and have one who is seriously considering coming to our retreat.
We have spoken into the lives of others, and had them speak into our lives.
We are making a difference, and have seen the attitude of people change.

God is moving in our midst.
And He reminded us of His presence by placing a double rainbow in the sky.

He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations,” – Psalm 105:8

God made us a number of promises concerning this trip. He put visions and dreams in our hearts of what He wanted to do. He challenged us, pushed us and encouraged us to dream bigger.

And He will fulfill every single one.

We serve a God who keeps His promises.
We follow the One who stays true to His word.

It doesn’t matter if the circumstances say otherwise.
It doesn’t matter if no one shows up for some outreaches.
His promises aren’t affected if it rains, we get tired or very few people are in the neighborhood.

God will show up.
He HAS shown up.
And He will show off.

God always confirms and fulfills the promises He gives His people.

Tonight, He used a double rainbow in the sky over Cesky Tesin and the Svibice neighborhood to remind me that His promises always stand true.

He will impact the lives of others on this trip.
We will see young people ignited with a greater passion.
We will get to see people coming to Him.

He will use this trip as a launching ground for a ministry that is bigger, more powerful and longer lasting within this country.
And, for some reason, we get to be a part of it.

View pictures from the trip!

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Czech Trip Update 1: Moments of Awe

The day we left America, I wrote a post about how God has the power to do more than we could ask or imagine.
I didn’t realize how true that post would be to this trip.

Right from the start, God has blown away every expectation, surpassed every vision and done more than we’ve asked. And we’re only a few days in.

It started with our train ride from Prague to Cesky Tesin. A few of the young people we’ve met on previous trips came to pick us up at the airport and made the four hour ride with us. I fully expected to catch up a bit, and then spend roughly three hours getting some much needed sleep. Instead, God began unfolding His answer to a prayer I’ve been praying for five years. I sat there in awe as these young people shared a vision they have to impact youth, young adults and university students for Christ, and tossed around the idea of seeing a full-fledge Ignite branch in Czech.

Moment of awe, number 1.

All throughout these past few days, there have been two guys in particular with which I’ve really wanted to connect. Language and schedule barriers have stopped the connection in the past, and I knew God had something deep he wanted to do in their lives. Not only has He provided opportunities to spend time with these guys and really speak into their lives, they’ve become like brothers to me – complete with the constant teasing and mutual encouragement of each other.

Moment of awe, number 2.

Earlier today, my team and I rearranged our schedule and had lunch with a couple I had the privilege of meeting on last year’s trip. This couple just recently built their own home, a rarity in Czech, and wanted us to see it. After an amazing home cooked meal, and a few rounds of Dance Central on the Kinnect (complete with embarrassing videos of yours truly trying to dance), we began talking more in depth about the vision they shared on the train ride mentioned above. I was able to speak a lot of hope into their situation and challenge them not to wait until they have supporters and money and full time positions, but to begin doing small things now that will get them to their dream. It was a powerful time of prayer and mentoring and helping equip young people to change the world.

Moment of awe, number 3.

There are so many more stories I could share just from our first four days in this country, such as seeing these youth step out of their comfort zones to impact the lives of others, or reconnecting with young people here and standing amazed at what God has done in their lives this past year, but this post can’t hold them all.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21

God has done exceedingly more than we could have ever asked or imagined on this trip already. I can’t even begin to fathom what the next week and a half has in store.

Thank you all for your prayers and financial support. God is moving mightily, and we wouldn’t have experienced any of this without you.

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Czech Mission Trip Updates

On Friday, July 6, the Czech mission team will begin the 30 hours of travel to their final destination of Cesky Tesin, Czech Republic.

The team has spent 6 months preparing for this trip, fundraising, praying, planning outreaches and youth retreat sessions, and are excited to finally embark on what will be a life-changing two weeks.

Periodically throughout their time in Czech, the mission team will post updates, pictures and even videos highlighting various aspects of the trip and how God is moving in and through them to reach the next generation for Christ.

If you would like to receive team updates automatically, simply subscribe via email or grab our RSS feed.

Alternatively, you can find the updates here on the Ignite blog, or hosted on the blog of Ignite President, Jason Vana.

You can download a copy of the trip itinerary to see when the team will be leading outreaches and youth retreat sessions below:

[button href=”http://www.igniteyourcampus.com/downloads/missions/czechitinerary.pdf” align=”left” bg_color=”#000034″ text_color=”#ffffff”]Itinerary[/button]

 

 

The Czech Mission Team appreciates everyone who donated financially and prayed for this trip, and ask that you continue holding them in your prayers as they begin their travels tomorrow.

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Czech Mission Team Fully Funded

On Sunday, June 24, the Czech mission team brought in the remaining $1900 and is now fully funded. A big thank you goes out to everyone who generously donated to help fund this mission trip.

The team will travel to the Czech Republic on July 6 and spend two weeks reaching out to youth, young adults and university students in the city of Cesky Tesin, in the North East area of Czech, and host a four day youth retreat.

Outreaches will consist of afternoon workshops, including: Sports, Fashion, Science and English Slang, along with larger, team oriented outreaches in the evenings. We will be sharing our stories of how God impacted us, building relationships with these youth and, hopefully, leading them into a deeper knowledge of Christ.

Immediately following the four days of outreaches, we will host youth retreat, providing sessions to help draw youth from our outreaches closer to God and helping the already-Christian youth grow in their faith. Sessions will include topics on: Aloneness, Furious Longing of God, Remembered by God, Courage, Encouragement, Men and Women of God and Potential in Christ.

Thank you again to everyone who donated to this trip. We could not impact the youth, young adults and university students in Czech without you!

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