Team Praha 2011 – Concluding Thoughts

Today is the last day of my team’s short term mission trip to Prague. I had hoped to do more regular updates throughout the trip here, but that would have been difficult with our schedule. So instead I would like to venture some concluding thoughts.

Erin Blake pointed out an important point while we were reading the Bible this afternoon that has stuck with me for a few hours. While reading Paul’s farewell to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20, she noted that the Apostle must have made so many good Christian friends (not to mention met so many lost and hard hearted) yet had to always leave them behind after a relatively short while to fulfill his calling. She pointed out that we are similarly broken-hearted at leaving after so much edifying service in His name with so many amazing and faithful Christians in these foreign lands, and for a similar reason: we have been called home to fulfill our ministry.

We were sent here for a short while, and now we are going back home. It breaks our hearts to have made so many unbelieving friends and have to leave while they are yet in their sins. Moreover, the team itself has achieved a real unity in the Spirit that I have not experienced before in my life with a group this size. Days and nights were filled with stomachache-inducing laughter, boisterous public humiliation in the streets with musical theatre songs playing a prominent role, dancing in the rain in the mountains with the familiar voice of the dance teacher’s “never mind!”, for lack of a better word, ringing a seemingly constant refrain, jokes with merciless bites, and skipping through the streets of Prague while jumping in circles. More telling than the youthful abandon has been the times of weeping over the lost friends we made and over the hardness of the human heart. The extended and heartfelt prayers for strength in our joint service, and for each other’s particular burdens. The telling times were when we read an 8 year old’s confession that he hadn’t previously believed in God or His Kingdom, but that he did after the lessons this week. The telling times were the hours of honest and difficult questions that come from the mouths of babes. The telling times were the out of breath conversations while hiking with unbelieving teens through mountains more beautiful than words can describe and answering questions about the artistry of God’s hand in Creation. The telling times were sitting with a few team members on a bench at 10 at night looking over at the Charles Bridge and the Cathedral and the Castle and the river that separated us from them with the brilliant dancing lights on its surface while singing hymns to God and praying because of the awe inspiring and breathtaking beauty of the city. Some things you cannot capture with a camera. The telling times were so perfectly complete, that only the sort of God that we serve could have made them happen.

Today is the Sabbath of the Lord our God. When I look back on the weeks spent on this trip and the fruitfulness of the ministry that God had placed in front of us and the Spirit-filled joyful faithfulness with which my team had taken up the challenge, I could not have imagined a more glorious experience and my gratitude to God for all of it is genuine. This Sabbath is the day that we see that God’s work through our team on this trip is done. It has indeed been very good.

-To Him Who called us out of the darkness to the inheritance in light, to the praise of His glorious grace in the Church, be glory, and honor both now and forevermore. Amen

    • Peter
    • August 14th, 2011

    Amen. Thanks for the update! Praise God!

    • Jessica
    • August 15th, 2011

    Here’s a song that we have sung the last two Sundays at the corps. The Lyrics were written by Gowans and the music was written by Larsson. I think that it really applies to all that you have written here and that after your experience you will really appreciate the lyrics.

    “I’ll Not Turn Back”

    If crosses come, if it should cost me dearly,
    To be the servant of my Servant Lord,
    If darkness falls around the path of duty,
    And men despise the Saviour I’ve adored.

    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost
    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost,
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost

    If doors should close, then other doors will open,
    The word of God can never be contained,
    His love cannot be finally frustrated,
    By narrow minds or Prison bars restrained

    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost
    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost,
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost

    If Tears should fall, If i am called to suffer,
    If all i love men should deface, defame,
    I’ll not deny the One that i have followed,
    Nor be ashamed to bear my Master’s name

    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost
    I’ll not turn back, whatever it may cost,
    I’m called to live, to love and save the lost

    – John Gowans

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