One of the things I love most about Czech culture is their hospitality. If you ever find yourself in the home of a Czech family, you will be lavished upon with breads, sauces, treats, deserts, and an abundance of tea. Grandmothers, or “babičky,” are notorious for always assuming you have been underfed before your visit.
We have the privilege of spending a portion of our summer in Czech homes. What better place to be exposed to culture? While in Nové Město pod Smrkem, Lara, Petra, and I stayed at an elderly couple’s house who attend the church.
Every morning we were greeted with a glorious breakfast and sent on our way with bagged lunches. Most of our team was sick at the time so our Czech grandmother was eager to make us herbal tea from scratch – perfect for our sore throats and sniffles. But best of all, when we returned in the evening, we all sat around the dinner table to share stories.
The Novotnys shared with us their story of romance, as well as their story of conversion. The couple met as leaders at an outdoor camp, and thus began their five year road to marriage. After their marriage, they moved and started a family in Nové Město. Mrs. Novotny was a staunch atheistic teacher, and Mr. Novotny was a nominally Catholic engineer. When they were both forty-five years old, the Lord drew them to himself through the ministry of some charismatic Catholic priests, who first introduced them to the Gospel.
Both shared with such genuineness the change that had come over them since their conversion. They shared with such joy of the love that Christ brought to their marriage, and what peace their relationship with God has given them as they have served in the evangelical church in Nové Město. Finally, as is customary at departures, we were given a Czech “well-wishing” when we left on Sunday. To Lara and I, they said, “We wish you to fully experience the love in your marriage that can only come from Jesus, as we have come to know.”
We may have come to Czech to serve this summer, but we are not the only servants here. Although scarce, Godly families are leaving their mark upon the men and women of this country. What a joy to be able to served by the Novotnys, and to witness the ways God has been working in this country for decades. We gladly join that greater stream of His redemptive work, knowing that He will continue to work even after we have left.