Feeling honored

Olda asked us how we handled retirement. He's not quite there yet, but sees some changes coming up at his work, and wondering how that will affect the family's future. Lida asked us how we got to go to the mission field in the Czech Republic at an older age, and how did we accomplish being there for 7 years? She and her husband are looking into going on the mission field themselves, at about the same age as when we went. Pavlina, the mission's administrator, interviewed me on how we got to minister for the Christian football club Ambassadors in Prague and what else did we do when we lived in Pisek?

Olda and his family came to visit us in California about 8 years ago and asked me to organize an RV rental for a trip through the western United States. He picked us up from the Vienna airport this May and we stayed with them for a week in a village close to Brno. Lida was one of the first ladies we came to know in 2002 when we came to Pisek. She is very good in English and picks up another language easily. During those years, we went through ups and downs in life together, common and not so common. It was through her that we connected with Olda for the RV camping trip in the West. Lida was going to Pisek at the end of our week stay, so we got a ride instead of using public transportation, which we are very familiar with, but would have been a challenge with our luggage and at our age. 

After a week in Pisek, we planned to visit Misha and Thomaš, a Czech missionary couple in Poděbrady, a town 30 miles East of Prague where the Ambassadors mission started in 1989. Misha's mother was the translator for the team back then and eventually became a Christian believer. Going to Poděbrady from Pisek is do-able with public transportation, but takes a lot of time. We were to catch a flight from Prague airport to Amsterdam that evening, so time, our age, and with luggage would be a challenge. Olda offered to drive to Pisek, pick us up at the end of the week, and take us to Poděbrady. He arranged for a few business connections in Prague, since he would be there anyway. Tomaš would drive us to the airport, after we had a nice lunch together. 

During these two weeks, it hit me! I had limited activities with Ambassadors Football during those 7 years. I helped with children's practices in a Prague school gym every Friday, assist in the planning and execute football camps every summer, and support annual planning. Not very much in my opinion. I had little to do with the spiritual goals of the mission, which you would think someone went on the mission field for. Aside from the football ministry, we also did two conversational English classes / week in Pisek, through the church as outreach. Contrary to the American assumption, that missionaries go out and see how many believers they can make, it is about making friends and providing support. Support can be financial, but is not limited to that. The local church has to do the reaching out. If the missionary can help with teaching conversational English, that is great. The way we live our lives is much more important for other people to see. And they see it!

The light came on! That is what we have done in those 7 years. Czech people now ask us how we did it; how we live today and what it takes to get there. Nobody asked us about our theology. Pavlina wanted to know what the Ambassadors Football club did in those years and I have many pictures and video clips, but she also wanted to know how we made it to Czech, and why. She will send me a copy when she finishes editing. Doing the mundane jobs does have a purpose, even when we don't see it at that time.