Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"I've Never..."

As I was reflecting on how to give you all a glimpse of what spiritual life in Czech Republic is like, I remembered the following story. 

Kris and Paula Lundgaard are dear friends, and I had the privilege of serving with them in Trnava, Slovakia.  Last summer they went to Czech Republic to help at a summer English camp.  Here is Kris' story....

Do you know the game "I've Never?" It's a get-to-know-you game in which people are seated in a circle of chairs with one fewer chair than the number of people playing. There's one person standing in the middle, who must make a true statement starting with the words "I've never." Then everyone who HAS done what the person in the middle has NOT done must get up and find a new seat; and the person in the middle scrambles to get a seat too. Whoever is left standing starts the next "I've never" statement.

Last summer (2012), we played this game with our students in the English camp, which was held in the Czech Republic. Most of the statements were mundane ("I've never been to America"). Some resulted in funny or awkward situations, such as when I said, "I've never worn a skirt" and a boy got up. One, however, staggered me: a friendly and bright 16-year-old girl declared, "I've never prayed." And she said it without shame or irony, as if she'd just told us that she'd never eaten with chopsticks.

Most of the class jumped up to snatch new seats. I did too, of course, and I played it cool so that no one could see that my mind was spinning as I contemplated my student's prayerless life. Her simple statement was another reminder that the Czech Republic is one of the most atheistic nations in the world (second to Estonia in Europe). But it wasn't just that she didn't believe that rocked me-it was how naturally, how matter-of-factly she could say that she'd never once even lifted her eyes to say a word or two to a god who might be there, who might possibly want to know her.

But I know that you pray. And so I ask you to pray for my prayerless student, and for all 65 or so of our students, very few of whom know our Lord Jesus. Ask God to open their eyes, to make Himself known to them. And for the believers there, ask God to anchor their faith on the deepest and strongest Rock, so they will continue to shine like stars. And pray that He would let them see the fruit of new life in those around them.

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