This summer, Hope's own Doug Barylski will be heading back to the Czech Republic to share in the task of introducing people to Christ, using English classes as a starting point. The rise of English as a global language is opening countless doors for the good news of God's life-changing love. Teaching English provides a way for Christians to connect with people both in the US and internationally.
In the Czech Republic, American teams typically participate in week-long English teaching programs. Czech Christians invite their friends to the English classes, where they discover that Christians are not only "normal" people, but are genuinely caring and kind. People discover that they matter to us because they matter to God.
Of course, teaching English is merely the drawing factor, not the goal. The goal is building trusting, long-lasting, compelling relationships between Czechs. Although the American team also has the opportunity to develop relationships, since the Americans have little time in the country, they're intentional about not becoming the focal point. Sharing among Czech people is key, with the Americans serving as short-term facilitators.
Even the English lessons can open doors to the heart. At the higher English levels, discussion questions can bring out very personal experiences. For example, in discussing the topic of friendship, the facilitators start with questions like "Who was your best friend in school?" and progress to things like "What are the qualities of a good friend?" If the students are open, they can be asked questions like "Have you ever been betrayed by a friend?" As deeper personal experiences are shared, bonds of trust are developed. This quickly leads to sharing experiences of faith and the story of God's love.
As Doug quickly points out, "But the results are not up to us. No plans or techniques will open hearts to the Gospel." And this is where our church family comes in. We have an opportunity to partner with Doug and the rest of his team. Obviously there are financial needs with international travel and sharing the curriculum. Additionally, we can join with the team in prayer. Pray for the international facilitators to reflect God's love and respond to opportunities with his wisdom. Pray for the Czech Christians to build contagious, trusting relationships with their friends and neighbors. And pray for the people of the Czech Republic who will participate in the classes. They may come to learn English, but they might discover grace, forgiveness, unconditional love, and everlasting life.
For more information — including how you can become a partner — contact Doug Barylski.