Working for Families
in Czech Republic
My good friend Vojta and his family have a wonderful home in the countryside of Moravia in Czech Republic. When I say wonderful, it is not at all because there is something luxurious about it—on the contrary. The way we live here is in many ways as they did decades ago—with an outdoor toilet and no warm water in the house, except for what we heat up ourselves. If we want to cook or take a warm bath, we have to first heat the stove with wood. The small, warm kitchen is the heart of the house. It is a tiny room, but it is amazing how many and how much that can get in there! But where there is a room in the heart, there is also a room in the house, and this is what it is like here.
As I said, the house is far out in the countryside; and up the hill by the forest, you will find seven small camping cabins. It was Vojta’s grandmother who in her time bought the place and wanted to do missionary work here, and the last summers the cabins have been of great value.
In the end of June and the beginning of July, we arranged two family camps here at Kopna. It was fully designed for children,but accompanied by their parents. We wanted for the whole family to experience something together—something the children could understand and appreciate and from which the parents could learn. “We learn from nature” was our motto; and the concept was centered on the garden, the forest and the eight laws of health. We went treasure hunting in the forest and found eight treasures; we played shop and talked about what was healthy and what was not; we planted seedlings in the garden and watered them; we built small shelters in the forest and dragged up water from the well; we toasted bread, ate our supper and listened to Bible stories around the camp fire.
Some of the parents were not Adventists, and some were not Christians at all, but God was there and worked on their hearts. In one of the families, the husband was an Adventist believer, and the wife was not a believer at all. It was very obvious that God through His Spirit had worked with her soul already for a long time. She loved to practice good and healthy habits at home, and she and her family had already been vegans for quite some time. Here we had something in common, and she found it interesting to see how we played the health message into the children. I also recognized the wonderful way her husband treated her—he did not try to force her to do or believe things, but showed her so much love. Even though they seemed to have a great marriage in so many ways, it was a sorrow for him that she had not received Christ. But many prayers, and especially his, were ascending to heaven during the camp; and silently, peacefully the Spirit worked on her heart. They had two wonderful children, and they were eagerly taking part in the various activities.
On the Sabbath, we had a very special Sabbath school. Ronny, a seven-year-old boy, had worked hard before the camp and had produced wonderful drawings of different Bible stories. For each story there were about six pictures. On Friday, we had prepared one track for each family. The pictures from their Bible story were hung out along the track, but not in order. Each track led to the same spot in the forest by some nice cliffs and wonderful scenery. As the families arrived, they were to order the drawings and prepare to tell their story to the others. I realized that the non-Christian mother I just told about was withdrawing herself a bit. The Sabbath was “too spiritual” for her. But her husband still did not press her. He showed love and prayed.
After the camp I went to Norway to teach the children at our Living Water Summer Camp, but returned to Czech Republic a few weeks later as we wanted to run a medical missionary course there. And who did I meet? The very same family. Something must have appealed to her heart since she would come back for a second visit together with her husband and the children. Before Vojta and I ran our next project, Vojta’s mother and sister and one of their friends had arranged a seminar for families—this time especially for the parents. I used time during these days to prepare for our next project, but still I could talk to and observe the guests that were here. In the beginning, the lady really did not feel too well here. This time it was meetings, not games in nature. She had actually asked her husband to go home on Friday in order to escape the Sabbath; but during the days to follow, something great happened. It was a clear, wonderful change. Her husband was so happy and thankful. They could pray together! She would stay for the Sabbath! The Holy Spirit had worked for a long time.
He had worked through the silent witness and love of her husband. He had worked through nature and their healthy lifestyle. He had worked through the loving smiles and acts she had seen at Kopna. He had worked through the Word. Now the seed was springing up.
Later this summer, I met them two times. They have come to spend the Sabbath with us as a whole family, and the husband tells how they have worship at home with the children and keep the Sabbath together. God is good! It is worthwhile to work for families—and even stronger is the influence when the family members work for each other, more with their lives than with their words.
By Stine Gro Struksnæs. Email: email@example.com.