On the 13th to 18thof July 2018 we had the priviledge to host a thirteen-membered team of King´s Kids Poland and El Paso (Texas) in our city of Brno. The team was composed of mainly teenagers – aged from 12 to 19 – and two skilled leaders – Ms. Barbara Wancho and a long-time King´s Kids El Paso leader Vinnie Karafano.
After their arrival on Friday afternoon and lodging in our flat – and after eating some dinner – the team desired to get to know our city a bit closer as they were charmed just by the mere view out of our windows facing the main Brno square where our house is situated. Therefore František took them for a short prayer walk around the city center where they were of course bound to stop at the most important Brno sights as the Old Town Hall, so-called Cabbage Market and the St. Peter and Paul´s Cathedral (Petrov) surrounded by a park. In the park they were struck by a sight of many young people sitting around and drinking alcohol and so they decided to go to the park with their outreach performance on Saturday evening.
Saturday morning, after breakfast and prayers, the team rehearsed their outreach performance in our living room, including some dance praises and a mime called the Journey, which was actually a gospel message presented in a modern form. After lunch (we had „schnitzels“ so that our foreign guests could get to know our Czech cuisine a little 🙂 we set out to our church building to meet other mission sympathizers and get acquainted with the church facility before Sunday. Unfortunatelly no other people from our church showed up so we went back to our home again to gather some strength before the evening mission outreach in the park. Before going to the park the team stopped in the nearby tavern (Stopkova pivnice) to bravely taste some Czech specialties as „vepřo-knedlo-zelo“ (roasted pork with sauerkraut and dough dumplings) and „svíčková“ (roast sirloin with cream sauce).
The mission outreach in the park under the cathedral went on very well. Although not announced in advance no one stopped the performance and the bystanders and bysitters were really interested. The kids then went to people and talked and prayed with them (some of them being in tears). They also handed out flyers with the invitation to Tuesday´s Texas barbecue in another Brno park (Lužánky).
On Sunday morning the team went to the church meeting where they had a short performace at the adult´s meeting. Individual team members introduced themselves and the dances they were going to perform. One of the team members – eighteen-year-old Michael – revealed his Czech roots to the present church members. He was already the fourth generation of this name – Kolesar – living in the US. After the performance at the adult´s meeting the team moved to the Sunday School where they had a great program for the kids – games, prayers and teaching. After the service we went to a nearby pizza restaurant where our friends had to face unfortunate Czech greed when the waitress tried to rob them of CZK 500. Thank God they did not give in and she did not succeed which resulted in very unfavorable looks from her side.
In the afternoon we went to visit our friends Katka and Marek Šafrovi in the town of Šlapanice who prepared a true Czech barbecue party for us including grilled vegetables, sausages and chicken and of course Czech „buchta“ (cake) that reminded American part of our team their corn bread. Children scattered around the garden resting on the grass in the shadow of fruit trees and feeding on plums, raspberries and red currant, which was previously unknown to them. After some conversation and prayers they also danced few praises and we went back to Brno to rest before another action day :).
On Monday morning we set out on a trip to the town of Mikulov to Pavlína and Michal Kostkovi who are working with the kids from the local orphanage for many, many years already. We went in three cars and hoped that the journey will go off without a hitch, but unfortunatelly – as chance would have it – the tyre of our big nine-seat car went totaly flat and tore up so we had to stop at the side of a very busy road and change the wheel. Our well planned arrival to the town of Mikulov around noon was thus delayed and we had lunch about one hour later than planned and our arrival to the orphanage was of course delayed too so we were very impatiently awaited :). In the beginning the kids were a bit shy but after few games that the team prepared for them and after the performace, the ice was broken and the kids talked to us and showed us their entire house. It was really difficult to say goodbye, but the seed of faith had been sown and we believe that it will grow – watered by the gentle care of Michal and Pavlína – and will bring eternal fruit.
Tuesday was supposed to be the “D-day” or to be more precise the “T-day” because we booked the grill point (public electric grill) in Lužánky park where we planned to throw a genuine Texas barbecue party :)! In the morning we went shopping together with Ms. Barbara and Megan and we bought about a hundred of chicken wings and legs and marinated them with the true Texas barbecue sauce. After lunch (this time higher level of Czech cuisine – Spanish birds – please do not be mistaken, this meal has nothing to do with either birds or Spain 😉 the team went to the park to heat up the grill and get ready for the performance. About five o´clock they hastily finished grilling last pieces of meat as there was another group waiting for the grill and moved a little bit aside where the team danced and performed the praise songs and the Journey – again with great response from the audience. Some church members from the Word of Life Church also showed up at the place and started conversations with the onlookers inviting them to our Sunday service. After the performace the kids from the team also joined the conversation – usually with a help of some interpreter – as many people in the Czech Republic do not speak English.
In the evening everyone dispersed to different fast foods in the city center where they ate their dinner and had some well deserved treats :). They needed to accumulate some energy as for the next day a trip to Prague was planned!
On Wednesday, early in the morning we got on the bus and set out to Prague. At the main Prague bus station (Florenc) Ms. Renata with her son Tadeáš were waiting for us and led us directly to Wenceslas Square (Václavské náměstí) around the Powder Tower (Prašná brána) – there were soap bubbles flying everywhere. While searching for some suitable souvenir shops we got to Betlehem Chapel that was unfortunately inacessible due to some university event at that time. It was already lunchtime and Ms. Renata adviced us to go to a cafeteria named „Havelská koruna“ where our friends could try another Czech dishes. At Havelská street our guests took fancy to a local market and they spread out to do some shopping. They returned in an hour, but our guide Renata had to leave us then. After shopping I led everyone to the Old Town Square where unfortunatelly we were not able to watch Prague Astronomical Clock as it was under repair. However, the Old Town Square has its charm anyway and a collective photo in front of John Hus memorial was a necessity. We continued walking through the Jewish Ghetto up to the Moldau river where we could admire the view of the Charles Bridge and the Prague Castle. Walking over the Charles Bridge was naturally probably the best part of our Prague tour. On the other side of the river Ms. Barbara started to look for some sidewalk cafe. She found one only half way up Nerudova street leading to the Prague Castle when some team members started longing for a rest really hard :). Refreshed we climbed up to the castle where we could enjoy wonderful view of sunny Prague – Lesser Quarter. We lanced through the castle pretty fast and walked down on the Old Castle Stairs to the metro station Malostranská from where we took underground to the main bus station Florenc. Full of experience we departed to Brno.
Rather late in the evening the party returned to Brno and started packing and waiting for the midnight bus to Warsaw. Waiting is however not the correct word to describe their activity, because, even though tired after the all-day-long trot around Prague, everybody started cleaning up, as one of the King´s Kids rules is that the place of stay must be left in better condition then found after arrival :). Of course we also had time for prayers and saying goodbye, which was really hard, as we made friends after these few days of very intense coexistence and we shall never forget each other for sure!
We would like to express our thanks to the whole team as they brought long-awaited encouragement, refreshment and new hope for the future not only to our congregation, but also to our work within King´s Kids! All the glory and thanks belong to God!