by Clive Cernik on behalf of Pete & Michelle Foster and the Pardubice team: Richard & Gill Simmonds, Rosemary Dickson and Christine Schaitel.
The UK team arrived for a four day visit on Saturday evening courtesy of the only flight that day from Stansted. There was an immediate sense of connection with Pete & Michelle and the little band with them who are bravely determined to build a beautiful community of grace in the post communist Czech Republic.
It has been said that a sort of ‘lazy atheism’ sits over the nation, but Pete & Michelle are upbeat. They have engaged in honest, searching conversations with their many friends and neighbours, and have very often found an open attitude to spiritual things despite the history of the Russian occupation, the faded history of Protestant renewal, and the present influence of the Catholic Church.
We were hugely impressed with the hospitality shown by Pete & Michelle to their neighbours and the small community gathering in their house. Pete’s Czech amazed us – not bad going at all for a lad from East Grinstead, only five years living in the Czech Republic. Pete’s kind and personable ways have helped him make many friends with whom he socialises. That’s no mean achievement as Czech isn’t exactly the easiest language to pick up, if I may say so!
Michelle exhibited an awe inspiring energy throughout our stay, especially when she took us round the Christian school where she teaches conversational English. We were introduced to the school Principal and the ex Principal who is now the chief fund raiser. Both women were very welcoming, inviting us to pray for them personally and to pray for the future development of the school. We appreciated what a privilege that was. Well done indeed Michelle, for having established such an open, trusting relationship with these key people in the city.
Both she and Pete are warm ambassadors for the gospel – so hospitable, full of fun (witness the Popsico ‘dance’ still going strong since a recent team visit from Norfolk!), gifted in music and worship, pastoral skill and evangelistic zeal.
Sunday with the plant was a delight. We were able to take much time to pray unhurried prayers and prophesy over every individual connected with the plant, and hopefully we brought further confidence, strength and reassurance that God is very much up to something big in this part of the world – the crossroads at the heart of Europe.
Pete read out a prophecy for Pardubice that had been given to him some years back, on the Sunday morning. The power of those words stopped him and choked him up momentarily – even though that prophecy must have been so familiar to him.
There is an anointing on this little band of friends which was palpable. We were blessed to be a brief part of it, to pray encouragement and prophetic direction into the forward momentum of their work. We loved meeting them all. Four days felt like four months!
The plant is already very cosmopolitan with representation from nations as diverse as Turkey, USA, Zimbabwe and the UK, as well as indigenous Czechs. We sensed a work emerging that was going to be far bigger than just the confines of Pardubice city limits.
We explored the key sites in and around beautiful Pardubice – the castle on the hill, the high tower in the old quarter, the cobbled squares, the shopping areas, using these locations to pray determined, faith filled prayers for the city, for Pete & Michelle, their friends and neighbours, and for the church plant to grow to become all God has planned for it.
Let’s hear it for RM Prayer Mission teams. So much can be accomplished in the heavenly realms by so few in such a short space of time with such special pioneers in tough places. Báječné! Amazing!