We went to church in Czech for the first time in a while. After being sick for weeks on end in November and December, we took our trip to the States and missed a few weeks there. Upon returning we were severely jet lagged and then last week there really wasn’t church, so today we finally made it back.
Like most Sundays here, it was hard (at least for me). Mostly I hate feeling like I’m just going through the motions of “doing church” and not being able to offer much as a member of the body of Christ. The language barrier is no doubt the biggest obstacle and has far reaching effects. We can’t understand the sermon, we can’t talk to most of teachers, and we can’t really offer much in the way of encouragement to other believers (or them to us). Today, the kids didn’t want to stay in their classes alone and we can’t leave them. Bethany ended up staying with Avery in her class and I took Titus with me to the main service. Avery painted the mitten and hat you see the above photo.
Many Sundays someone in our church will provide translation via headsets, but I didn’t see anyone doing that today. Basically I just let Titus play on my iPhone while I read my Bible. From what I saw on the screen at church, I think the pastor was preaching out of 1 John, but I’m not sure. In a sense, it felt like our first Sunday there minus the excitement of the newness. It was just hard and I didn’t respond well to it. It frustrated me and even though I enjoyed my time in God’s Word, I let my heart get angry at our situation.
I love the local church. Outside of the family, I believe it is the most important institution God created for Christians. Many days when I was serving at our church in the States I would literally be giddy on my way to church. Oh, no doubt we had hard days but then there would be someone at church that would say or encourage me, or even just the sermon itself would pierce my soul as the Word of God does. I guess that’s what made it so difficult for me today. I’m having a hard time seeing light at the end of the tunnel of being able to experience that kind of community and grace again.
Pray for me as I lead our family in the days, weeks, and months ahead. I’m sure many missionaries have come to a similar place when they remember what they left behind and long deeply for it. I want to lead my family with wisdom and grace, especially as it relates to learning the language and culture. I want the opportunity to encourage another saint in their native tongue, not to mention share the gospel with someone in Czech in the Czech language! I want to disciple a few young men who can then go and disciple someone else. I want to sing worship and know what I’m saying. I guess I just want it to feel normal again. Maybe we’re years away, but at least that feels like it exists somewhere in the future.