Children and widows make a difference in the Czech Republic
When Harold Johnson recently flew to the States to speak to a church about his ministry in the Czech Republic, he was asked to whom, specifically, did he want to speak. His response? The widows and the third graders. Sound like an odd response? Not the cutting edge crowd of 20-somethings, or the successful and influential 40-somethings? Not even the excited and edgy students?
No, said Harold. What he needs is prayer, and widows and children pray.
“I’m in a battle,” said Harold. “I need prayer 24/7”
Harold and his family have learned the importance of prayer from living in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic for the past eight years. Czech is one of the most secular countries in Europe, with sixty percent of its population claiming no religion at all.
Anyone who has been exposed to church has heard about it in a negative context.
Once when in the states, he visited nursing homes and asked to see the widows. He enlisted 3 of them as his prayer warriors. Harold now has 24 people who are praying for his family and their ministry every single day.
“I know there’s nothing magical about having people pray every day, but I think it honors God.” Harold says. “I think the simple prayer of a child–‘God bless the Johnsons and help people in Czech come to know Jesus,’ is effective and pleasing to God.”
The Johnsons have partnered with a Czech Baptist Church, Vysoke Myto. Together they are trying to reach families for Christ. They are seeking to create “Gospel communities” where the Gospel is lived out and the context of their culture. For Czechs, being a believer in Christ is weird. It is a deviation from the norm of their culture, so it is important to avoid erecting even more barriers to the message of Christ.
“The pull of lostness is huge,” Harold said. “But we find that Czechs have less of a problem with Jesus than they do with the Church.”
So Harold and the Vysoke Myto team have tried to find ways to engage people outside of the church. They have picnics, go on hikes, have cook-outs—“We want to get into their culture instead of inviting them into ours,” Harold says.
One pivotal week, annually, is summer camp, when these families get away from everyday life and live side-by-side with believers. The Johnsons and Vysoke Myto are careful to keep the camp in balance, with an even ratio of believing families to non-believing families. The non-believing families get to see what would it look like if they took a chance and trusted Christ.
Because of the nature of the work and the influence Satan exerts over this unbelieving culture, prayer is necessary and vital.
“Since being on the field, we have been given many resources, but our primary resources as God’s people continue to be prayer and promises,” Harold says. “So we have tried to put one weapon in each hand as we work. We invite others to do the same.”
Harold says that God has a particularly sensitive ear for children and widows and he values that.
‘On one hand, we see that God is delighted by simple and sincere prayer and on the other hand, we see that God is moved by persistent prayer,” he says. “Children and widows seem to be our best partners in the work.”
To find out how you can partner with the Johnson family in the Czech Republic, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Karen Pearce on Mar 27, 2012