Summer Fruit

Steven Wendel on September 14, 2017

IMG_20170725_1404125_rewind …holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and s
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It’s a cool 57 degrees and raining as Autumn already resolved to descend on Southern Bohemia in the latter part of August.  We’re left wondering where the Summer went as we sent all 6 of the kids back to school on Monday.  This Summer was perhaps the most demanding season of ministry we have experienced in our tenure in Czech Republic.  While in our spirits we feel poured out, and are currently seeking a time of both physical and spiritual replenishing, we simultaneously rejoice with you who have been praying and partnering with this ministry, for it was a very fruitful season of both harvest and growth!

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At “Stand Tall” camp at Tree of Life Center, I was blown away at the spiritual receptiveness of the campers this year.  Nearly all of them were again from unbelieving households, yet they were attentive and participatory during 2 chapel times each day.  Upon unfolding the gospel throughout the week, we saw God’s Spirit move in the hearts of numerous children who trusted in Him and called upon His name for salvation!  Please pray earnestly for these kids.  Specifically for Marek, Aneta, Karel, and Ana who made the most clear and intentional professions of their new faith.  Our enemy will do all he can to snatch this seed away and choke their faith.  May God’s sovereign grace abound in their lives and overcome the onslaught of spiritual attack and discouragement they will face!

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At “Awaken” camp, which we hosted and facilitated on the property of our local church, we also saw fruitful ministry.  One of our primary objectives in this camp was to bring the people of the church together to serve with unity of purpose and grace, as this congregation has suffered much division and disunity since its foundation.  We had multiple volunteers come from other churches from all corners of Czech Republic to assist in this camp.  The overwhelming feeling was that there was a great spirit of cooperation and unity of purpose among the workers.  So much so, that one of the volunteers has expressed her desire to leave her hometown and move here to minister with us when she finishes school, and has asked to partner with us to plan a winter camp.  Please continue to also pray for our local church that this camp would serve as a reference point of encouragement to continue in the spirit of unity and brotherly love.

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Less than one week after the conclusion of our second consecutive week of camp we said goodbye to our Summer interns, picked up my(Steve’s) parents from the airport, and proceeded to facilitate our team retreat, which included our teams from Czech Republic and Slovakia.  This was a good time of re-connecting and fellowship with our colleagues and teammates, as well as a time for future planning and discussing various pertinent ministry issues we are facing.  

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We then enjoyed time with Grandma and Grandpa and showed them some of our favorite spots around Bohemia.  It was a blessing to see how ministry to Czechs is flowing even through our parents as they have been intentionally connecting with Czech students studying abroad at KU. They were able to visit several of these students in their hometowns here and continue building these relationships.  

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Throughout the Summer we hosted 2 interns fulfilling their cross-cultural internship requirements at respective schools.  This was a great opportunity for us to utilize some extra help for camp ministries and get acquainted with the process and benefits of hosting interns.  Additionally, Sarah Yoder returned to serve with us this Summer, after spending 5 months last Fall/Winter.  It was a tremendous blessing as she created a margin for us that we may not have survived the Summer without, including leading worship at camps, teaching English, running a program for the youth at our team retreat, and ministering to our family amidst all of the Summer busyness.  

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Please continue to pray for our family and ministry as we launch into the school year on the back of a very busy Summer.  All 6 of our children will be in schools this semester, which brings both opportunities and challenges.  Cari continues to soldier through her recovery from Lyme’s disease, and the prescription of rest to allow her immune system to recover is not one which was possible to heed this Summer.  Fatigue and aches are a daily battle, though a complaint naught would pass her own lips.  

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Please also pray for our Fall ministry schedule.  We’d like to try some new things, but there is little margin without replacing some other things we’ve been doing.  Please pray for wisdom and discernment as we seek to serve God both whole-heartedly and effectively.