The Multnomah University Athletics Trip to the Czech Republic Purpose: Our purpose for this mission’s trip was to spread the word to local teens about the English camps that are run throughout the country each summer. There are over 24 camps where students meet to study English and are around Christians from the Czech Republic and the United States. It is an amazing tool for giving out the Gospel message. Our job was to promote these camps in the classrooms, churches, and towns that we visited. All told, we would be in over 20 public school classrooms teaching an English lesson to the high school students. Saturday/Sunday – We left PDX at 7:30 a.m., flew to Washington D.C., Geneva, Switzerland and then Prague. We all met in Prague at 5:30 local time with our missionary and former MU basketball player, Danny Johnson. We stayed at a local Hostel that night. We had time to go look at the Charles Bridge and see the spot where the Velvet Revolution took place.
Monday – After breakfast and a devotional from Danny, we took a 2 hour bus ride to Pisek. We met another Josiah Venture missionary couple, Ondra & Klara Svatos who showed us their church where we also stayed. We played our only basketball game of the trip that night, beating the local Czech team 101-87. Seth Coleman scored 35 points and Brent Looyenga added 24. We had our picture taken with the Czech team afterwards and went out for pizza with some of the team members. The local pastor is their head coach, so we were able to really encourage the players to attend the English camp this summer. By the way, that is how Ondra came to know the Lord – through English camp.
The Pisek Czech Basketball Team with the MU team after our 101-87 win
Tuesday – We Woke up in Pisek, had breakfast and a devotional. We gave a cash gift as a group towards the church’s gym building project after breakfast. We then traveled by bus and train for 7 hours to Litvinov. We arrived in Litvinov around 7:00 to an excited group of church teens and adults who picked us up in 4 vehicles and whisked us to the church for an already prepared spaghetti feast. Pastor Libor was the local pastor who shared a devotional with us after dinner, with Danny interpreting. It was a great time of food and fellowship for all. Our students each spent the night with a local family. We met Kuba, Phillip and Karla who were the youth leaders that did such a great job of taking care of us. Litvinov is a town of around 30,000 people. Wednesday – We went to our first school at 8:00 and divided into two groups to share our English lessons with the students. Brent led one group and Seth led the other. We played English games with the kids, told them about life in America and showed them on a map where we lived. None of the students had ever been to America, so they were real curious. We spent 90 minutes with two of the groups. Our hosts at the church were absolutely tremendous. They fed us all kinds of food, housed us and took care of all our transportation needs. In short, they were the definition of what being a Christian is all about. Their attitude was fantastic, as they went with us to the schools and helped out in every way. They were an encouragement to all the kids – we would definitely want to come back here again. Litvinov is way out in the north part of the country, only about 7 miles from Germany. After lunch, we took a bus back to Prague and then caught a train to Orlova, getting in around 8:00 p.m. Thursday – Another early start to Cesky Tesin where we taught 6 different English classes and did our thing with getting to know the students and sharing what the English camp was all about. This group of students was really engaged and asked a lot of questions. Seth Coleman got to know one student real well and shared the gospel with him when he ran into Seth at a coffee shop later in the day. We ate lunch at the school cafeteria where we had a choice of rabbit, spaghetti or soup. Later, we walked across the border to Poland and checked out a 600 year old prison. It was pretty cool to walk from one country right into the other. We then met with a local youth group for a game of Volleyball and Ultimate Frisbee. After that we went back to Daniel’s church for dinner with his youth group in Orlova. We were gone from 7:00 in the morning until 10:00 that evening. Great Day.
Friday – We left at 6:30 a.m. for Frydekmistek to share the English camp message with our last school. We taught English in 5 classes, showing them what life at the English camp is like. We then went to Frydlnlant to have lunch with a local youth group and then had a meeting with Dave Patty, the leader of the Josiah Venture ministry. It was a great encouragement to hear the story of Josiah Venture and how this ministry got started and is currently working. After our meeting with Dave, we took the Bullet train back to Prague, which was a 3 ½ hour trip. Danny and Kim – Our Missionaries
Saturday/Sunday– Daniel took us sightseeing in the beautiful city of Prague. It was a display of amazing architecture and design. The cathedral we visited was built in the early 1300’s. We crossed the Charles Bridge and spent the beautiful seventy degree day walking around. We left Sunday at 3:45 a.m. for the airport and flew to Germany/Calgary/Portland. We left Seth Coleman there for another two weeks of traveling to Italy with no plans but to backpack and explore. Kari Anderson flew to Croatia where she will be for another two weeks helping Rob and Liz Trenckmann promote the English camps in Croatia. Conclusion – As the basketball coach at Multnomah, this trip was an extra special blessing because Danny played basketball for me for three years and has now been on the mission field in the Czech Republic for three years. Danny was one of the guys that went on our first mission’s trip to Taiwan back in 2005. I saw our athletes grow on this trip as they experienced what the culture, mood, and religion of the Czech Republic is all about. The Czech students were very guarded at first; you had to earn their trust before they would give any feedback. Our players did a great job of engaging them on many levels, and by the end of each day we had made many friends and had invited many students to the English camps. It was really cool to meet with Dave Patty - a Multnomah graduate - who shared his vision on how he started Josiah Leading this trip was easy – I just sat back and let Danny do all the work. Venture nearly 20 years ago. It was through an opportunity to teach English in the schools in the Czech Republic that over 100 English camps have been developed. The camps have 50% believers and 50% non believers, with half of the believers being Americans that teach and develop relationships with the Czech students, sharing the Gospel of Christ when the opportunity presents itself. Coach Vos and I would like to thank all of our donors that made this trip happen. We could not have done anything without you. Thank you for your prayers as well. We had a safe trip where we learned many things about the Czech culture and history, and where we also learned that young people are the same all over the world. It was a privilege to represent Multnomah University at these schools and in these youth groups.
Coach Vos with Poland in the background
A typical city block in Prague
One of the churches in Prague
This was the Czech”Thomas the Train” – the size of the train tells you how far out in the country Litvinov was.