""If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my followers for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth (*hint - He is Jesus), and the truth (Jesus) will free you." - John 8:31,32
"So let's not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don't give up, or quit." - Galatians 6:9
If you stick with this, then... There have been so many days that we didn't want to stick with this. We didn't like this new adventure in Prague. We came believing that we would get here, get settled and start a church in a few months. How hard can it be?!? Smile a lot, be friendly, meet a few people, start a small group, pray and then voila, we would have a church. Things went a little (okay, a lot) less smoothly than we thought they would, and we found ourselves questioning if we had what it takes. Surely someone, or anyone, would be better at this than we were. We did have a friend tell us "maybe there is someone better, but they didn't say yes. You said yes." This hurt our pride a little but helped a lot.
We did say, yes, even if we sometimes wished that we would have never been given the burden... or choice...scratch that...opportunity. This is a better choice of words. However, we have been tempted to say enough is enough when both of our children faced the enemies of fear, anxiety and sickness. When we weren't sure if we would have enough money for our children's schooling, or even to meet our budget, we considered and wondered how nice it would be to live in the land of convenience...the land of familiarity. Surely, God would have understood if we would have moved home, bought a house, lived close to friends and wanted to see our family more than once every year and a half.
As much as we miss our family and friends, we are so glad that we said yes to our calling and yes to this adventure. As hard as life has been at times (We are sure that many of you could say the same), we are grateful that we have been able to experience a bigger life in a bigger world that now includes friends from many countries. You have helped make this possible for us and our children.
Thank you for sticking by us as we traveled and raised our budget and as we spent the next three years trying to start something or anything. Thank you for sticking by us when Gideon went through anxiety and fear and when Karis went through health problems. Thank you for sticking by us when we felt the way we did, when we shared at your church honestly, when we wrote truthfully on Facebook or in our newsletters. After all the tears and pain and missing friends and family, after all the miles and days and months and even years, there is a church in the heart of Prague. We sometimes cannot believe that God would choose us to be a part of it. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
This last Sunday, we stood in the room where our church meets and could not help but be overcome by emotions and gratitude. While it is true that there have been struggles and sadness, nothing can compare to knowing that you are where God wants you to be. Nothing can be compared to the realization that God is faithful. The worship team began to play and this energy filled the room. God's presence was real. Something happened on Sunday that I cannot adequately describe, except to say that we had a breakthrough.
We watched our Czech friend Kristyna, whom we have known for almost 5 years, lead worship beautifully. The worship was anointed and powerful. Our Australian drummer was awesome, our Czech guitarist and our Dutch guitarist did an amazing job. Our backup singer from Belarus did a super job, as well, and our Slovakian percussionist was flawless. It was beautiful and we were so incredibly proud of the team that God has brought and the place that the church is now in. People were rising their hands, a few came forward for prayer and many were expressing their excitement. Our children's church kids sang a song for the first time in regular service. It was a great day.
We cannot begin to express how grateful we are that we get to do this with our lives. We think if somehow, we would have cut this short or taken the easy way out, we would have missed so much. Our lives are richer because we trusted Christ as He led us here and as He has continued to lead us. We want to encourage you to trust Him, always and in every way, because He knows what is best for your life. The one who created you knows what you are created for and the most fulfilling life is the one lived in obedience to Him.
We love you friends,
Chris, Amy, Gideon and Karis Hales