Thankfulness & Praise a visual update from Benjamin Helge, LCMS Missionary, serving our Lord in Havířov-Šumbark, Czech Republic and Eurasia

Even though the Czech Republic doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving in an American way, every year, I end up celebrating at least a few times, much more than I would in the US. However, I am grateful for this, for the opportunity to share traditions, invite people into my life and share the Good News. Read on to learn about the creative ways Thanksgiving happened during the pandemic. This Thanksgiving as well as everyday, I thank God for you, my faithful readers, prayer warriors and supporters. Thank you for your continued prayers, encouragement and support as we do all this for the sake of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Benjamin D. Helge, LCMS Missionary

Unending Thanks (and Thanksgiving Celebrations)

Student invitations for our online event

Gathers limited to six people could put a damper on our traditional Thanksgiving celebration for English Talk Group (ETG). Previous years, up to twenty-five people packed into my two-room apartment for a cozy feast. People even sat in my bathtub one year because I lacked chairs. So how could we make 2020 look similar? Simply, we couldn't. Things would look different and they did. Instead of packing into my apartment, we packed into our kitchens and met over Zoom. Instead of me cooking all of the food, students cooked a couple traditional American Thanksgiving dishes with the guidance of special guests Kate Owens (my cousin) and Linda Lueders (friend and next door neighbor in the US). Instead of hearing the Gospel message in person, our group heard the Good News of Christ crucified, risen, reigning and returning through their computer speakers.

Helge's Thanksgiving food delivery at your service. ETG students receive their bags filled with turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and some decorations. I didn't expect them to cook the entire Thanksgiving dinner.

Students each received a packet of information in advance, complete with ingredient lists to make sweet potato casserole (led by Kate) and stuffing (led by Linda). A very special thank you to both Kate and Linda for their time, teaching and witness.

Kate leads our first session giving tips and tricks such as how to properly use a knife and how to prevent your pot of boiling potatoes from bubbling over. Check out Kate's cooking page on Facebook: Kate's Kitchen LNK
Linda teaches and shares her mother-in-law's recipe for stuffing. She definitely did it justice as all the students raved about it!

After food delivery and a few hours of cooking together in the kitchen, we cleaned up and sat around our tables to enjoy the meal.

Niki and Alex lead the group in plating and presentation.
Honza and Danek show us a well laid out table.
Brothers Sam and Michal with friend Tomasz prep their plates with excitement.
Sitting down at the table "together" to devour the food we prepared.

As always, before the evening finished, the Gospel was shared. Students heard yet again of the life we have in Christ Jesus alone. Some heard it for the 100th time while others for only the second. We pray that God gives faith to those who hear His Word. Lives have already been changed in Havířov, and we thank God that He continues to work. All praise to Him alone.

Celebrating as a Missionary Team

I thank God for other LCMS missionary teammates nearby. Chelsea Irwin, GEO missionary, serves in the town of Bohumín (about 25 minutes away), where she works with a local Lutheran church to share the Gospel with a variety of age groups. Our Thanksgiving table spread included all our favorites, even green bean casserole despite the lack of canned cream of mushroom soup. Of course the food was delicious, but even greater, the company. Join me in praying for Chelsea and the opportunities she has to share the message of Christ crucified with students and even those who live with her at the church parsonage. We pray that God gives her strength and boldness in all that she does.

GEO Missionary Chelsea Irwin and I celebrate on actual Thanksgiving Day! The rest of the Czechs went about with their normal days.

The Odds & Ends

Each month always has its odds and ends. "Odds & Ends" are some quick snapshots of a few of the daily happenings not tied directly to a group or a full story. Enjoy.

Our band, LiftUp, recording "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" (in Czech of course) for the church's use online while Sunday services are still being streamed on YouTube.
We (our church plant team) usually host a game night on the fourth Sunday of the month as a way to get to know people in the community. November's game night brought new people in but through a different platform, online gaming. Two young men from our church plant led the group in playing Among Us. Laughter, fun and new connections resulted. While we miss sitting around a table together planning out our next moves, we are thankful for this new way to meet people. (K4, as seen above, is the name for our church plant in Havířov.)

Praying for you, brothers and sisters. God guard and keep you as you share His love with all those around, even over the Internet. Keep your eyes focused on Jesus, the true King, who is in control of all things. Thank you for all that you do.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV).

Send me your thoughts, prayer requests and any other comments at benjamin.helge@lcms.org and prayerfully consider partnering with this mission.

Created By
Benjamin Helge