We have been in strict quarantine for the last three weeks and there will not be any change for the next two weeks, possibly four. We are not able to drive further than the limits of the district we live in and we are not supposed to walk outside of our town/village. As our village limits are all within 500m of our house this is not very far... it feels a bit stifling.
We have to wear a certain type of mask when we are out and only food/essential areas of shops are open. So, no exercise books or red pens for Barnabas, as requested – we have to buy these online. There have been some arrests in the street of people who were not wearing masks. We hear that the Czech hospitals are full of COVID patients and people we have spoken to generally expect the situation to drag on.
The day before the really strict quarantine started Jirka was scheduled to lead a youth group meeting in the north of Czech. It was amazing that this was possible just before the lockdown and we praise the Lord for this. There were around 50 young people there. It was so good to see so many coming on a very icy Saturday evening. Please give thanks with us for this opportunity.
The Olomouc church plant is currently happening with everyone meeting on Zoom. During this time plans are being made for where to meet, what the meetings will look like, how they will run, how we will reach Olomouc and other aspects. Everyone on the team is really keen. The advantage has been that we have not needed to have a physical meeting place as yet but we are still able to get to know each other better as a team, pray together, encourage each other in the Lord and work out practical things.
Jirka is preaching through 1 John at the Sunday meetings. So far there has been a really positive response. Please pray for him as he prepares and that it would be what we need to hear for the work of bringing God’s people together in the city of Olomouc. During the week there are prayer meetings, at 6am and 6pm on Wednesdays. Please pray that there will be many opportunities to witness to God’s love here.
Even with the limits there has been opportunity for one-to-one evangelism. We have been really encouraged by the interest in the gospel, now people have had such a change to their lives. Please give thanks for these opportunities, both online and in person. There are about four non-Christians who Jirka is in contact with regularly who are asking many questions about the gospel.
The Christianity Explored (now Discipleship Explored) group is a group of people from all around the Czech Republic. Last week there were 39 people there. Jirka is now teaching them from the book of James. Please pray for all who are going to this group, that they will take a lot out of these studies and will see how to apply them to their lives. Give thanks that they are interested and pray for their salvation in the Lord Jesus.
Recently it has been really encouraging for Jirka to lead bible studies in Ephesians with the students over Zoom. At one point it was beginning to look as though after a full day on Zoom/Microsoft Teams they might not be so motivated to come to evening meetings online. However, in the last few weeks there has been a great deal of interest so we are really so thankful for this.
There have been some interesting discussions on how to handle things like postmodernist critiques of the Bible. We are so thankful that we have this opportunity to explain how to present and defend the gospel. Please pray for the students – it is difficult for them to study without access to libraries, photocopiers etc and with exams coming up.
We are managing but some days seem like one long Zoom meeting! The children have not been out of the house very much at all. Keira gets out to the shop and back. We are getting to know people in our village better as people are restricted to home much more. Some of the older people have hardly been out at all and as a result are very happy to stay and chat when they see us having a walk. Please continue to pray for opportunities here.
With much love in Christ, thank you so much for your continuing support and partnership in the gospel. Happy Easter!
Jirka and Keira
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