This Sunday was our first English Bible study. Unfortunately, we had no visitors. Please be in prayer for this ministry opportunity. We have placed the following flyer in all the dorms and student centers in the English speaking community of the university in Brno.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Please remember to be in prayer for the children of Brno Bible Baptist Church. Mikky and Maty, they could be the only students in their classes that believe there is God. Also pray for James, this is his last year, yes, he is a senior. I am not sure who needs more prayer, him or his mom. David,now in the 9th grade says - prayer please.
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 8:31 AM
Thursday, May 22, 2014
We are praising the Lord for sending a new family our way. Jana and Josef live here in our village. We were introduced to them by one of Debra’s English students. Debra has also witnessed to this particular student many times yet she remains a staunch Catholic. She knew, however, that this other family might be open to the message of the gospel so she introduced us. Josef and Jana, along with their two young daughters have been with us for two consecutive weeks. We met with them again in their home to answer any questions they may have. Please pray for them to come under conviction and trust the Savior.
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 8:47 AM
Sunday, May 18, 2014
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 8:45 AM
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I have written in the past about Lenka. She is the English teacher in the middle school in our village. Debra has been tutoring her in her advanced college English course. She is the one responsible for getting Debra and the boys into the classroom to speak to the students. She was sharing some very sad statistics with Debra the other day. Out of 23 students in her class, only 7 have both a father and mother that live at home with them. That means that only 30% of Czech children are being raised in a nuclear home. This was not at all the case under communism. Adding freedom to an already secular society has only accelerated the deterioration of the family. Even this English teacher can see the problems associated with this trend although she sees no way to reverse it. Praise God, we know the way, Amen?
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 1:48 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Czech Republic Easter Symbols
The Days Before Easter Sunday
Many Czech Easter symbols are related to spring and the beginning of new life. Some of the best known are:
• Easter Eggs and kraslice
The hand-painted or otherwise decorated egg (kraslice) is the most recognizable symbol of Czech Easter. Girls decorate Easter eggs to give them to boys on Easter Monday. There are many Easter egg decorating techniques and the more elaborate ones require a certain level of skill. Different materials can be used, such as bee's wax, straw, watercolors, onion peels, picture stickers. The most common designs are probably geometrical patterns, but you can also see flowers, leaves or snowflake patterns in a whole range of colors. There are no limitations to creating pretty, colorful eggs.
A nationwide Easter egg contest is held in Prague and other Czech cities around Easter time.
• Pussywillow and pomlázka
Young, live pussywillow twigs are thought to bring health and youth to anyone who is whipped with them. An Easter pomlázka (from pomladit or "make younger") is a braided whip made from pussywillow twigs. It has been used for centuries by boys who go caroling on Easter Monday and symbolically whip girls on the legs. In the past, pomlázka was also used by the farmer's wife to whip the livestock and everyone in the household, including men and children. There would be no Czech Easter without the pomlázka.
Boys used to make their own pomlázkas in the past. The more twigs, the more difficult it was to braid one. This skill is not widespread anymore and pomlázkas can be bought in stores and street stands. Some men don't even bother and use a single twig or even a wooden spoon!
• Baby Animals - Lamb, Bunny Rabbit, Chicken
One Easter tradition is to bake a lamb. In the Czech Republic, real lamb is usually replaced with one made from gingerbread.
Dousing a girl with water has a similar symbolic meaning as the pomlázka.
• The Color Red
Red and other bright colors symbolize health, joy, happiness and new life that comes with the spring.
The Days Before Easter Sunday
The following is based on my experience of Easter in the Northern Moravia region.
Children finish school on Ugly Wednesday (Škaredá středa), which is a good idea because they need to spend some serious time on making Easter what it should be. In the evening of Green Thursday (Zelený čtvrtek), every boy in the village equips himself with a wooden rattle (řehtačka), which is specially made for the purpose, the boys form a group and walk through the village, rattling their rattles vigorously, so the noise can be heard from afar. The meaning of the rattling is to chase away Judas. The same procedure repeats on Good Friday (Velký pátek) and one more time on White Saturday (Bílá sobota) when the boys don't only walk through the village but stop at every house in the morning and rattle until they're given money, which they then split between themselves.
Easter Sunday (Neděle velikonoční) is a day of preparations for Easter Monday. Girls paint, color and decorate eggs if they haven't done so already, and boys prepare their pomlázkas!
In my family, decorating Easter eggs is a simple affair: dip some hardboiled eggs in water filled with boiled onion peels and then place store-bought Easter stickers on the eggs.
Easter Monday (Pondělí velikonoční) is a day off, the day of the pomlázka.
The origin of the pomlázka tradition (pomlázka meaning both the whip and the tradition itself) dates back to pagan times. Its original purpose and symbolic meaning is to chase away illness and bad spirits and to bring health and youth for the rest of the year to everyone who is whipped with the young pussywillow twigs. Boys would whip girls lightly on the legs and possibly douse them with water, which had a similar symbolic meaning. An Easter carol, usually asking for an egg or two, would be recited by the boy while whipping. The girl would then reward the boy with a painted egg or candy and tie a ribbon around his pomlázka. As the boys progressed through the village, their bags filled up with eggs and their pomlázkas were adorned with more and more colorful ribbons.
This tradition is still largely upheld, especially in villages and small towns, although it may have lost its symbolism and romance and is now performed mainly for fun. Some boys and men seem to have forgotten that the whipping is supposed to be only symbolic and girls don't always like that. The reward has also changed - money and shots of plum brandy (slivovice) are often given instead of or in addition to painted eggs and candy. So by early afternoon, groups of happy men can be seen staggering along the roads... All that aside, Easter remains one of the most joyful holidays on the Czech calendar.
Happy Easter! - Veselé Velikonoce!
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 7:47 AM
Monday, April 7, 2014
This month (March and April) we are spending extended times in prayer and fasting. We are asking the Lord to answer some very specific requests. We are also asking the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest. There is so much work to be done and the laborers are so few. Won’t you pray with us for the Lord to do great things in these last days?
Posted by Jeffrey Allison at 10:11 AM