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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Church Planting   Church Planting  

Since 2000 we have been serving in a small town just east of Prague (the home town of John & Kelsie Mullen). There we have held English Camps every year, youth groups, English conversation groups, and bible studies. We call the English ministry to the youth "English Club." In 2007 we built the city's first playground on a site that had been a playground decades ago. In 2008 we filled the town with Christian music as we held our first music festival, Heartbeat 2008, and we held our first Sunday service (aka Christian concert) in May thanks to the help from Antioch Churches in Germany.

Countless PCF members have been involved in the ministries in Uvaly. Most notably Matthew Elphick has done a fantastic job co-leading the English Camps for several years.


Click HERE to view the photos of the 2007 English Camp.
Click HERE to open the photo album of the construction of the new playground in Uvaly.
YWAM (Youth with a Mission)  YWAM (Youth with a Mission) 

Youth With A Mission is an international movement of Christians from many denominations dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. Also known as YWAM (pronounced "WYE-wam"), our calling is to know God and to make Him known. Back when we began in 1960, our main focus was to get youth into short-term mission work and to give them opportunities to reach out in Jesus' name. Today, we still focus on youth, and we also involve people of almost every age (even many people who choose to spend their "retirement" in active service). Our many ministries fit into three main categories: evangelism, training and mercy ministry. We are currently operating in more than 1000 locations in over 149 countries, with a staff of nearly 16,000.

The Harshes and the Gorts are with YWAM Prague. Prior PCF member Doris Rabus is leading a new base under the authority of YWAM Herrnhut base in Cheb (near German boarder). Luke and Madga Tiehen are also serving there. Also Kelsie Mullen serves as a Discipleship Training School (DTS) teacher for YWAM bases throughout Europe.

Over a decade ago there was another YWAM team in Prague. This prior YWAM Prague team was led by prior PCF members Joanie Herwig and Laurie Luby.

PCF and YWAM have participated together in visiting refugee camps to build relationships and share the gospel. PCF has baptized several people we meet in refugee camps. Many YWAM teams come through Prague and team up with PCF.
  Foreign Missions 

Often PCF members are serving as missionaries in the Czech Republic. Currently serving on the field are prior members: , Micheal Stadler (missionary to his neighboring country Austria), Ted Whang , Sam Ewell (serving in Brazil),Andy Faust (serving with Wycliffe), and Will Porter (serving in Kenya).

PCF foreign missions began with church members embarking on various missions trips. In 2001 Magdalena Tiehen left for Sudan. She introduced us to Pastor Tijwog Agwet, SCM (Sudanese Christian Ministries) at Sudan Prayer Mountain-Kaya, South Sudan. She returned the following year bring the fruit of our first fund-raising event. Also, in 2002 Eliška Landovská spent with summer in Siberia, the district of Khakhaz, working with Wycliffe translators. In 2003 we partnered with IHOPP to raise more funds for SCM ministry and school.

In 2006 PCF member Matthew Elphick went to Belarus to use his skills as a professional trainer to help lead a youth camp for "Belarus orphans" (WLFK).. In 2007 he took a team back during summer, and at Christmas. Garth Wright led another team that year to visit orphanages. In the spring of 2008 we held a fund raising event for WLFKs, raising almost $3,000 at the time. A team returned in the summer to help again with their summer program and deliver the funds. In 2008 Garth also led a team to the Ukraine around the same time. In Ukraine they worked with Nehemiah Ministries serving both Ukrainian and Gypsy churches. Garth returned to Ukraine with teams in 2009 and 2010. We also continued to raise money in 2009 and 2010 for the orphans in Belarus.
IHOPP (International House of Prayer Prague)  IHOPP (International House of Prayer Prague) 

The House of Prayer in Prague (IHOPP) is biblically modeled after the church's priestly role in ministry to the Lord as reflected by the primary activity taking place in Heaven (Heb. 8:5 "They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven.") A key verse describing what is happening these days is found in Amos 9:11:

"In that day I will restore David's fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore it's ruins, and build it as it used to be..."

David's tabernacle (or dwelling place) can be studied in detail in the book of I Chronicles. His desire was for the presence of God. He built a special tent to house the Ark of the Covenant and he placed singers and musicians before the ark to minister to God.

Worship in the heart of the Tabernacle of David can best be described in three ways. First, it is 24-7 or 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (Lev. 6:13 "The fire must be kept burning on the altar continuously; it must not go out."). Second it is "harp and bowl" ministry (Rev. 5:8 "Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints."). The harp in this verse refers to God's songs and God's music in the heavenly court and the bowl refers to God's prayers. Third, it is a model of worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23, 24 "Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."). Overall, this ministry requires that believers have the priestly identity of Levites, ministers to the Living God.

IHOPP was officially established on May 29, 2003 by Miloš Kačírek, John & Kelsie Mullen, Michelle Ricciardello, and Lee Ann Thompson. Since the inception John has since served on the board of directors, Kelsie and Markéta Lišková have served faithfully on the English Watch every Thursday evening. Martina Vršková has faithfully led a watch early Monday mornings since 2007. Kelsie and Markéta also pioneered Night Watchs which brings various Christian traditions together to pray and worship all night long.

Prior PCF members Zora Kounovksa, Mirek Šedivý and Martin Kouklik have faithfully led a Czech watches since the inception.
CISP (Christian International School of Prague)  CISP (Christian International School of Prague) 

The Christian International School of Prague (CISP) was established in 2004 for the purpose of providing an educational opportunity - one that is academically excellent, relationally nurturing, and practically oriented - from a biblical perspective designed to assist students to know God better and to serve and transform their community for Christ. CISP serves families with children in grades 1 through 12 with a distinctively Christian approach to education.

John Mullen was one of six founders of the new school. Siting on the first board of directors were John and prior PCF Member Klára Šedivá. John served on the board of directors for 6 years, prior PCF member Marie Kouklíková, still serves on the supervisory board. PCF has provided over the years many volunteer teachers including Laura Farrel, Sherry Robins, Ricky Fanning, Marcus Frakes, Joe Beamer, and Kelsie Mullen. Renata Vanková was employed as full-time office manager for most of the school's history. Kelsie also served as the school nurse and continues to help with teacher training and is sometimes asked to assist teachers with health and nutrition programs.

Robin Harsh and Amy Funka currently volunteer as a part-time administrator and full-time teacher, respectively.
Nathan Parry  Nathan Parry 

There probably won’t be many people left at PCF these days who remember me, but my name is Nathan and I was a member there for about a year in 2001. I’m a “Kiwi” (i.e., from New Zealand) and was travelling the world after finishing university which is a rite of passage for many in my country. My trip had an intentionally spiritual dimension to it however, as I had just finished a theology degree, wanted to apply it to “real life,” and was considering a call to full-time ministry.

So, part of my trip was to see how I would maintain my faith in an alien environment and without the Christian support I’d grown up in, and to see if I felt up to the calling of “ordained ministry” when I got home.

Like many before me, travelling around meant I soon got out of the habit of church attendance. Having tasted God though, I felt the loss! Six months after my unintended move to Prague I found myself regularly stopping in the various beautiful Catholic churches around the city for prayer, as I trekked between my English teaching classes. In my church background, my experiences of worship usually revolved around words and music with little space for silence or visual beauty. Being still, listening to God, and being drawn to praise by the beauty of the architecture or art of the Prague churches was a revelation to me.

I soon, however, also began to crave Christian fellowship, and through the local newspaper stumbled upon PCF! I have very fond memories of my time there and the people I met - a diverse group of believers from many countries. Some of the people were longer in the faith than others, some new converts, all with our own issues, most seeming to be “aliens” in the world in some sense. PCF for me was a genuine community of faith - struggling, supporting and sharing. Church as my theology textbooks told me it should be.

After my time in Europe I taught in Korea for a year. Largely this was an enforced time of solitude as few in my town spoke English. I nearly went insane (or did I???), but returned home to NZ with a solid conviction that I should put my name forward to test if I really was called by God to be a minister or not. Up until then in my life I’d had the luxury of being able to choose whatever church to attend as it took my fancy, but when you train for ministry you pretty much have to choose a particular denomination or tradition. As I’d grown up Presbyterian I went with them. Though I still felt too young to be pastoring a church, I knew how that denomination worked and I had enjoyed being a teacher, so the culture of a solid 20 minute sermon each Sunday appealed to me.

I was accepted for two years of practical training down in the south of NZ which was really good. I spent some time as an intern in a Baptist church and some time interning as a hospital chaplain. I also re-connected with a beautiful Catholic woman called Amber who agreed to marry me on the condition we move to Wellington when I graduated! Churches are usually pretty small in NZ. There are some big inner-city churches where most young people tend to go, but the majority of churches are suburban or in small rural towns. The average church size is about 50 people – this means one minister per church, or even one minister looking after two or three churches. A church like this can be pretty fragile, and a bad match of minister & congregation can kill a church. There was only one church vacant in Wellington when I graduated, a faith community of about 80 people in a beautiful suburb on the coast – so I applied without expecting to be called. God must have intervened though, because for some reason they decided to take a risk and call me, an untried new graduate, to lead them on into their next phase of life together.

We’ve nearly been here five years now, and it’s been great! It’s a very supportive, family church. Initially I was struck by how many people with disabilities were in the congregation. This is a faith community where all feel included and loved, and so families with such issues gravitate here. In the years before I came they reversed the usual trend for small suburban churches and did very well at retaining their young people. This meant that we came into a church with lots of single young adults, but very few children. A Young Adult study group was one of the very first new ministries I set up, and is one of the most enjoyable things I do as a minister.

Sunday School has had its ups and downs, but like attracts like, and two years ago Amber and I had our first child, Anwyn. There are now five under-2’s and about 15 children in Sunday School. We’ve also employed one of our young mums as a kid’s worker – to serve our suburb and pastorally care for our church kids. With her help we’ve tried to give children a more prominent place in church life, and have gone through a Presbyterian programme to become an officially certified “Kid’s Friendly” church.

Another main focus for her is a morning play group we’ve started with the intention of it becoming a church-connected community of support and meaning rather than just entertainment or even a platform to evangelise. 40-45 toddlers each time would be normal. I’m usually the only dad there which can be weird, but it’s a great way to get to know families!

As well as that local outreach, an international element has been added to our church. We had a young couple here who worked with the refugees and homeless of Wellington. They felt called to greater challenges though, and earlier in the year they moved into a slum in Manila with a mission called Servants – a group that seeks to bring the love of God to the poorest on the planet. Living in a slum doesn’t cost much money, so we are able to support them in doing this work!

Ministry has proven to be both rewarding and challenging, but God is good. He does not leave us nor forsake us, and I have received a divine empowering strength to minister in difficult situations despite my youth and inexperience. This doesn’t stop me being an idiot sometimes of course, but humility in owning and seeking to make amends for a mistake gives God a profound opportunity to change all involved. When we are weak, we are strong!

John said I could ask for prayer for our church community, an opportunity I will not pass up. Please pray for our children’s work! For some reason our suburb is saturated with children, statistics show that 50% of households are couples with children. We’re well under way in reaching out to pre-schoolers and their parents, we’re beginning things for 5-10s, and we’re starting to dream dreams for 11-14s. Check out www.IBPC.org.nz if you want to know more about us.
Nathan


Will Porter - Global Connections  Will Porter - Global Connections 

Africa . . . somewhere I never really had a huge desire to go – but here is where I find myself - in Kenya to be exact. I live in a small village about 30 km northwest of Nairobi among tea and coffee fields. Shortly after I moved back to the States – one of my best friends called me up. He sits on the board for an organization called Global Connections and they were looking for someone to move to Kenya to help oversee the operations. I was pretty shocked at first and told him that I needed to think and pray about it for a bit. A few days later God gave me a certain peace about the situation – and I ran through that open door. I was on the plane about two weeks later.

Global Connections is an organization that was started by the aforementioned friend of mine about four years ago after he came to Kenya and saw what was happening here. He saw people starving, people being thrown out of society because of HIV and so many other social issues that it would make your head spin. But the most intriguing part of it all was how these people are so joyful in spite of these situations. They have a love for Christ that, where I come from, is rarely seen.

Global Connections has several goals. Firstly, we want to help the people of Kenya in whatever ways we can. We are intentionally trying to build community here and love the people as our own family and friends. We fully fund an orphanage that has 35 children, called Limuru Children’s Centre. We also have two preschools that include feeding programs for another 100 children. There is a scholarship program that funds 40 children in the secondary school. At the moment there are over 300 kids from ages 4 - 20 whom we are trying to serve and love the best ways we know how. The latest endeavor is a baby centre for children who have HIV and have literally been thrown out with the rubbish. We are hoping to open this in the next few months and to take in 4-6 infants.

There are many other activities going on and we have many partners here that we work with. One is an organization called Care for Aids. There are several other organizations in the slums and refugee camps, as well as environmental programs.

The second part of what we do is to bring people on service trips to Kenya. We feel that the more people see what is going on here their hearts will be broken. This is how we got here essentially, and as our hearts continue to break we want to continue on this journey - the journey of trying to figure out what it really means to love your neighbor and take care of the orphans and widows. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support through the years. You all have been wonderful and I still consider PCF my home church and probably will for a long while. If you would like any more information in what we do, please feel free to contact me personally or check out our website:

www.globalconnectionsonline. org
Michael Stadler  Michael Stadler 

I remember my time at PCF with gratitude and joy; the friendships with John & Kelsie and many believers, the love, the worship, and the fun. I became a church-planting pastor in Salzburg after studying at the International Baptist Seminary in Prague from 1995-1998. During my years in Prague I was a member of PCF and Pastor John attended my ordination in July 1999. Austria, like the Czech Republic, is one of the tougher places for the gospel in Europe and Salzburg was particularly hard. I faced many difficulties, spiritual oppression and despite prayer and fasting, spiritual matters did not really advance. I considered giving up, but the city had its grip on me. Prophets prophesied revival and breakthrough over me, yet nothing was visible. My team in Salzburg did many evangelistic meetings with hardly any fruit. We also had many nights of prayer, and I wept many tears over the lost.

In August 2004 I positioned myself in the invisible realm and declared to the enemy: “Devil, this city is too small for the two of us, one has to leave and it won’t be me!” Shortly after, all hell broke loose. My wife left me for another man. I faced humiliation, trials, and slander which damaged my reputation. But I went ahead, never giving up. In 2006 I had no family left, no church, just Jesus. I had left my denomination and all religious institutions. Then the Lord began anew with me. I saw Christ ever more clearly in the spirit, felt inwardly pregnant with the things of God and felt the mighty life of Christ rising up in me. I walked the streets of Salzburg with birth pains over the Church, but found no venue for meetings. Then in October 2006 worship services of the new church started. In 2008 we experienced a brutal church split; some left and some new people came. In 2009 the Holy Spirit revealed His name for the church: “Believe the Love!” based on 1 John 4:16.

Our Church grew to 20 and in August 2010 we hosted a Bible conference with other ministers. At that time we experienced an outpouring of the Holy Spirit which led to 38 days of extended meetings in a hotel with many from all over Germany, Austria and even Hungary attending. We did quite a lot of spiritual warfare and the spiritual climate has improved significantly. Since then our Church has doubled in size. Healings, signs and wonders, brotherly love and spiritual authority have all increased. We live-stream our services in the German language with an increasing number of believers watching. People attend our meetings twice a week driving up to 220 km and back because they are so appreciative of the living Word, the anointing, glory and presence of God in our meetings.

God gave me the power to completely forgive. He beautifully restored the relationship with my wife to one of honor (she is now remarried in America). Her two children love me like a father and God gave me the heart to still care like a father for them (their natural father died before we married back in 2001). Though not ever having physically become a father, God made me a spiritual father to many; healing, honor and restoration is flowing through me to severely rejected and broken men and women. My heart is to encourage, honor, bring values, build character, and encourage childlike faith and trust in Jesus. God also is using me in an apostolic manner to start and consult churches¸ lead people to Christ, raise up leaders, and to hold seminars in more and more parts of Germany. I am privileged to grow in His revelation, wisdom, understanding and the prophetic. The Lord is confirming it with signs and wonders and prophetic people acknowledging my ministry. It is just beautiful and I am so grateful and overwhelmed by His goodness and faithfulness. Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah!

I would be very appreciative if you like to contact me or pray for me. My brotherly love and greetings now come to you from my heart and from Salzburg, the Sound-of-Music-City in Austria!

My e-mail is mhstadler@t-online.de. Our Website (mostly German language but it has evangelistic media in English) is www.glaubederliebe.at. ■
Sam Ewell  Sam Ewell 

[Editor’s note: Sam was a member of PCF for two years and left to attend seminary in the USA.]

Hi. My name is Sam Ewell. I lived in Prague from '95 - '97 and was a member of Prague Christian Fellowship. I came with a mission’s agency called ESI who placed Christian teachers in secular high schools.

Living overseas can be an exciting adventure of newness and growth, but it can also be disorienting and isolating. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer says in Life Together, we can only live for God with others; there is no such thing as a “solo Christian.” He also says that we can never take Christian community for granted. In other words, you can't ‘fabricate’ it; you can only receive it as a gift.  

While I was in Prague, God lavished this gift of community through fellow teachers with ESI and also through PCF. Through common worship, home groups, and lots of fellowship, the Lord strengthened me and challenged me in love. When I think back on this time – being a young, tender Christian in a foreign land – I like to think of ESI and PCF as “cultures of grace and truth” – places where, if you stay put and stay rooted long enough, you will grow. What a gift!

My experience in Prague led me to Seminary at Duke University. There I met my wife, Rosalee, and we married in '99. Rosalee and I served as missionaries in Brazil (where Rosalee is from) from 2003 - 2010. As missionaries in Brazil, we wore a few different hats: primarily, we taught at a theological seminary, and we helped plant a Baptist church (with Rosalee’s parents!) However, being in Brazil was much more than being in the ‘missionary role;’ we became a bi-national, bilingual, and bi-cultural family. Somehow ‘in between’ American & Brazilian – what I like to call brasicano!

Currently, we live in the UK, where I am doing doctoral research and Rosalee works as an editor/theological consultant with the WEA (World Evangelical Alliance). We have children: James (11); Isabella (8); and Katharine (5).

When I left university and went to Prague back in '95, I believed in God and I knew that I wanted to serve God. But I thought that the Christian life was basically about being good, so I thought that Christians basically please God by doing good things. Yes, of course, goodness has its place, but I came to see how focusing on my goodness and what I was doing for God was a subtle version of "the yeast of the Pharisees" – that kind of self-absorption and comparison with others that Jesus rebuked!

So I came to recognize that – more than my goodness – God wanted my TRUST. And, interestingly enough, leaving home, leaving parents, leaving my circle of friends, I realized that God was gently guiding me beyond a comfort zone of BELIEF (i.e., I know you exist and love us) into an adventure of TRUST (i.e., an Abrahamic journey to leave your own country and go to the place the Lord sends you).

And so, for the first time in my life, I found myself “out of control” but not “in chaos.” In fact, I found myself being GUIDED. I also found myself TRUSTING.

I found myself writing back to my parents: “This is harder than I imagined –and much more joyful than I ever imagined.” God surprised me with new friends, a new extended family, and a new country (so to speak) –everything He promised to those who followed Him in order to seek the kingdom first (Mt. 6:33).

Along the way, I began to hear some clear “NOs” from God. Stumbling along to trust Jesus and not just try “to avoid doing the wrong thing” – the yeast of the Pharisees again – I came to realize that TRUST makes a way. That behind every NO from God, there is a bigger and better YES.

That's a bit of my story (the abridged version, not the extended remix version :-).

Although I'm not Presbyterian, I'll conclude with 3 points, or better, 3 jewels of wisdom that I have tried to guard in my heart since Prague:
1. Behind every NO there is a better YES.
2. Be prepared for God to use you through your weakness(es) and not because of your strengths.
3. Comparison is the thief of joy. So try to live a comparison-free life.

Much love,
Sam
  Uvaly English Camp 

  PCF Ministry in Úvaly 

  YWAM DTS Bulgaria 

  Refugee Camp Ministry 

  WLFK Orphan Camp 

  MarchMadness Fundraiser 

  PCF IHOPP Team 

  IHOPP Leaders 

  IHOPP Land 

  CISP Founders 

  Nathan & Amber 

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