So much has happened these past few months, and I am so glad that I can share with you what has been going on. The last time I wrote, Lucie and I were just about to get married… and now we are! We have had nearly a year together and no one has died (yet…). We absolutely love it that we can live, work, and serve together as a team – Marriage is awesome!
Because so much time has passed, I will just give the highlights.
Kristfest gets better each year. The theme was “Radost” which means “Joy” in Czech. This past year we had record attendance (over 300 students!) and many either gave their lives to Christ or they renewed their relationship with Him. What a joy, right? So many students came to know what it means to have joy in the Lord and in the presence of Jesus. Lucie and I were so proud, too, because our youth group had a large hand in making everything happen. We had people working at registration, translating, serving and setting up for seminars, and even setting up and taking down the tent. We were so busy! God is so good, though. I believe that it gave us good momentum for the year ahead of us.
After Kristfest, Freshpoint took a short break as Lucie and I went to the States.
trip to America
It was our first time traveling as a couple, living out of suitcases for a month and a half. It was exciting and an incredibly blessed time, if not dificult, at times. We were able to visit good friends, serve both in youth groups and in churches, and we had a chance to encourage and be encouraged. Lucie and I both preached at different churches, and we had an amazing time with many of God’s greatest people (we’re not biased or anything…). Towards the end of the trip we were excited and ready to be back home. We came back to the Czech Republic right at the start of the next school year.
getting back/hardships with Freshpoint
Coming back home was really great and we were still riding that Kristfest “high” a little, but we started to see some difficult things in Freshpoint. All of a sudden it seemed that some people had stopped coming and some people were just less enthusiastic. It wasn’t like we were having a crisis or anything, but it just felt kind of “flat”. Something that we noticed was that it was certainly time to pass more responsibility on to people who had shown that they could handle it. After meeting with our new team and trying some new things out, we started to find our bearing again.
new vision and new life
Over the past few months we were able to refresh the ministry and the youth group has been growing both in number and in spirit. We have a very strong core team of amazing young people who have taken responsibility and who help us greatly. It is amazing to see them grow stronger in God. We also see them serve on the national level in worship, administration, and organization – we are very excited about them! Many things have been going on (our youthgroup is often invited to speak, lead worship, or hold a whole service in many other towns nearby), but one thing that we are very proud about is how this past weekend we hosted a weekend retreat (“víkendovka” in Czech). A few young people from other churches and even unbelievers attended. It was a great time of building relationships and strengthening those bonds, and when it came to the time to focus on God, many were deeply touched and affected by the Holy Spirit. It was great!
In addition, our students are open about God and their faith in Him, and talk about it with their classmates. Some of our students even invited them to some of the events we have had. For example, one of our student’s classmate was completely against church and God. However, through the friendship and our student’s heart, she is now open to Jesus and has already attended two of our events!
what’s coming up
The upcoming season will be exciting for various reasons. We are going to have a concert with a Slovak rapper who talks about Christ during his concerts. If everything goes well, it is going to be in the very heart of the city. In July, we will be at Kristfest again. The topic this year is Fearless. Being in the core team, I am really excited about this and we are expecting great things to happen! Also, in the fall, we will host an outreach called ExitTour (this is the same outreach that I was a part of when I first came to Czech and when God called me to be a full-time missionary here). There are a lot of great things, and we are excited that our youth group is a large part of making things happen!
how you can pray
In our region, we are praying for better relationships among the local churches. The vision is to meet at least four times a year and to have a huge youth meeting together. We strongly believe in this and pray that God will be glorified through it – please be praying with is that God would continue to grow his church in our region and encourage the youth to take a stand for their faith!
Also, I am going to the USA this summer after Kristfest and I am going to visit churches and, unfortunately, Lucie has to stay in the Czech Republic and study for her final exams at university. A great thing, though, is that on the way back, I will have the opportunity to speak at a very large youth festival in London. Please be praying for me as I prepare for this trip, pray that God would provide the resources as I travel, and pray that He would speak through me.
So, that is it in a nutshell! Thanks for taking the time to read through this; we really value our prayer supporters and our family in the States – without you guys, this would be a lot more difficult.
We’re praying you would be blessed in our Saviour and that he would bring you encouragement, just as he has been encouraging us!
Justin and Lucie