First Czech Trip
My First Trip to the Czech Republic...
At Taylor University, there is a January program called Lighthouse that sends about one hundred students to six or so destinations around the world for a one-month-long mission trip. My first destination choice for Lighthouse was Ecuador—as it is a Spanish-speaking country—followed second by Japan and thirdly, the Czech Republic. The way the acceptance process works is that the sponsors for each destination pray over the applicants and decide through prayer who should be chosen for their team. I was not chosen for Ecuador and the Japan trip did not end up working out as a destination, but I was chosen to go to the Czech Republic.
I was at peace about this decision. More than that, I was excited. Even though I would not be able to work on my Spanish while there, I knew that this was where God wanted me to be. My team was set to serve in the town of Chotebor where we would primarily serve to teach English in local schools, to work with a local youth group, and to run sporting events. We took all of the preceding fall semester to get to know each other as a team and to prepare ourselves for the trip, and when we finally arrived in the Czech Republic on January 5, I was made uncomfortable by how comfortable I was there. In the past when I had gone on mission trips, it always took me two days or so to adjust to being in a new place—even in England.
When I arrived in the Czech Republic though, I felt strangely at home. As I continued to observe the culture and to get to know people better, I found myself thinking, “The Czech people—my people.” From the sarcastic, sassy and witty senses of humor I encountered to the reserved, quiet natures to the many life outlooks that tried to avoid disappointment by expecting it, I found that I could relate with many people through my own personality and past struggles. I was entirely in my element while I was there, and it was by far the best mission trip I had ever been on.
I left the Czech Republic feeling as though I was leaving something behind—a figurative suitcase that by necessity, I would have to come back for someday. If I were to guess, the figurative suitcase contained my heart and I would have to retrieve it somehow. After I had returned to the States, everyone who had gone on a Lighthouse trip received an e-mail from the professor in charge of the Lighthouse programs about more short-term mission opportunities and internships through other organizations. Word To All was the first organization listed, and when I saw that it was mission organization in Prague, I quickly sent out an e-mail in order to receive more information. After much prayer, consideration and advice-seeking, I applied to serve with Word To All for three months.