Recently it was a privilege to spend a few days with ZdenÃ¬k and Nicola KarÃ¡sek in Liberec, teaching God’s Word in relation to creation.
Liberec is close to the old East German and Polish borders in the Bohemian Mountains.
It was here that the Nazis walked into Sudetenland, after the 1938 Munich agreement with its infamous ‘Peace in our time’ speech by Neville Chamberlain.
Liberec fell without a gun being sounded, even though Czechoslovakia’s defences were all prepared.
These defences can still be seen today along the northern border and remind us of the deadly way our enemy Satan can sometimes enter the church without a fight (remember Joshua 9 and the Gibeonites?).
After World War 2, the Yalta talks left the Czechs in the brutal hand of Stalinist Russia for 40 years. Only from 1989 did the nation begin to find its own identity again.
So Czechs are careful and reserved, atheism abounds, and there is little obvious desire for spiritual things.
You say, ‘Just like the UK!’? Yes, but the difference is that most people have no background knowledge of the Bible at all.
A few still attend the RC church, but most are protective of their children coming under Christian influence. The Christian scene is confused too.
In this hard situation, ZdenÃ¬k and Nicola KarÃ¡sek are conducting a small outreach from an independent, Reformed Evangelical church.
The church started just over two years ago in a room connected to the KarÃ¡sek’s home, when Pastor David Kay from Barnstaple spoke at its inaugural meeting.
A congregation of about 10-15 attend on a normal Sunday, but numbers can drop to a handful, particularly in the winter months. There have already been two converts.
The church has now bought and renovated a hall near the centre of the city. Our creation meetings were the first use of this new meeting place.
Though there were never more than about 20 people at these meetings, there were always un-converted people present.
The two children’s meetings (for 4-8 and 9-15 year olds respectively) had a delightful atmosphere. 15 to 20 children at each session joined in the dinosaur pair quizzes, which Juliet and Nicola ran.
I spoke briefly on how this fits into the Bible with the parents listening with some amazement, as they learnt things they had not realised before!
But we heard later that none of these children were allowed to return to Sunday school. Such is the fear and opposition to Christian meetings.
Neutral meeting places
Further creation meetings were held in neutral meeting places, such as the engineering centre where 24 people turned up, which was encouraging.
Another was in a hospital lecture room where about 20 gathered. All the talks were translated into Czech, except on the Friday morning when I spoke to a school sixth-form class that was learning English.
I was not allowed to mention God or religion at that particular meeting, but I argued scientifically for design in nature, and ended by saying that there has to be a mind to produce intelligence (e.g. in DNA).
I was asked at the end, ‘Who then is the Mind?’ That prompted a long conversation with the biology teacher on the whole basis for ethics and morals.
Most notable among the contacts made by the church during these meetings was a young man who came to four meetings. He conversed for a long while on whether he could trust scientifically what was stated in Genesis 1 concerning creation week. The conversation then moved on to the resurrection of Christ.
Another was the husband of one of the recently converted ladies in the church. He was thoughtful and reserved, but we learned that he had been really made to think, never having been exposed to the arguments I advanced under the title ‘Evolution in crisis’.
A further contact was the electrician who helped with the amplification for all the meetings! He had earlier said he had no intention of getting involved with the ‘God talk’, but by the end had not only brought his daughter to the children’s meetings on the Sunday, but also his wife. We learnt that he had just lost his mother.
Pray for ZdenÃ¬k and Nicola (Nicola is English, from Dorset) and their four boys.
ZdenÃ¬k is a trained construction engineer, but spends a large part of his time doing church work. The whole family speak three languages: Czech, German and English.
Juliet and I felt humbled at our struggle with languages and here were children understanding three at once with ease!