Czech Republic-U.S.A. bridged forever

Friday, August 3, 2012
The Czech youth and their leaders, interspersed among their American friends from Summit. The Czech visitors arrived last week and will return home this week. /Photo by Lorri Glawe

Summit Church's Youth Pastor Dan Boeck has made well over a dozen trip to The Czech Republic over the years and has even taken Summit youth and additional adults on his last four visits. The goal of the trips is always to "see the movement of God occur among youth of Eastern Europe and develop youth ministries in Europe," he said. Over the years, he has developed a good relationship with the youth pastor in the Czech Republic.

This week, Summit has been hosting a group of Czech youth and their youth leader. For all but one of the members of the group, this is their first trip to the United States.

"We can learn from the Americans and the Americans can learn from the Czechs," said Czech youth pastor Marek "Mefo" Hust.

The American and Czech youth pastors pointed out that the Czech Republic has one of the highest numbers of atheists in the world. Many of the youth who have attended the camps, have become Christians. Because of this, the students have a great responsibility to share their Christianity, and learn new ways on how to pass along their beliefs. There is a great connection between the two cultures and the constant gatherings is also a great way to build bridges and connect the nations together forever.

When the Summit youth would travel to the Czech Republic, they hosted English camps to help the youth learn the language.

Learning the English language is required in school but few have the opportunity to practice what they have learned and perfect it by further degrees with native speakers. Many of the Czech youth attended more than one of the English camps led by Pastor Boeck and his youth and that shows a dedication on the Czech students' part.

"This fills a great need for them so they may go on to the University," said Pastor Boeck, adding that the Czech students are always looking for opportunities to practice their English. The time together is also a great time for the English-speaking students to learn some Czech words.

And now in America where the primary language they will be hearing is English, they will be learning as this listen.

It has been a great reunion; bringing together again many of the Summit youth who have traveled to the Czech Republic with many of the youth that attended those camps.

The American youth have been happy to be able to share their world with their friends.

"It's a privilege to have them here," said Jessica Skeleton who made a trip with the youth group to Czech Republic a few years ago. "We've got a great partnership and it's all for the glory of God."

Shelby and Megan Anderson pointed out that while come of the visiting youth don't speak English, they are all still able to communicate. "We're just happy to be together," they said.

Petr Vopalecky shared that this is his first trip to the United states and he likes "everything" he sees here.

"It is very different here than at home," he said.

The Czech also said he would like to remain here!

The youth pastors could not be more pleased with this summer's gathering.

"It's a unique opportunity and I'm so excited they are here," said Pastor Boeck. "So many years we have been a help to their ministry and now they are here to bless us. They hosted us and now we can return the favor."

Mefo commented, through an interpreter, "It's important that we come to see America and to help those who helped us. It is truly exceptional for us to be here."

While in the area, the youth have been working together on several projects including helping with the Christ for Kids program at Summit Church, leading a prayer walk and other projects that promote helping others.