There is one more reason we are going to Czech. It is to help people encounter God and his love through the person of Jesus.
Some may this find offensive or unnecessary, saying, “Why complicate this with a religious agenda?” Yet our belief and experience are that Jesus, the centerpiece of Christian faith, is unbelievably the most important person any of us can ever meet. Our means for sharing God’s love is not through bible-thumping, coercion or manipulation. Rather it comes through building natural friendships with others and letting Jesus' influence shine in and through our personalities, conversations and lifestyles. Of course, our own brokenness, selfishness and cultural blinders sometimes prevent much of him to get through, but he is patiently working on those areas.
Traditionally this process of sharing God’s love in Jesus has been called evangelism. This word has got a bad rap, given all the negative publicity of street corner evangelists, hypocritical Christians, TV evangelists living corrupt lifestyles, etc. But the word itself really means, beautiful gift, or good news, such as when a woman who was told that she'd never have children suddenly gets pregnant, or when someone like Barack Obama, a black liberal voice, gets elected against all odds, in a country that only 40 years before killed some of its major black leaders.
Evangelism is nothing less than sharing whatever good you have with another. For Christians it means sharing whatever hints or clues they've experienced of the message of love, hope, justice, healing and forgiveness that come in and through Jesus. That doesn't mean Christians alone have the market on the good news of God. Rather Jesus does, and as much as any of us is growing to know him deeper, we are able to point to him. Again, this doesn't mean that Christians never mess up this message, whether in their practice (ex. when some 19th century American Christians supported slavery) or in their views (ex. when Christians believe the environment shouldn't be protected or cared for). But God seems to have this humility streak in him, that he uses such broken characters like human beings in the great drama of redeeming the natural order.
If you have any questions, we'd love to dialogue with you about this. Email either of us.