I was one of the first people in the Czech Republic to do Christianity Explored
While our Director of Prison Ministry, Stephen James, was in the Czech Republic this week delivering training for The Prisoner's Journey® he also popped in to see our resource partners Promise CZ to deliver some refresher training.
They are in the process of updating to the latest version of Christianity Explored (CE) to be released early next year. They talked about how to train others to use the new materials and promote the course to the local church.
Below Šárka, a Project Manager at Promise, shares how CE changed her life - twice.
I started attending Christianity Explored at the suggestion of my friend Betty. It was 2011 and I had just started the second year of my doctoral studies in Olomouc.
I come from an atheist family and I had long doubted God's existence as a child. At school I remember telling a Christian friend that I did not believe even in the weather forecast, let alone in God.
I came to believe that there was a God at the age of 18 through my boyfriend, who removed my objections to the existence of God. He was not able to share the good news of Jesus Christ with me because he didn't believe in Jesus himself. The Lord continued to send believers my way but no one could lead me to Jesus. Still, my inner longing for something deeper remained.
Image: Šárka with CE in Czech
Looking for the 'right door'
When my friend Betty then recommended the Christianity Explored series to me, I agreed. We struggled to find the address. After a while we finally found the right door. I was surprised that the course was taking place just next to the disco I used to go to. In retrospect, I realised how often it takes us a long time to find the 'right door', even if it is right in front of us.
We rang the bell but nobody opened. We wondered if we should give up, but instead we started throwing pebbles in the windows. Today, this memory reminds me of Luke 11.9: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you”. Eventually the course leader opened the door, welcomed us and told us that it had just finished, but added that he would repeat it once again just for us.
And that's how I finally learned the good news about who Jesus is, why he came and what it means to follow him.
When I look back on my way to faith today, it was interwoven with biblical images, starting with Mark's Gospel and Jesus' assurance that he came to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
The Holy Spirit was showing me all that was wrong in my life. I was intensely experiencing the burden of my sins then, and at the same time the immense grace of Jesus freed me from the slavery of sin and the associated fear. Just as Jesus was able to calm the storm at sea (Mark 4:39), so he calmed the fear in my heart. I could experience that God was a loving Father and Jesus was the Saviour and Lord of my life.
I am really grateful to God that I was one of the first people in the Czech Republic to attend Christianity Explored. The materials had not been published officially in the Czech Republic yet, and the course leader, who had attended the course in England, translated it into Czech for our group.
Image: Groups study Mark's Gospel using CE in Czech
CE changed my life – twice
I continued to attend Bible studies, joined a church and got baptised.
I moved to Prague without a job and on my first day in the city I attended evangelism training, led by Daniel Chlebek, the head of Promise CZ. He then approached me about working with them on CE. It was amazing that I had not sent a single resume after the move, and the Lord already had a job offer for me.
I see God’s amazing providence in all this – that I was able to begin my life with Jesus through CE seven years ago and now the Lord has brought me to it again to pass on my joyous experience. So I often like to say that CE has changed my life twice.
Today, I have the pleasure of working on expanding awareness of CE in the Czech Republic and also on publishing Discipleship Explored and SOUL. I am grateful that in my work I can hear other testimonies from different parts of our country about how the Lord is acting through these courses and that more people get to know Jesus Christ through Mark's Gospel and are baptised. I am also glad that I am able to lead these courses myself and point newcomers to Jesus. There is nothing better for me than to witness God's miracle and hear a person pray to God for the first time with sincerity in their heart.
I would like to encourage all who are considering leading a group for seekers not to be afraid of possible adversity because it can change life - not only for you but also for many others.
Did you know that our series have been translated into around 50 languages and used in over 110 countries?
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