Everyday, adults from the surrounding communities, many from SCEAV congregations, come to the camp to hear the main evangelism message during the afternoon program. This year I was asked to give a testimony on Thursday before the afternoon evangelism. What follows is the text which I read before the whole group of about 500 people on Thursday night.
Nearly three years ago I began planning to come to the Czech Republic as a missionary English teacher. I originally intended to be here for only 7 months. At the time, 7 months seemed a long time. Now, after the 27 months I've been here, it seems too short a time.
I came asking the Lord to make me a faithful missionary, that I would proclaim His cross to everyone I met, and to-- at all times-- speak and think and live according to His Word with no compromises. I came hoping and praying to be a blessing to the Church here and to be an encouragement in the faith to all of you. I can honestly say that I've tried, and honestly say that I've failed in these goals many more times than I have succeeded.
However, our Lord Jesus Christ has failed at no point. When I've been unfaithful, He's been faithful. When I've compromised, He's stood firm and unchanging. When I've been a discouragement, when I've despaired, when I've given up, He's always encouraging, hoping, and persevering.
My hope and prayer is still that my time here has been, and will continue to be, a blessing to you. I am sure that I have been the one who received the greatest blessings in the last two years. I continue to be overwhelmed by the gifts Christ has showered me with in your church. Through you, He has given me more encouragement, fellowship, friendship, and overwhelming love that I ever knew before. Through you, Christ has shown me the beauty of a church powered by prayer. He has given me a deeper understanding and appreciation of fellowship with other believers. It has been such a joy to be surrounded by so many Christians who constantly have nothing on their lips but Christ's praises and admonitions to trust in Him, because He is sovereign over everything in our lives.
In your church, the Lord Jesus has given me some of the most incredible friendships of my life, has blessed me with an entire home away from home and a second family.Thank you to all of you for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel at home, rather than a stranger in a strange land. I wish to tell you that I love you and your church very much.
With deep sadness I am returning to the United States in less than two weeks. However, it is my earnest desire and prayer that this not be the end of my relationship with you. The Lord willing, I will be back and continue our partnership in the Gospel.
My goal is the same today as it was at the beginning: to glorify and honor Christ in faithfulness to His Word and to encourage you.
I'd like to close by sharing the great love that I have for you in the words of the Apostle Paul to the Philippians:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace... For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.Thank you very much.