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“The Czech Republic is the most atheistic country in Europe, with only 11 percent of the population claiming to follow any religion,” Marek says. “Less than one percent are evangelicals. Even though I am Czech and know the culture, this spiritual vacuum makes church planting extremely challenging.”
But a year ago, God unexpectedly opened a door that is enabling Marek and Julie to plant seeds in Tisnov, a town of 9,000.
The Tisnov Public Library is the cultural center for the region and regularly sponsors seminar series for adults on a wide range of topics. Last January, someone suggested that Marek teach an eight-week seminar that would be an “introduction to the Bible.” The library director was skeptical; a minimum of twenty students was needed for the library to offer the class. But less than one week after the class was announced, fifty had signed up—and twenty more were turned away.
That course was so popular that the library asked Marek to teach another eight-week seminar. He chose early church history, and again the class was packed. Next he taught Christian apologetics.
“Since the primary course material is the Bible,” Marek says, “I gave all participants a free copy of the Bible and asked them to bring it to class, take notes, and read passages as homework. This fall I will teach a class on world religions through the lens of the Bible. We are praying that God will prepare hearts to hear about the one true God.”
The Hanciks have been amazed by the openness of so many people to hear about God, Jesus, and the Bible in this neutral setting. Some are curious about a topic that was taboo during forty years of Communist rule. Others are seeking to understand the role religion played in their heritage. Still others simply enjoy learning new things; in fact, Julie and Marek have heard that people in the local pub are discussing topics from the seminars.
“Every week several students linger to ask questions,” Marek says. And one week, as Marek discussed heaven and hell and what happens after we die, many had questions—including one woman who raised her hand and said, “I think I am going to heaven, but how can I know for sure?” What a perfect opportunity to reiterate the truth of the Gospel.
“Pray for these souls who are searching, and for Julie and me to deepen relationships with them,” Marek says.
“The Greek women lowered a basket several floors to ground level for one of our teammates to place a New Testament in it. Then she pulled it up, opened it, and read a few paragraphs. Immediately she yelled for all the neighbors to hear—she couldn’t believe how easy it was to understand the Scriptures. ‘You need one too!’ she shouted to the lady in the upper-level apartment opposite hers.
“As our team left this same village, a car with four young people raced up trying to pass them. They pulled over, fearing these might be angry villagers who were opposed to our Bible-distribution efforts. But that wasn’t the case. Their friends had gotten a personal copy of this modern language Greek New Testament, and they wanted one too!”
Pray that God will continue to use the Scriptures that have been distributed throughout Greece through Operation Joshua. To date, more than 800,000 New Testaments have been delivered to 4,000 villages and towns in that country—God’s Living Word is changing lives.
Thanks, Wheaton Bible Church, for your support.