Friday, December 7, 2007

Merry Christmas from Prague.

This time of year always makes us think about the reason we do what we do. Emmanuel--God with us. That pretty much says it all. I'm always amazed at how, in this country, with so many reminders of the truth--manger scenes, beautiful hymns, christmas masses--the people here don't relate any of it to the real Jesus who came and dwelt among us. We're doing all we can to push back the darkness and share the light of Christ with each person we meet. We constantly pray that God's Spirit will move in the hearts of the people and make them long to dwell in this light. Thank you so much for praying with us. We are seeing God at work.

Our Sunday evening English Club for kids has grown enormously over the past months. We now have about 30 kids every week, 25 of whom are not believers or from believing families. Radek and Pepa continue to come, and Radek brings his sister Sara now. Last week he brought another friend, Thomas. It has really been awesome to see God at work int his group. Every week, they hear the gospel and are finding out this year what Christmas really is about. Please pray for our upcoming program next week, December 16. The parents will attend a very Chrsit-centered presentation.
We have also begun teaching English to adults. We have about 5-7 students each week. They are not believers either. Our prayer is that we will develop relationships with them and be able to share Christ. After Christmas we will offer a continuation of class based on scripture, for any who are interested. Please pray for there to be some who will want to learn more about our faith in this format.

Preston has also seen some very exciting things happen lately. On his last trip to the States for a mobilization meeting in Nashville, he was able to sit beside a lady on the plane that was clearly ready to hear the Gospel. She read Preston's bible all through the flight and before they said good-bye she had become a believer. It was so exciting for Preston, and it happened on his birthday.

He was also in a meeting recently in Romania that was very exciting. The Romanian church leaders have really caught a vision for evanglizing Europe. He was able to meet with many pasotrs and talk about their vision and future plans. Many of those he met with were former students. He will return in January to do some teaching there--in Romanian. Pray for his language abilities to flourish during this time. It's tough to keep Czech words out of his vocab when speaking Romanian.

Thank you for supporting us with your prayers. We love you all--Merry Christmas.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Musical Ministry

Our media team has been busy lately doing coverage on different types of music ministries. In August, Jeni Varnadeau and band came to Prague. Jeni is a christian artist who sang at the Southern Baptist Convention and has about 6 albums out. She is helping us promote volunteer missions for teens. She came here to shoot a music video that will be used for this promotion. It was a new experience to help shoot a music video--a lot of work goes into just one video. David and Lauren enjoyed helping with photography and gophering. We used several locations around Prague including our terrace and rooftop access for some shots.

Me interviewing Rory, keyboard player and Jeni's husband

David at work

Jeni and the band

Last week I was in Moscow for another media team project. There is a team of our missionaries there that work within the Arts community of the city to reach people for Christ. They brought in a Jazz band from the States along with some swing dance teachers. We are helping to promote the team in an effort to build prayer support and mobilize volunteers to come and help. The week was exhausting, but very good. The band was wonderful-believers from all over the States who were truly incredible musicians. Great contacts were made with key people in the Moscow Arts Community. Several people commented on how they could tell there was something different about the group, how the seemed to "have a light inside that shines out of them." Of course we were quick to point out that this was Jesus. Please pray for the Moscow Arts team as they continue to reach out to a key segment of society. For more information, check out their website at

Me with videographer Adam Covington and friend Tiffany Lorey

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Budicek (Booty Check)

This is the way we began each day at camp last month. The word means "wake up" and it was accompanied by either a shofar or a trumpet each morning at 7am. After exercises and clean up we were treated to a piece of bread with ham on it which amounted to breakfast and then the day really got going. English classes, sports, afternoon hikes and games in the woods. My favorite part was the evening campfires. One night we roasted sausages, another night marshmallows. We took cold swims in the pools filled with lake water, learned to make hot-air balloons, put on skits for the kids and told them about Jesus. All in all it was a wonderful week--a little less ambiance than we city-folk are used to but it was fun and we really bonded with the kids and adults at the camp. David and Lauren were a huge help and they also made friends, used their Czech skills and had a great time. Jess and Andrew had a blast after getting over the first few days of home-sickness (they were at the camp for 2 weeks, we came only for the 2nd week). We praise God for a great time and for evidence that the 40 plus kids there drew closer to the Lord during the week. Thank you for praying.

The campsite

Our little house

Pres and I relaxing

David pitching

Darin's baseball team

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Our Annual General Meeting (AGM) is the highlight of our year. We gather with our Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) missionaries for a time of worship, teaching, training and fellowship. We have about 100 volunteers who come to minister to us. Doctors, children's teams, educators to provide testing, security professionals to teach us about survival in a hostile setting, a preacher, member care folks to help any folks with difficulties, a worship team and many others. This year our preacher took us through Colossians. It was such a blessing to be ministered to in English. The worship team was from Grace Baptist in Nashville. This was their 7th year. We love them!! We praise God for the time with friends and our refreshed spirits.

Me and my good friend, Rachel

Preston and Kyle Kirkpatrick

The kids also had a great time. Their VBS was entitled "Galilee by the Sea." Perfect for our setting in Greece. Although we were there in the middle of a heat wave, the kids kept cool in the pool several times a day.

Andrew and his buddies in the musical

Jessie as "Megan", a cool girl who needs to learn about the power of Jesus

We also have a youth team each year. David and Lauren had a week with their MK friends and awesome worship led by Bruce Northam from Houstan. Of course when you get that many kids together in one place there will be a lot of noise and very little sleep! They came home with renewed vigor for the Lord and a desire to serve him anew.

Lauren doing the "lawnmower"--a tradtion on the last day of AGM

David dancing to the "lawnmower"

"zzzzz" on the plane home

Thursday, June 14, 2007

end-of-year celebration

English club ended well. We began the year with a handful of mostly churched kids and ended with 2 roomfulls of mostly un-churched kids. Who could ask for anything more? The kids are awesome and looking forward to returning next year. We ended with a special program with their parents and were able further relationships and point them to Jesus. Some of the kids will be at the English camp we are helping with in August. Please keep them in your prayers.

Kids singing "This Little Light of Mine"

(from LtoR) Robin, Vicki, Pamela, Kristina, Veronica, Nora

Parent's ordering food from the "English restaurant"

Precious Ukrainian family (From LtoR) Larissa, Nora, Esther, Robin, Karina, Tolea (David in the background)

Teaching staff and helpers: (LtoR) Debbie Hammer, Katka (translator), David Pearce, Lauren Pearce, Anya James, John and Alvine Routh, Me, Carol Hawkins, Iveta (translator), Shirly Whittington, Evelyn Williams

Monday, May 14, 2007

Prayer Person of the Week

Meet Radek David. He is a friend of Jessica and Andrew. He has been coming to English Club with us on Sunday nights and is hearing God's Word for the first time! When Jessica first met Radek she overheard him talking to friends about how stupid it was to believe in God. Today, he gladly accepted a bible from Jessica. Please pray for Radek. Pray that he will read the bible and understand it. Pray that others in his family will read it as well. Pray for the salvation of the David family.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Burn Her!

I always thought of "mother nature" as a kind woman who distributed flowers, fed them with rain and dried them with sunshine (I am speaking from a purely child-like perspective, not dealing with the theological issues of much greater importance). Well, here in the Czech Republic where religion is a mixture of traditional Catholic, confusing superstition, new-age philosophies, and old-fashioned paganism, Mother Nature gets a bad wrap. My friend April sent me this photo of a "mother nature" dummy that was made by her children's class at pre-school. At a welcome party for Spring, the kids sing a song, catch the dummy on fire and throw her in the river! And they say America promotes violence!

I am including her a portion of April's letter about their ministry in Olomouc to give you a picture of Czech people. Please be in prayer for their salvation.

"We ask that you pray for the children. They are growing up in a Godless society. They are taught that absolutes do no exist and gratifying and satisfying ones self is the reason they exist. They grow up in homes where the mother is the primary caretaker and their Dad's work, go out at night, and often have girlfriends on the side. Pornographic magazines and pictures are at eye level, out in the open, and easily seen by little boys walking into certain shops and gas stations. They are confronted with pornography from the very beginning of their tender lives. Pray that girls will live to be more than objects, but people created in God's image. Pray for their parents and their salvation! Pray that God would move in the hearts of men who would then lead their families to the cross. Pray for lighthouses of hope and grace throughout Czech. Pray for our children as they seek ways to share with their friends the truth about Christ."

I would echo those requests and implore for your intercession as well. It is not uncommon here for girls and boys to be sexually active in their early teens. Doctors even teach girls that it is best for their health to have as many partners as possible. Marriage is all but an institution of the past. Most people now live together and get married only when they get pregnant, for financial reasons. Czechs are the biggest beer consumers in the world and most kids are already drinking at 14-15. Please pray for this country and for these children.

Andrew met a new friend at the park yesterday and he came over to play today at our home. His name is Tomas (Thomas). Please pray for us to get to know his family and share Christ with them.

In Him,


17 Years of Marital Bliss

Pres and I celebrated 17 years on March 31st. It's hard for us to believe we've been married that long. But when we look at our 16-year old son, we're sure its true. Preston is in Poland and I'm here in Prague--the first time we've been apart on our anniversary, but I must say that we are more together in spirit than ever before. I am so grateful God brought us together. Wrinkles and all, growing old together is fun!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Phew! Glad That's Over!

The 1/2 Marathon was this past Saturday. It was a real challenge, but I made it and I didn't come in last! It was such a personal testimony for me because when I was diagnosed with Asthma 8 years ago I was afraid I would not be able to run anymore-something I had enjoyed since high school. 8 years ago, 3 miles was a long way for me. This past weekend I ran 13 without a problem. I am so grateful for God restoring my health!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I'm Home

My trip to Macedonia was really good. We got great interviews and video footage of the Roma people and heard stories of how God is at work among them in South Europe. Macedonia is a fascinating place with ruins that date back to Jesus' time. The city is now divided by a river with mosques towering over one side and an Orthodox cross over the other. The Roma are nominally Muslim but have never really given their hearts to any religion. They are one of the few people groups who have never had a significant religious revival in their history. We are praying for one now. Please pray with us.

I was accompanied on my trip by Kara and Krystal from Campbellsville Universtiy in Kentucky. Kara is a professor and Krystal is a student. They did great work and managed to survive a rough couple of days in an apartment with little heat, a clogged up tub and an challenging toilet. We were all tired and ready to get back to Prague, but we saw God use us, so it was very good.

Friday, March 2, 2007

It's Over

SC Training is winding down and it was truly a great month. It is so exciting to talk to these missionaries who are strategizing, praying, fasting, planning, and anxiously awaiting for all God wants to do. I, Karen, got to sit down with each family and talk about the things God is doing in their fields. One of the greatest blessings was a leader in Hungary who had come to present a leadership seminar. He told me that his 10-year-old daughter is eager to win her friends to Christ. She has, on her own, started a bible study with friends from school. Isn't that awesome! I love that.

Another leader who was here from Russia to present some material shared with me some very difficult news about the state of things in Russia. He truly believes that the door that was opened with the fall of communism for missionaries to come freely into the country is definately closing. New laws on the books are making it harder and more expensive for a foreigner to live there and are imposing steep fines for the Russian organizations that host them. Last year alone he saw two missionary teams kicked out of the country and two volunteer teams arrested. Rules that govern evangelism and church planting are also stringent. The good news is that the Russian believers are really catching a vision for church planting and have even begun a type of home-missionary offering in one part of the country to help send their own people out as home missionaries. We praise God for the work he is doing. Please pray for these people and our missionaries who are there serving them.

Another benefit of SC training is that a group of volunteers come to teach and love on the kids that are here with their families. Jessica and Andrew also get to go and hang out with the "grandmas." They take trips to the zoo, the museum, sea world, etc. Plus they get great time with other MKs and do bible studies with kids their age.

David and Lauren help out when they are needed. This past week David delivered 25 happy meals to the hotel on Valentine's night while the parents were out on a date. Lauren helped transport babies from one location to another. Thank you all for your prayers over the last 3 weeks.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things you never knew about the Czech Republic (and wish you still didn't!)

Contributed by missionary friend in Prague, Ted Turnau:

In the Czech Republic, there is a loosely organized group that wields tremendous power. No, it's not the mafia (I think the mafia is scared of these people). It's grandmothers. They are usually around 4 foot nothing, move kind of slow (though they can really book when they need to catch a tram), and look like, well, old ladies. But don't let their benign appearance fool you. They rule, and everyone knows it.

Once, years ago, when I knew no Czech and was unfamiliar with their cultural ways, I made the mistake of putting my foot on the seat of a tram so that I could copy down some information about an art exhibit from an ad posted in the tram. A nearby grandma transformed from a quiet old lady to a snarling wolverine (grandma as were-badger). I had no idea what she was saying, and I'm kind of glad I didn't -- because she was probably using language that would make a sailor blush. But I got the idea (after a few moments of gaping at her like a stunned carp), and got my foot down. It wasn't until later that I realized that I had violated a major Czech taboo -- the ground is forbidden, and you mustn't get ground-microbes on seats. Bad! Bad! Another time, a grandmother who didn't feel that we were dressing our child properly slipped us a couple of bucks to buy our kid socks. They are everywhere . . . watching. (Part of the reason they're everywhere is that in this culture, they don't ship them off to nursing homes.)

Anyway, the cultural repercussion of the ubiquitous Big Brother (make that: Big Grandma) is, I believe, a stream of thinly veiled aggression against grandmas everywhere in the Czech Republic, especially among children. Don't believe me? Consider the following:

Exhibit A: One way to insult someone is to call them a "baba" (a grandma). It means that you are old, ugly, and mean.

Exhibit B: A cute children's rhyme, used as a greeting: "Dobry den, baba leze kominem." Translation: "Good day, grandma's climbing the chimney," rather like a gigantic spider, I suppose.

Exhibit C: In the Czech version of tag, "It" (the horrible monster that everyone runs away from) is known by another name. Can you guess? It's "Baba," or Grandma.

Exhibit D (and perhaps the best one): There is a Czech children's game very similar to "Mother, may I?" called "Honziku stavej!" or "Johnny, wake up!" The main difference in these games is that in "Mother may I?" the players ask the leader (the "mother") whether they can take 5 giant steps, and so on. In "Johnny, wake up!" each player asks the leader "What time is it?" and the leader tells them what they are to do (elephant steps, mouse steps, and so on). If he or she tells you anything having to do with Grandma, you're sunk. One grandma move is "Grandma's knitting" in which case you move your hands as if you were rolling a ball of yarn and you walk backward, away from the finish line. But my favorite is, "Grandma fell in the toilet," in which case the players have to squat down for a full turn, until the leader yells, "Grandma got out." So, in effect, being a Grandma wastes two full turns.

When all is said and done, there is an intricate and deeply woven pattern of grandma abuse here, a sort of subversion of their grandmatronly authority, the Czech way of "Stickin' it to the Man," or rather, "Stickin' it to the Grandma." Fight the power. Word up, yo.

Monday, February 12, 2007

February Madness

February is a busy month for us. Strategy Coordinator (SC) training is taking place at the office. This is our primary strategic training event that takes place 1-2 times a year. It will last for 3 weeks. We have volunteers here to take care of the kiddos and lots of special speakers coming and going. There are 6 families here for this training session--a small group, but a good one. Preston is in charge of the whole thing so this month is wonderful and busy for us. These 6 families are finalizing 6 months of work to develop a strategy for reaching their specific people group with the Gospel. This group has families Russia, Moldova, Hungary, Finland, Ukraine, and Poland. It is so exciting to see them come up with a God-inspired plan for making the good news of Christ accessible to their specific people. Please pray for them over the next few weeks; pray for Preston as he leads them; pray for the children as they continue with home-schooling under tutelage in a strange place; pray for the volunteers as they guide the children and try to make this month a memorable time; pray for good health for everyone!

The kids are out of school this week and loving the time off!! They all got their report cards for the 1st semester and did really well. Mostly A's and B's for David and Lauren in American school; 1's and 2's for Andrew and Jessica in Czech school (that's good). We praise God that they are all doing so well with classes and friendships.

The English Club that we have for the kids on Sunday night is going pretty well. We consistently have 7-8 kids who are unchurched that come--anywhere from 3-5 teens.Please pray for them to hear and understand the gospel and pray for us to have the right words to share effectively.

The adult's meeting that is supposed to be happening simultaneously is not going so well. It is poorly attended and rarely are there any lost people. Please pray for wisdom for the Czech leaders and Preston and Rodney (our Regional Leader) as they try to help our Czech brothers learn how to share Christ with their own people.

I would also ask you to pray for our whole region for physical and spiritual health. We have really had some major attacks from Satan on both fronts. Alot of conflict within teams and families, alot of people in the hospital, alot of emotional issues with teens, etc. Satan doesn't like what we're doing. That is actually encouraging.

Until later,



Okay this is my first try at this blogging stuff. It sounds really cool, but I can't imagine who would want to read about my life!