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Category Archives: Samantha Burgess – Hands On

Samantha Burgess – IMB Hands On – Prague, Czech Republic

First, I would like to apologize for not writing in over a month. Time has flown here, as I’m sure it is with many of you. This past month has been filled with a lot of shared meals, cultural mishaps, and a whole bunch of ups and downs. We are still busy teaching English, doing distribution, and helping with the team here, but we have also had more opportunities to hang out with people in the evenings and on the weekend. A couple weeks ago we had a game night with people from the adult English club we teach. We squeezed 13 people (and one dog) into our tiny flat. You can imagine the fun that was had there.

After English club each week, there is an optional Bible study. Last week we had nine at club, and six of them stayed for the Bible study! That may not seem like a big number, but it is in a culture that has little spiritual interest. Most people here go day to day without thinking about whether there is a greater purpose to this life. And yet, we are seeing people who are showing interest in these things. One of my friends has come to the Bible study a couple of times and that is the only time she has ever read the Bible. She believes that there is a higher power out there, but she is still seeking whether it is the God of the Bible. Please pray that the Lord would reveal himself to her as the only true God, worthy of all our obedience and devotion.

Another cool conversation occurred with my neighbor the other day. We have been going to the playground occasionally and talking while her daughter plays. We started talking about adoption, and I shared how the Father gave up his only Son so that we could be adopted into his family. I have been impacted by many people from my church who have lived out this picture of the Father’s love through the adoption/foster care system. How cool is it that the gospel witness they have is shining even here in Prague.

One last conversation I will share happened just today. I went for a walk with a friend and we got into a long conversation about spiritual things. At one point, I asked what she thought the purpose of life was and she responded that it is to be happy. I was struck with how universal the longing for happiness is. It is something innate in humanity that we long to be satisfied and happy. This universal desire points to a God who is infinitely happy and who created all things good. Our longing for happiness cannot be satisfied on this earth. Death kills happiness. The only way we can every be truly happy and satisfied is through Christ who has defeated death and whose blood has brought us back to the infinitely happy One. Please pray for my friend that God will continue to place believers in her life who can show her what it means to be truly happy and pray that she will experience it for herself by surrendering her life to Christ.

Pray also that I will have boldness and wisdom in how to spend these last few weeks. Pray that I will daily choose to battle my selfish desires and that I will leave Prague empty, with no regrets. Pray for the people we are encountering at Distribution, English Club, and Bible study–that the Lord would reveal himself to them in such a way so they cannot deny their need for him. Pray for God’s kingdom to be established and built up here in Barrandov and the greater Prague area. Many of the people I have met here have probably never had someone pray for them. What a great privilege and responsibility we have that we can intercede on their behalf. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. May God bless the work that you are doing, wherever he has placed you.

In Christ,

Samantha

“Yet he saved them for his name’s sake, that he might make known his mighty power.” Psalms 106:8

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Samantha Burgess – Hands On, IMB – Prague

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

Recently, the Lord has been teaching me how to naturally put the gospel into words. The gospel impacts everything we do and experience and yet so often we struggle to talk about it. It is so easy to meet people here and have a great conversation for 15 minutes and never once bring up the gospel. And I walk away from that conversation feeling good about myself that I met a new person and maybe even got their contact number to hang out later. But, that person walked away never hearing about the most important thing that ever happened to me, that has the power to change their lives as well. I am not here just to make friends, I am here because I believe that God’s name is worthy of being made known to all nations and because God wants to establish his church in Prague. So he is teaching me how to put into words this grand story that he is weaving and how to share it with those who have never heard.

He is showing me how my story relates to other people and how it fits into His story. The other day one of my friends opened up to me about her struggle with loneliness and a longing for peace that she had. I have struggled with loneliness in the past and I was able to tell my story and share how the Lord taught me through my struggle that I am known by him and that He is always with me. It is amazing to connect with people and see that even though we come from different cultures, we share the most basic human experiences, longings, and pains. And even greater than that, is the God whose peace and redemption has the power to satisfy those longings. I long for my friends here who share the same experiences of loneliness and lostness, to also share the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. Please pray for my friend that she will experience the peace and the presence of the Lord and that her story of pain and loneliness will be woven into God’s story of redemption.

His story is unfolding here. Last week there was a team here from South Carolina. Part of what they did was distribute coffee and tea in different areas of Barrandov (the district I live in). As a result of that, many people were able to hear the gospel, some for the first time. We also had new people come to the English club we do on Wednesdays and five stayed for the Bible Study afterwards. This is a picture of the light of the gospel piercing one of the darkest, most atheistic countries in the world. On Sunday we gathered with Czech believers, and although we sang in different languages, our voices were unified in praise to the One who reconciled us both to himself and to each other. This is another picture of the work that God is doing here. He is weaving a beautiful tapestry, and he is bringing our threads (even the frayed ones) into His own. Now we only see the tangled backside, but one day we will see it as He sees it, with the redeemed from all nations and languages, singing the same song of praise to Him.

Please pray for the work that the Lord is doing in Barrandov and the other districts in Prague where our team works in Řepy and Bohnice. Pray Habakkuk 2:14, that these areas “will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.”

Pray for encouragement for the team here. Several families have been dealing with sickness and issues back home. Pray for Nicole and I that we will be fully present here and that we will find satisfaction in the Lord alone as we struggle with homesickness and the desire to stay in our comfort zones.

Pray for the believers here to be bold in reaching those around us.

Thank you for your prayers and support. Be encouraged that the Lord is working here just as he is working wherever you are.

In Christ,

Samantha Burgess

 

Samantha Burgess – Hands On IMB – Prague, Czech Republic

​For weeks as I have ridden the tram into the center, I had seen people on top of this cliff near where we live. This weekend I had theIMG_5885 chance to hike up to the cliff. Being out in nature is what refreshes me the most and the view was breathtaking (or it could have been the hill I just climbed). From the top you can see churches that are hundreds of years old. You can see the center of the city that is bustling with tourists, historical buildings, and the city edges where the people live and walk their dogs and raise their kids. This past week, culture shock began to set it, and there were days when I missed the people and the comforts of home. But, being on top of the cliff and being alone with God while looking out at this city that He loves, reminded me why I am here, and the mighty God I am serving.

The next day, I was back at the bottom, surrounded by strangers who were avoiding human interaction as much as possible on the crowded tram, smelling something I’d rather not, and seeing the empty church buildings that represent oppression to the people. Looking back up at the cliff, I again saw the tiny people who were looking down at me, but all they could see was the beauty of the city. And I wished I was back at the top. Because at the top, everything looks clean, peaceful, put together. And down at the bottom it is messy, hard, and disappointing. 

I thought of the story in the Bible when three of Jesus’ disciples went on top of a mountain and saw Jesus and his glory transfigured before him. How tempting it would have been for them to stay on the mountain. Yet, they had to come down. At the bottom, they were immediately met with the crowds and a man with a demon-possessed son and it quickly became messy again. Before Jesus, lay the cross. How much easier it would have been for him to stay on the mountain. How much easier it would have been for him to not come to earth at all. He could have been content from his throne in heaven to see the earth He had made and to not involve Himself in the messy lives of His people. Yet He came to this broken world and put on human flesh. He died the death that we all deserve because of our rebellion against Him. Because He did not stay on the mountain, I have life. How then can I stay on the mountain when there are literally millions of people in this city who have never heard the good news of Jesus? If they died today, they would be eternally separated from God. That is why I am here in Prague. That is why you are where God has placed you. Because we have this message that has the power to bring the dead to life. And we have His Spirit guiding us and teaching us. Even though it is hard at times, He is worth it. 

As you do the work God has called you to do, please remember to pray for the work he is doing in Prague.

Pray for:

*Believers in Barrandov (the district I live in), that God would give them a love for the people around them and boldness to share the gospel with them.

*A church to be planted in Barrandov.

*Boldness for me to share the gospel with the people we are building relationships with.

*The team here in Prague to be one in mission and strengthened against the devil’s attacks.  

Thank you again for your prayers.

Written by Samantha Burgess

 

Samantha Burgess – Hands On IMB – Prague, Czech Republic

Ahoj! (Hello in Czech, pronounced ahoy–like the pirate)

I have now been in Prague for a week. Prague is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen, from the cobblestone streets and the 9th century castle to the trdelnik cinnamon pastries and the rich history of the city. My partner, Nicole, and I have made some great memories so far. The best memories are the ones where you know you look like a ridiculous foreigner and the situation is not ideal, yet you go with it and laugh. The other day we went to the mall food court and decided to try out a restaurant called Kaktus. It was a Vietnamese-owned Tex-Mex place. In hind sight, that should have been our first clue to keep going to the next restaurant. We ordered the Asian version of chicken and rice, which came with a side of ballpark nacho cheese to put on top of it. By the end of the meal, we realized our mistake. Other times have come when we have forgotten to bring our own bags to the grocery stores and end up having to carry our produce all the way on the tram home. In these moments, we just laugh and hope that one day we will be able to blend in a little better.

This week was spent learning about what we will be doing while we are here. We got to teach our first few English classes which was a lot of fun. We are teaching a couple classes in the school near our flat and a couple more in a coffee shop nearby. Another thing we get to do every week is a distribution. This is where we hand our free coffee and tea with the purpose of trying to show God’s love in a practical way. The people here are so distrustful of religion, even more so than government, because in the past religion has taken so much from the people. The hope is to show them through a free drink that as believers we want to spread God’s love and give back instead of just taking for ourselves. Another thing we were able to do a lot this week was prayer walk. It was overwhelming to see the darkness that covers this city from the bleakness of communist apartment after apartment building to the lostness of the people everywhere around us. It was sobering to think that if Christ came back today, almost everyone around us would be eternally separated from Him. But, it was also freeing to know that we serve a God who is all-powerful and who created the Czech people and culture. He is already at work among the people here and he will bring that good work to completion one day. It has been exciting to work with the believers here and to see their vision coincide with God’s vision for the people here and how that is practically worked out. I am still in shock that God has chosen to bring me here and use me, because I am so inadequate. Yet, I am learning a new each day how to depend upon him and how true it is that his mercies are new every morning.

Please pray for us that:

  1. We will be able to pick up on the language quickly and that God would remove that barrier as we are trying to relate to people
  2. That we will find ways to plug into the community here and begin to build relationships with Czechs
  3. That the area we live in, Barrandov, would be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Habakkuk 2:14).
  4. For boldness and urgency to share the gospel

Thank you for praying and investing in the work that God is doing here in Prague.

Cau!

Samantha