Sierra Lutheran students on mission trip to Czech Republic
Pocket translators and Bibles are not the items most teenagers would dream about packing for a spring break trip.
However, for 12 local high school students, these items, joined by hearts to serve, will be the most precious commodities needed for an adventure of a lifetime.
Organized by Hilltop Community Church, this contingent of teenagers from Sierra Lutheran High School will travel over 12,000 miles over the next two weeks to, and through, the Czech Republic to teach English, share music, and witness their Christian faith in partnership with the mission agency Josiah’s Venture.
Named after the Jewish king whose devotion to God brought revival to an entire nation while he was still in his teens, Josiah’s Venture is an international mission agency that seeks to bring spiritual awakening to young people across Europe.
With ministry teams concentrated in 15 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, Josiah’s Venture collaborates with visiting missionary teams from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to enhance English language fluency while sharing their faith.
Two local teams of eight individuals each from Carson City will travel independently to cities adjacent to the capital city of Prague. Each day, the traveling contingent of students will help facilitate school assemblies featuring Christian bands from the United States, followed by the opportunity to help the local students with their English language development, share music, and to evangelize.
The program also invites students to attend afternoon socials to discuss God and the Bible and culminates with a Christian concert at the end of the week. And while the format lends itself to a relational experience in planting seeds of faith, the soil is sometimes indifferent to the message.
“People are leaving atheism and trying different things,” said Pastor Kurt Katzorke of Hilltop Community Church, and a leader of one of the touring groups. “They are curious, but they are also skeptical.”
The students from Sierra Lutheran received specialized training for the trip to augment their own sense of calling for the mission trip.
“I believe that God definitely equips the called,” senior Hannah Potts explained. “Often, I find myself up against a situation that I have no idea how to handle, but I know that God is the one sending me into it to do his will, and so I have to rely on his strength. This is often a stressful and scary experience, but I know that if this is his will, then he will give me the strength to do it.”
A catalyst for this type of evangelism is the ability for young people who have strong Christian moorings to, in a relational way, speak winsomely about faith in a way that inspires their peers.
“I am really excited to work with teenagers my age from a different country,” Nathan Waite expressed. “I will get to spread the good news of Christ to people of my age with God’s help, and that will be fun to do and see.”
Each student on the trip contributed financially to the venture, solicited community support, and helped stage a fundraising dinner that raised $8,000 to develop the necessary resources for the mission trip.
“I am extremely excited to see what God has in store for us all on this trip, and I know that he will equip us all with the right thing to say to those who are in need of hearing the message of Jesus Christ,” Amanda Almeida said. “My hope and prayer is that we will be able to build relationships and be examples of Christ while we are on the trip.”
In addition to the primary focus behind the trip, the group will also be able to tour Prague and other parts of the republic.
“I am really excited to meet new people and encounter a new culture,” Potts continued. “This is a part of the world that I have never ventured into before, and I can’t wait to see the differences and similarities to my own.”
Individuals interested in supporting Josiah’s Venture may contact Kurt Katzorke at 775-267-3020, extension 108. A blog reporting the group’s activities may be viewed at hilltopchurch.net/czech.