Czech Republic Partnership

A partnership between the United Methodist Churches of Johnson City and the Czech Republic

 

The Story of our Partnership

In 2005, members of the Johnson City District of The United Methodist Church voted to enter into a partnership with the United Methodist Churches of the Czech Republic through a General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) program called “In Mission Together.”  Through this partnership, the churches of the Johnson City District support the United Methodist churches of Czech Republic with their prayers, their gifts, and their presence.  Since 2005, Johnson City District has sent numerous teams to Czech Republic to lead Vacation Bible Schools, sports camps, English classes, pastor’s schools, and construction teams.  These work crews and teachers are very beneficial, but the most important role that we play in the Czech Republic is supporting and encouraging the churches and the Christians in that country.

The fall of the Communist regime in former Czechoslovakia in 1989 provided Christianity in the Czech and Slovak Republics with a unique opportunity and a difficult challenge.  Two generations have been indoctrinated with the Marxist idea that religion is the “opiate of the masses,” leaving the area with the highest rate of atheism in all of Europe. Over the last 20 years, the fire in the United Methodist churches has been rekindled in the Czech Republic.  And our Methodist brothers and sisters are struggling against a culture that views Christianity as pointless, strange, or wrong.  This is why our support is invaluable to the United Methodist Churches of the Czech Republic.

 

Frequently Asked Questions about Czech Missions

 

What does it cost to be on a team? While the cost for each trip will vary slightly, most will be approximately $2000 per person, depending on airfare and exchange rates at time of travel.

What does the cost cover? The cost per person covers your airfare, lodging, food, ground transportation and leisure time activities for the week.

I don’t think I can afford that. What are my options? Partial scholarships are available upon request. The District Superintendent will also assist you with fund-raising by sending letters to up to 20 people of your choosing, requesting donations to help fund your trip.

How long will I be gone? Typically, teams are away from home 7 to 10 days. Most teams spend Monday through Friday at the site of the project. However, additional time is needed before and after for travel and sightseeing in Prague. Teams often spend one Sunday on site in order to worship with the local congregation.

I don’t speak Czech! How will we communicate? There will be at least one person at each mission site that can speak English and translate for you. You will also find that at many businesses and attractions there will be English-speaking people and English signs, menus, etc.

How soon should I sign up? All teams will be filled by the end of March.

Where do I sign up or get more info? Contact your church’s mission team leader or the District Office at (423) 926-7533 or jcdrist@holston.org

How do I donate? Supplies may be given to a team leader or sent to the District Office. Each congregation will receive a special offering during February or March for the partnership. If you missed that opportunity or would like to do more, send your check to (and payable to): Johnson City District UMC, 2615 S Roan St, Suite 106, Johnson City, TN 37601 with Czech partnership on memo line. If you would like to sponsor a specific team member, please include their name on the memo line.

Is it safe to travel in the Czech Republic? Yes! Travel in the Czech Republic is as safe or even safer than in many parts of the US. In fact, statistics show that the crime rate per capita of the Czech Republic is HALF that of the United States.

Where will we stay? Accommodations will vary, but most teams stay in small motels.  These accommodations are basic, but comfortable. Expect to share a room with one to three team members.

What is the food like? Czechs eat a lot of pork and chicken, and very little beef. A typical meal consists of meat and some type of starch such as potatoes or dumplings. Most restaurants will provide an English menu so that you know what you are ordering.

When do I need to pay for the trip? Each team member must pay a deposit of $200 by April 30. The balance will be due by June 30 (unless your team leaves prior to this date).

What happens I if get sick or am injured on the trip?  Medical care throughout Europe is very good and very accessible. Each team carries low-cost travel insurance that covers your medical expenses in the event of an emergency.

How will I communicate with my family while I’m gone? You may want to consider downloading Skype, a free communication service that allows persons to communicate through instant messaging, voice-over-internet phone calls, and video calls using webcams. International cell phones are a little more expensive to use, but allow you to stay in touch.

Where is the Czech Republic? The Czech Republic is generally considered to be in the center of Europe – bordered by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria.

How long does it take to get there? The trip typically takes close to 20 hours total, including layovers. Many teams are able to fly from Tri-Cities to Atlanta, then directly to Prague, the capital city. At other times, it is more cost effective to fly from Tri-Cities to Memphis or Detroit, then to Amsterdam or Germany before continuing to Prague. The longest flights are generally 9 hours long.

Is the Czech Republic the same as Czechoslovakia? Yes, and no. Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 when the Czech lands and Slovakia declared their independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On January 1, 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two separate countries: Czech Republic and Slovakia.

What does softball or English lessons have to do with evangelism? This is what we call “back door” evangelism. Since the Czech Republic has such a high rate of atheism, most Czech citizens would never think of attending a church service or listening to someone preaching on a street corner. These programs are a way for Czech United Methodists to invite their non-believing friends and family to participate in a fun activity, and learn about the love of Christ in a non-threatening way.