Monday, October 1, 2007

Prague

They say that when you run a marathon, at a certain point through the run, you “hit the wall.” That’s when the runner wants to give up. Today we “hit the wall.” I heard that Sue wasn’t well last night, and that really upset me. Duane wasn’t able to contact his family yesterday and this morning we got together and talked about how down we both felt. We also talked about how unspeakably terrible it must have been to be separated from your family by the Nazis, herded into a cattle-car and starved to death in a concentration camp. That put our separation into perspective. We prayed, thanked God, and joyfully started the day in our tenth country.

Prague, in the Czech Republic is beautiful. There are buildings that look like something from a scene in a Harry Potter movie (evil-looking) and others that look like parts of Disneyland, where you would expect Pinocchio to appear at any moment.

Once again, the locals were nothing but servants to us. They not only met us when we arrived but carried our bags throughout the day.

We began by dropping wallets, but soon decided that the best use of our times was to do an open air in the local Square. In the middle of the Square was a large statue of Jon Hus, who was martyred for the same Gospel that we were preaching. He made the Scriptures available in the language of the common people, and for that was burned to death. His last words were “O holy simplicity.”

I then preached the simplicity of the Gospel four or five times. EZ and Mark also preached. Mark did the straight jacket despite his bruised arm. But it became too painful for him, so Trish put on the jacket and did a wonderful job. She even stopped struggling now and then to say a sweet “Thank you,” each time the crowd applauded to encourage her. It’s such a good visual illustration, to say that Jesus broke the chains of death through the resurrection.

When a singing group walked passed, we asked them to do a number for the cameras. They gladly complied, and when a crowd gathered I slipped them five dollars and asked them to sing another song after I preached, which they did. They helped pull in a fresh crowd. EZ and Mark preached also.

We then broke for a wonderful lunch. Scotty and Carol ordered a wonderful dessert. We may have to change the Europe promo: “Thirteen countries, thirteen days, thirteen desserts, and thirteen pounds.”

EZ and Duane decided that I should preach to the crowd that formed in front of a famous clock in the town square. It was a perfect springboard for the gospel. At the top of each hour a door opens and moving carved wooden figures of the Apostles appear. About twenty feet below that, there was moving skeleton that rung a bell. At five minutes to three a crowd of up to two thousand people formed. I asked God for help, told them who I was and why we were in their beautiful city. Then I talked about the skeleton holding a bell being symbolic of death. One day their bell would ring, but God had made a way for them to be saved from its grip.

Three of us hopped onto a horse and carriage and I shared on camera an anecdote about love and marriage going together like a horse and carriage, and how there is another marriage bound together by love. It’s the marriage of sin and death, and how there must be a divorce between the two, if the sinner wants to live.

Time was quickly going, so we ran to the main bridge over a huge river that runs through the city. On each side of the bridge there were huge stone carvings of the apostles, Mary, etc. We needed some one-to-one witnessing on camera, and we got a delightful interview with an English couple.

In the middle of the Bridge was a huge statue of Jesus on the cross. I did a quick word in front of the camera, saying that so many people passed by without understanding the meaning of the cross. I looked up and saw that a crowd had formed, so I jumped up on the statue and preached the gospel. EZ followed, and then I preached again.

What a full day we had! I preached more times in Prague than anywhere else in Europe. We broke through the wall. That’s ten countries. We are in a train, heading for Vienna, in Austria. Please keep praying; especially for my wife, Sue. Thank you.

God bless, Ray

P.S. We had been on the train for about two hours when it stopped at a station, and to our surprise, four of the helpers that we had left back in Prague came on board. They lived in the area we had just entered, and had purchased some chocolate for us. I was so moved by their act of love I felt that eating it there and then would be the right thing to do. So I broke some off for myself and as I ate it I looked at a very large lady across the aisle. I tried not to be cruel in my thoughts about her, but I remember thinking that her protruding bottom lip that made her look like the world’s grumpiest woman. She looked very much like General Berkhelter in Hogan’s Hero’s.

I decided that I had better share the blessing of the gift of chocolate with the crew, and as I slid passed EZ, my leg clipped a clip from a walkie-talkie radio that he had in the seat pocket in front of him, and went under Mrs. Grumpy’s seat.

I was horrified as I bent down and reached under it hoping that I didn’t blindly grab her big toe and upset her.

Suddenly I found it and with great joy lifted my head, and bumped it on the tray table that was connected to her seat. That’s when she looked around at me. I could hear Trish choking with laughter at what she was watching (a typical day in my life).

I stood up and offered her a piece of chocolate. Surely she lived on it and would love me for giving her some. She just stared at me as though I was a nut. As I held the chocolate out for her to take a piece I thought that I had better say something to let her know that I wanted to be friends, so I said, “Would you like a piece?” She looked back at me and said, “Nine.” Wow. I remember thinking, “No way. You’re only getting one piece.”

P.S.S She’s just left our carriage, for some reason.

9 comments:

CHANGE Collegian Network said...

Thanks Ray so much for the post script - it made the story so much more personal. I'm rolling on the floor laughing. Keep preaching the gospel and you can know I will continue to pray for you and your wife. I can't imagine how tired you and the crew are, but you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you as you wisely taught me via your show.

Justin
Campus Laeder for CHANGE Collegian Network on the William Carey University campus.

bebereans said...

LOL I'm lovin' this blog and I love y'all and this ministry. Such an encouragement to so many of us. You just don't know.

I wish I was there with all of you! May the Lord bless you all and keep you close always.

Soli Deo gloria!

Praying,
Rachel

UKGM.org (David) said...

Praying for you all, especially for all those left at home.

On another note, remember there is counselling available for people with chocolate addiction (although, for some reason this is rarely taken up.)

Keep up the pace. Not long to go now

Dave

C. Shearer said...

I am so glad you guys are doing this. The last time I was in Europe, I wasn't saved, and the more I think back, that place is a spiritual wasteland.

Continue to run the race! But don't forget to pace yourselves! (1 Cor 9)

Prayerfully,
Canyon

Marcy B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dona said...

I'm praying for all of you and your families. Hang in there, you're almost done. Wow, it amazes me that people walk past those statues every day and never give them a thought or probably if they do they think of them as a reminder of what people believed before they got educated. It's so sad! Thank you for all your sacrifices to get the Word out and to teach us too.
God Bless you,
Dona

Martin Winter said...

Just an attempt at clarification: The heavy lady probably was German and said "No", which is spelled "Nein" in German and pronounced like "Nine" in English.

Beyond Thunder Dome said...

Mr. Comfort, I have for many years had great respect for you. The way that you and your ministry present the gospel is unmatched in our present world of modernism. However, I do wonder about the "very large lady with the large bottom lip."

I wonder if she would have ever accepted the presentation of the gospel, knowing that she was the brunt of your laughter and cruel thoughts. I wonder if she would have heard a word after being confronted with Trish's laughter. Trish is a beautiful woman, this is obvious. I wonder how this unbeautiful woman felt?

You see, I have been in that place. I have been judged for my appearance many times over. When I read this Post Script, I turned away from my computer and cried. I was angry with you, but more than that I was so very disappointed in your reaction to this woman. This woman could have been my mother, aunt, or grandmother.

When she spoke did she have a "grumpy" voice? I wonder. I wonder if she had a terribly painful life and one of her only pleasures was the meal she made herself at night. Perhaps she ate her meals all alone, day after day? Who knows.

Appearance and Christianity are the last defenseless brunt of jokes. I don't believe that Jesus would have even entertained as much as a tiny cruel thought toward her, regardless of her appearance. Regardless of the fact that she didn't measure up with the rest of society and what the pretty people think should be a uniform appearance.

Might this woman have been in a place to hear the gospel presentation had she not heard the laughter and saw within your eyes and the others surrounding you, the unacceptance? I don't know. But I do know this, had it been me I would have sat there with my silent tears as I have on many occasions because of peoples outright disdain toward me.

If you would have grabbed her toe, she would have gotten over it. But the scar that was left will never heal.

Mr. Comfort, I say all of this because I owe it to you. It is so obvious that these thoughts never even occurred to you or your friends. I believe that you have impacted the world for God in a way that few have before you, but I wonder if you would be willing to repent of your prejudice.

In closing, I love you and your ministry and pray that God will continue to bless it with his goodness. It is up to me and my family to forgive you, and with Gods help we will.

Elen said...

Ha ha, chocolate is the biggest fun of the whole Prague story