Monday, July 25, 2005

Uwaga (Attention)

Day 12. Sunday 23rd July Warsaw.
Said goodbye to Simon who flew back to London early this morning. Simon had a real gift in Prophesy and used it to bless each of us, each day. He was also a great encouragement especially to me and hearing from God and being bold enough to speak it out.
Pretty chilled day today just wondering round old town. Had dinner at a traditional Polish restaurant and then went to get the train to Kiev which left at 10pm

Day 13. Monday 24th July Kiev.
All I know is this train! The other 4 guys had one compartment and I took the bed in a compartment with an old Polish couple who spoke English. I could tell they had been married for quite some time because as they talked to you they would intercahnge who was speaking mid sentance without even pausing. They also snored. Boy did they snore. They snored in harmony, as one breathed out the other breathed in and visa versa causing one long noise that sounded just like an express train which added to the noise of an express train meant i didnt get much sleep. We had our passports checked about 2am and then due to the different sized wheels on the train tracks in Poland and Ukraine spent an hour in a big train warehouse while they changed the wheels on the train. I'm not sure how they did this as i could only see out my window at the men running about with screwdrivers and spanners. Finally arrived at 4.20pm and tried phoning the people who would show us to our appartment. We had hoped that YWAM Kiev woulkd meet us there but they hadn't replied to Jay's e-mail but as we were failing to get through to the accommodation people a couple came up to us who were from YWAM and were able to help us to accommodation, we will meet up with them some more tommorrow, The fun doesnt stop there because when our accommodation agent finally arrived (half an hour late) it turned out we couldn't stay there so we walked 10 minutes to another appartment (10th floor) then had to wait another 30 minutes before the person who had double locked the door could return and let us in. The appartment is actually amazing with air conditioning, satalite tv and coffee machine. We have just been out for dinner at a Ukrainian diner.

Day 14. Tuesday 25th July. Kiev.
Prayed this morning then headed out into town to meet the YWAM guys, Aksana and Tanya who showed us round the city centre. We went up to a high point to pray over the city and saw the "iron mamma", a statue of liberty-esque monument that overlooks Kiev. After that we headed to the YWAM base which is on a static boat on the river. This evening we stayed to meet some of the YWAMers and see a showcase of the dancing ministry's dances. We might get to spend time with them tomorrow - the guys are very excited about this! We got the opportunity to pray for some of the missionaries and for one lady who runs a pregnancy crisis clinic. Her name is Olia and she had a ultrasound scanner conviscated at customs recently and she desperately needs it back.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Co To Znaczy? (What Does This Mean?)

Day 10. Friday 22nd July. Warsaw
Had some quality team time this morning and looked at our team goals we had written at the beginning of the trip. It was good to refucus and pray for each other and encourage each other.
We spent the morning walking round the old and new parts of town praying in various parts then ate at a pizza restaurant who apparently give all thier profits to an orphanage.
In the afternoon we went to the tallest building in Poland - The Ti Burton-eaque Palace Of Science And Culture which Stalin built (not personally) as a gift to Poland in 1955.
We went up in a lift to a viewing gallery and looked over the whole city. You get the best view of the city form here as its the only place in Warsaw that you cannot see the building. We got a chance to pray up there too amd later discovered that the exact time we were praying was precisely 50 years to the exact minute that the building was opened! (bbc news)
That evening we returned to see a ceremony to mark the event which turned out to be a sarcastic reinactment of the opening complete with a guy waving a soviet flag behind "Stalin". Most Polish people really hate the building and what ity stands for. Due to the number of cameras there is a good chance we made it onto Polish television!
After dinner at an Italian restarand we headed to a bar and then to bed.

Day 11. Saturday 23rd July. Warsaw
Went back to the Stalin Building to pray some more this morning and then went on to the Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego (Warsaw Rising Museum) that is all about the soldiers who fought against the Nazi's who had taken Warsaw and how despite no help from the allies took back many parts of the city and refused to give in. About 200,000 Poles died and in the end virtually the entire city was demolished enabling the communist oppression to come in without much opposition. (Remid me I must watch the film 'The Pianist' when I get back to England). This was inspiring and gave us a really good background to the history of the city and where the people came from.
This evening we met a contact of Jay's, A Polish guy named Peter who gave us an insight into the culture of young people in Poland and Evangelical Christianity here. (Only 0.1% of Poland is Evangelical - born again Christian).

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tch To Yest Twoy Smok? (Is That Your Dragon?)

Day 9. Thursday 21st July. Krakow/Warsaw
This morning we wandered around the castle - the best place in Poland according to one tourist guide and where many kings lived, and prayed for the city. The castle was built in the 10th century and has been added to over the years giving it a large mixture of building styles. Although Poland is 95% Catholic we found out about there being a Hindu spiritual centre in the castle courtyard. When we found it several people were standing there with their hands outstretched palm down and one guy was sitting there meditating. We prayed and praised God there who is the King of kings.
We went for lunch to a restaurant called Rozowy Slon (The Pink Elephant) and all 6 of us ate a hot meal for under 10 pounds. (And yes we did feel very welcomed)
We went to a cafe in the Jewish quarter in the afternoon and afterwards got the 3.5 hour train to Warsaw. After a short walk (Grant and Steve got a taxi) to the hostel we dumped our stuff and headed out for food. Warsaw has a very big city feel about it with many skyscrapers being built everywhere. The war flattened most of the city so all the buildings are no more than about 50 years old.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rozowy Slon (The Pink Elephant)

Day 7. Tuesday 19th July. Bratislava
Last day in Slovakia. Prayed round poorer parts of town with Peter and Alenka. Really good to see the non touristy parts of the city. Went to the International House of Prayer in the evening and had a really awesome worhip time and got to share what God had said to us with about 30 Christians, then we got to pray over them individually (with our own personal translators)
Left at about 10 and although we had only been with them for 3 days, we have made some very good friends.

Day 8. Wednesday 20th July. Krakow
Happy 1 and 1/4 year anniversary Zoe.
Got the relatively uneventual night train through Czech Rep on to Krakow, dumped our stuff in a locker at the station and then headed to Auschwitz where over 1.5 million people were killed during 1942-1944. Spent the morning walking round the concentration camp. Pretty full on. I thought I would come out feeling shocked and sad but ended up getting really angry that man could treat other humans so badly and how we must stand up for what is right today so the same thing does not happen. Jay has some pictures on his blog.
Spent the afternoon wandering round town centre and had dinner in pizza restaurant before chilling in yet another underground pub! The others are very excited about the good looking waitresses in Poland!

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Ja Ha Ho

Day 4. Saturday 16th July. Prague.
Quieter day today, went across the Charles bridge which has many symbolic monuments on it and prayed next to a statue of the crucifixion while a swing band played Oh When The Saints Go Marching In. Had some quality time on own to pray and reflect. Isaiah 61 and 62 really stood out to me about Prague.
We ate a meal in an Italian Reastaurant and then went to Nebe which was pretty dead because it was before 11pm. And thats just before the fun started...

Day 5. Sunday 17th July. Bratislava.
We planned to get the night train = 6 hours, to Bratislava in Slovakia leaving at midnight so we picked up our bags from the hostel and headed for the station... Jay, our team leader realised he left his bag in Nebe so went to get it but ended up missing the train. Here is an e=mail he sent.

Hey guys..I don't know what happened. I made it to the train station at 12:00 and ran around everywhere lookign for you guys.. but I never found you. I ran around the platform and everything. Anyways, I don't know what happened... but I'm taking a 7:30am train and so I'll get there at 12:25pm. Could someone make sure there is someone at the station to meet me? OK... anyways... HOPEFULLY I'll see you soon.--Jay

So 1 team member down we set off for Slovakia, and things were going well, we were given some pivo from the guard when Steve got confused about the currency and gave him too much money. We also were able to share Jesus with a German girl called Rayka, who was far more intelligent than any of us. I got to sleep at 2am and was woken by a knock on our cabin door. I was sharing with Simon.

Simon: Dave Pray!
Dave: eh... (coming out of a very deep sleep)
Simon opens door to a very typical passport inspector with moustache and scary mullet. Naturally he spoke no English and neither did his strangely attractive sidekick.
Dave: gnrrr... (meaning here is my passport = now let me get back to sleep)
Simon start fumbling through bags and I start to realise why we needed prayer.

After about 3 minutes of fumbling around and Dave making several more grunting noises and being of no help whatsoever Simon: Sorry, I dont seem to have it.
Grumpy scary mullet-moustache man: (something in a Czech and pointing to somewhere not on the train)

Dave: (to Grant, Jeff and Simon) Weve got a slight problem... (re tells story)
Grant: (realising he is now team leader and has some very important decisions to make) Right lets sort this out.
Grant decides to make Simon get off and Dave go with him back to the British embassy in Prague and they would journey on to Bratislava.

Train stops,
Grumpy scary mullet-moustache man returns

Simon takes his belongings to the doorway
Dave is slower packing stuff and knicking to teams supply of food and water, then under one of the bacgs finds a black wallet.

Dave: Er guys... (waves black wallet in air) one passport!
Grumpy scary mullet-moustache man loosens grip on Simons arm and whole team breathes out a sigh of relief.

Pretty uneventful after that. Arrived at 6am, and were picked up by Silvia from Breakthrough Church in Bratislava, Lenke from the International House of Prayer, and Peter from YWAM Slovakia. These 3 people are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. They took us to our hostel - a Lutherian Church owned top story apartment right next to the presidential palace. we have 3 rooms between the 6 of us. We went to sleep until 12pm and then went to Silvia and her husband Andys for food and at 12.30 Jay arrived much to the relief of all of us (Jay was the only one who knew the guys in Slovakia).

We went to church at 3pm in a local community centre and had an awesome worship time. learnt a few new words:
slava means glory,
svety means holy,
Ježiš means Jesus,
Ja Ha Ho means la la la.
Holy means Naked
Ronald who was the only guitarist managed to break 3 strings yet continued valiently.
Pastor Paulina spoke about wind and then we were all filmed for a documentary for Slovakian television while praying in tongues. They had to do several takes to get it right though.

In the evening we went out with some people from the church to have ice cream in the town centre. Simon told me of a picture he had about cows and wasn´t sure how it fit in. As it turned out all over the centre of Bratislava are model cows all painted in creative ways.

That evening I read the testimony of Zoe, the 20 month old daughter of Silvia and Andy. They were constantly told by doctors that there was no baby and it was a blood clot and she had to have an abortion but kept beliving in God and refused. Then when there was a baby there they said it was down syndrome and she should abort but again Silvia belived God was saying LIFE (Zoe means Life). They were even able to give birth to her in America.

Day 6. Monday 18th June. Bratislava.
Spent the day praying round parts of Bratislava like the castle, parliment building, catholic church and town centre. Had dinner in town with Peter and his wife Susanna.
We prayed also for the leaders of the biggest christian youth camp (campfest) in Slovakia happenning in the middle of August. Noel Richards is a regular attender!
In the evening we joined some of the church playing football and then swimming in the lake.
Late on we went out for drinks for Jays birthday.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Blízko Nebe (Close To Heaven)

Day 3. Fri 15th July. Prague.
Had a bit of a lie in and feeling a bit better now. We prayed as a team and then went out to the castle - I conquered my fear of trams on the way there. the castle has inside it a cathedral - st Vitas - which is stunning. we went up the tower 303 steps and had awesome views all over the city. Its sad how the church was once used to glorify God but now is a tourist attraction where people marvel at the work of man. (Sometimes, when you are in churches you have to look and up and think - how did they put the roof on?)
Then we had some more prayer time before joining the prague house of prayer, prayer meeting. this was held on the outskirts of Prague in a day care centre. A bunch of Christians both Czeck and American just desperate to see a change in Prague although it we didn't know what they were singing, I still tried to join in.
After that we went to the house of the pastors of an English speaking church and had a cook out on an open fire. we met some wonderful people and were really encouraged by them. Some of the stories were incredible, Davor, from Serbia told me about how he miraculously escaped the frontline of the yugoslavian war a few years earlier. I got talking to an English author who has been living in Prague for 2 years and share Jesus with him. We returned by double decker train to our hostel.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pivo Dela Pekna Telka (Beer Makes Beautiful Bodies)

I had an inspiring weekend at the YWAM base in Harpenden and heard talks from Jay Smith who said the only thing that can stop radical muslims are radical christians, Pete Greig spoke on dreaming the impossible and walking out with smaller steps that are possible. Rachel Hickson, Trent Shepperd and so on!

We had some valuable time just chilling and getting to know the rest of the team and drinking lemonade!

Day 1. Weds 13 July. Prague
Arrived about 10.30pm with no baggage problems and reached out hot and noisey hostel. We are sharing our room with a Finnish girl who seems untroubled by the 6 guys who have arrived. Have got a cold caused by not sleeping too well so staying in while the others have gone out to get some food and pivo.

Day 2. Thurs 14th July. Prague.
Spent the morning praying at our hostel. Then went for a walk round the town including old town square and the square where good king Wincesless looked out on the feast of Stephen.
Had lunch in a pivo restaurant.
There is a big monument and museum to a man called Jan Hus, who was burned at the steak in the 1400's for saying that Czeck should be allowed to have the bible in their own language and had an independant spirit that I would love to see today in the Czech Rep that has a very hopless athiestic feeling.
In the afternoon we went to internet café where Simon had a prophetic word for one of the guys working there about him playing his misic for God.
We then went up to a monastry over looking the city and prayed for it. This was really powerful and God gave us some pictures that really helped focus our prayer time.
After some refreshments we returned to the hostel and before heading out to a restaurant and then on to an underground bar-club called Nebe. This is a bit like the cellar in Dyke House, Ledbury and the Fez club in Reading. There we prayed for opportunities to speak to people and as it happens the guy Simon met at the internet café was there. We had some great conversations and felt that God was going to use this club with the young people in Prague.

Thats all for now but checkout the other blogs for more news.
Jay has some photos on his site now so check them out.
Also see for more info.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Bohemian Rasberry

You can get updates of my 24-7 trip at grant's blog or maybe here too.