On Tuesday I boarded a plane bound for Prague, Chezch Republic to begin an Eastern European adventure of a lifetime. Fuge Camps hired me to be the host of 2008's Summer Mission Videos featuring the Roma people group of Central and Eastern Europe. I'm here with Lorie, Fuge Missions Coordinator, Neil, Fuge Creative Director, and Ben, our production assistant.
We arrived in Prague Wednesday morning after little sleep on our overnight flight. We checked into Hotel Olsanka then hopped on the tram to the IMB office. One wrong tram later we were on our way! We arrived just in time to meet our first "M," BH*. BH serves the Roma in central Czech Republic and is a strategy coordinator focusing on church planting and relationship building. During our interviews with the M's we asked questions about their journey to the mission field, their work with the Roma and how they've seen life change happen in them and around them.
After four more interviews we scouted out locations for Thursday's shoot with SJ, the communications specialist for Central and Eastern Europe. We then met up with the International World Changers crew for dinner at a Chezch restaurant for what we have dubbed as the meal of meat. Just imagine platter upon platter of meat in all shapes and sizes...I ate my vegetables that night!
Thursday began with a trip to Wenceslas Square to film the first of several location clips. I got miced up and then Neil set up about 200 feet away for a long distance shot. He says it was a great effect--people were walking in and out of the scene and it gave the shoot authenticity. Afterwards we went to Old Towne for some candid shots on the Flip video (a little hand held video recorder). Neil's idea was to have me chronicle my personal journey and use it as added perspective during the mission videos.
We were able to see the Astronomical Clock in Old Towne. It's one of Prague's biggest tourist attractions. The clock features a medallion with the signs of the zodiac as well as two doors above the clock face. When the top of the hour chimes the doors open and the 12 apostles parade in and out each door. We also saw the statue of John Huss, the forerunner to Martin Luther. Huss was burned at the stake, a martyr for his faith.
After lunch SJ took us to the Prague Castle. We did some filming at St. Vitas' Cathedral and then a mission video shot at a scenic overlook of the city. After all of our filming was done, SJ took us to see some local sights like the Lennon Wall and St. Charles Bridge (where Mission Impossible was filmed).
It's been an exhausting, exciting and exhilarating two days! Tomorrow we fly to Cluj, Romania to find the students we prayed for last year and get updates on them. Only one, Mijahi, has a phone--it's going to be an adventure to find them all! God has protected and provided each step of the way. It's and honor and a blessing to tell the story of the Roma.
*Some names have been changed to protect those serving in sensitive locations