We thank God for the open doors we had in the Czech Republic and the many souls that were won to the Lord. This was Vinesong’s fifth return to this beautiful country with wonderful people and fantastic hospitality. Everywhere we went we saw God at work in people’s lives.
We sang in Czech and all our speaking during the meeting was interpreted by Kate (Katka) from within our team, which was an amazing blessing. In one hotel Dan, Zach and Kristof led one of the staff on the front desk to the Lord and we ministered in song to the rest of the staff team. Countless times we ministered to people personally, in their homes as the Lord brought fresh hope and encouragement to them. We were also able to minister to a number of Ukrainian refugees that we came across. There were many opportunities to share God’s love and hope in a tangible way through building relationships and spending time with people in various ways.
We were met with a full house at our first meeting of the tour, in Břniště. It was a wonderful start to the tour and many people told us how blessed they were by the ministry. They were so grateful that we would come off the beaten track and minister in their small village.
The church was housing a Ukrainian family and they told us that there were other Ukrainian families from around the area that would be present at the meeting. We asked if it would be OK if we sang in Russian and we were asked to please go ahead. It was here we learned that families with 3 or more children were allowed to leave Ukraine with their fathers. The family also told us that only around 20% of Ukrainians speak the Ukrainian language, whilst the majority of them speak Russian. As we ministered a couple of songs in Russian during the meeting, there was such an emotional response from the Ukrainians present and a real sense of God’s love, peace and reassurance.
We were also asked to lead the youth meeting at the church which took place the following day. It was an honour to spend time connecting with and investing in the youth. We continued to praise and worship the Lord together before each member of the team shared something that they had on their hearts to encourage those present. The meeting ended with a barbecue which was a great opportunity to continue to have fun with everyone and have important conversations alike.
Prison: Stráž pod Ralskem
Our first prison ministry in the Czech Republic was an amazing experience. Around 100 men were present at the meeting. Their response to the ministry was fantastic and about 85 gave their lives to Jesus. At the end, Daniel asked them to praise the Lord with us and the whole place erupted in shouts of praise and appreciation to God. The chaplain Martin was a gentle man who is like a father to the men, he spoke to them with such fatherly love and respect. At the end of the ministry the men were so appreciative and greeted us heartily as they left to go back to their cells.
Pastor Stan from Apostolic Church has a huge heart for the lost and in order to reach out, he organised for the meeting to take place in the local cultural centre. His faith and that of his family were rewarded with a great turnout. Many people gave their lives to Jesus, among them their neighbour and the neighbour’s daughter whom they had invited. The technical director from the centre was present throughout and at the end of the meeting he was so changed and so softened. He spoke so highly of the ministry to Stan and about the friendliness and love he had received from the team during set up. Many people following the meeting came to the CD table to let us know how much the ministry had touched them and they shared their gratitude for our ministry to them.
The following day we had a meeting at another church in Liberec which Pastor Stan had connected us with. Some people came along that had been at the ministry the night before. Three people came forward to give their lives to Christ.
Around 60 inmates were present at the meeting in this prison. Reuben was allowed in the prison with us and when he was introduced many of the men visibly softened and had tears in their eyes. The deputy governor was present at the meeting and thanked us for coming to the prison to minister to the men. Fifty-five men gave their lives to Jesus. At the end, the prison presented us with honey that the men had cultivated from their bees which was very sweet and humbling.
We were once again hosted by Martin and Martina Vavříčkovi. It was with them that we started our first tour of the Czech Republic as the current team in 2012. We reminisce about those days, 10 years ago, and our subsequent visit 2 years later in 2014. Their hospitality was second to none and we were so spoiled by them. It was a wonderful reunion and the first time they met the newer members of our team.
Pastor Karel (Kája) Řežábek is a renowned Czech worship leader, the translator of our songs into Czech and our Czech tutor who taught us how to sing our songs in the language. It was he who hosted this event at a church he pastors. It was a wonderful meeting and 5 people gave their lives to Jesus. We cannot thank Kája and his wife Dáša enough for their love and commitment to serving the church in the Czech Republic.
Prison: Kynšperk nad Ohří
It was a pleasure to be back in this prison again as we had been there on our previous tour. There were around 50 men in attendance and they responded positively to the ministry. Reuben was once again allowed in with us and some of the men cried when they saw him, a reminder of their own children that they had left behind. About 40 of the men gave their lives to Jesus during this ministry.
From the prison meeting in the morning, we left out for our first outdoor meeting of the tour in Přeštice. People gathered all around on benches listening to the ministry and many raised their hands for salvation. It was such a joy and a privilege to minister out in the open air and see people slowly but surely respond to the music and the gospel message.
Again we sang a song in Russian for Ukrainians who were present. There was a real sense of God’s presence as we declared the truth of God out in the public square.
This was a glorious outdoor meeting at a park with a covered bandstand. The weather was so good it was almost too hot to sit out in the sun, thankfully by the time the meeting started there was a little cloud cover which made it possible for people to sit out. We had been to Sušice in 2014 when we had a meeting at a local museum. This time around it was so special to be out in the open air, declaring the greatness of God into the surrounding park set around water.
It was a meeting hosted by churches working together in the area and organised by the local church. Interspersed within the programme were 3 people from the churches who individually shared their testimonies. Many people came to support the ministry from other churches in the region including many who had been at our meetings in 2014. One of our hosts told us that his father, who is not yet a born-again believer was visibly moved by the ministry. This was Kate’s mom’s church and both her and her husband helped to organise the meeting as well as arranging our accommodation.
Ten years ago we ministered in the neighbouring town of Kateřinice at the local town hall in an event organised by Pastor Mirosław and Wiera, who are originally from Poland. This time around they organised the meeting in their church in the village. They arranged for us to be hosted by people who have prominent positions within the town but are not yet believers. Rachael stayed with the headmistress of the local primary school and on the morning before the evening meeting the headmistress invited her into the school to meet the children in their different classes. As a result, some of the pupils and a teacher attended the meeting.
The meeting took place in the church, which is an old but majestic building within the town. Many people raised their hands for salvation including some of the pupils and members of the host families. Kate’s father, paternal grandparents and cousin attended this meeting. They could not speak more highly of the ministry they had received and of how blessed they were. It was such a privilege to see Kate’s family, having heard of the ministry, now seeing it up close and God ministering to them through it.
Nebory in Třinec was the final meeting of our 2014 Czech tour and it was a joy to be back there. This time the meeting was special because we had many visiting friends and family. Kristof’s parents and their neighbours came across the border from Poland to attend the meeting along with his two aunties. Some people from his home church, including his pastor, also attended the meeting. The parents of Kristie, Reuben’s second nanny, also came to the meeting as did Kate’s uncle and aunty. We sang primarily in Czech with one song in Polish. Four people came forward for salvation.
We stayed in accommodation provided by a church fellowship organisation which is used for retreats. A Ukrainian family was being housed there and as we left, we sang for them in Russian and prayed God’s blessing over them.
When the local pastor heard that Vinesong was going to be ministering in a town 40 minutes away, he jumped at the opportunity to invite us for an open-air meeting. The meeting took place in an area outside of a school in the middle of a housing estate with many high-rise apartment buildings. We could sense some unnatural opposition when a lady walked past our van shouting in a rage that she was going to report us and that we shouldn’t be there. The pastor, Pavel, told us that every week they were outdoors doing some evangelism and speaking to people in the local area, and we could sense a boldness in his approach as he introduced the meeting. Over 100 people gathered around to be part of what was going on and once again many people gave their lives to Jesus.
At the end of the meeting, a lady came to the CD table with tears in her eyes saying that a couple of members of the previous team had stayed at her home in the 1990s. Back then she was a new Christian and her husband was not yet a believer. She said that the team members prayed for her and shortly after, her husband was saved. They have been serving the Lord together ever since and her husband is now a prominent worship leader in their area.
This meeting was arranged by our wonderful friend Hana Pospíšilová. Her new church hosted the meeting at an amphitheatre which is run by a local community venture. Daniel, Charlene and Reuben stayed at a local guest house and invited the owners to come along to the meeting. It was because they built a relationship with them very quickly and showed them love, that they came to the meeting. Declaring Jesus into the atmosphere is such an honour and a privilege and we don’t take this for granted. A few people gave their lives to the Lord and some people spoke of how the ministry had an impact on them as individuals. One man heard about the event via radio at 1pm that afternoon and attended with his whole family.
Prison: Světlá and Sázavou
The final prison ministry of the tour took place in a women’s prison. It was an incredible meeting. The prison governor greeted us at the beginning of the meeting, thanking us for coming. She explained that due to restrictions put in place because of covid they hadn’t been able to have events and many activities had been suspended, making it very difficult for both staff and inmates. She said that she would stay for 1 or 2 songs but then she would have to leave. During the ministry and actually even before we sang one word, a few women already started crying. Throughout the ministry, there was such a strong sense of God’s presence and the women were singing and totally engaging with the ministry. At the end of the ministry, the women were so moved and around 60 of the 70 present gave their lives to Jesus.
The governor actually stayed throughout the whole meeting and at the end, she got up to say that she had planned to leave, but somehow, the ministry gripped her so much that she couldn’t go. She told us how she had to rearrange her whole schedule so that she could remain with us. She couldn’t stop talking about how good the ministry was not only for the inmates but for the employees and how important it was for them all to receive spiritual help and encouragement. The ladies had made some crafts and we were presented with the handmade gifts. It was such an honour to be able to minister in the prison and shine the light of Jesus into the hearts and lives of everyone present.
We share a letter from the women’s prison chaplain a few weeks later:
Our final meetings of the tour took place in Prague and the surrounding area. We ministered at a church in the city centre KS Střed with Pastor Petr Kácha. A couple that had been at our meeting in Liberec in 2014 found out that we would be at the church and came to be part of the congregation. As we ministered we were believing God for an outpouring of his spirit throughout the Czech Republic and it was so strategic to be in the centre of the city and to use the power and anointing on the songs to break down strongholds over Prague.
The final meeting of our tour took place in Úvaly, just outside of Prague. The town council had not allowed the local church there to rent the local hall for previous events. When they asked the council if they could use the building for the Vinesong meeting, the council said “yes” but that this was an exception. That was such an encouragement to our friends, Mirek and Hana Hobík who are church leaders in the area. The hall was full, even though it was very hot that day. Despite the heat, the atmosphere was charged and there was such a sense of God’s presence. It was an incredible meeting and 8 adults and children gave their lives to Jesus with many people coming forward for prayer for healing.
Some of you may remember Reuben’s first nanny, Bohdana (aka Bo). In the 7.5 years since she left Vinesong, she has completed a Master’s in child psychology, got married and had a baby. She came to the meeting in Úvaly with her husband Daník and her 2-month-old baby Beátka. It was wonderful to see Bo and meet her husband and baby for the first time.
Our tour finished with the wedding of Kate, Reuben’s current school teacher/nanny and Zach our bass singer. They have been courting for 3 years and got engaged on Valentine’s Day. It was a very special event in that the couple asked Daniel, who married them, to make an altar call before they shared their first kiss on their wedding day. There was such a tangible presence of the Holy Spirit that the sound technician from the chateau started crying and gave his life to Jesus straight after the wedding ceremony! Pastor John prayed a blessing over Kate and Zach and Vinesong ministered in song. We are so elated at this Godly marriage and wish them every happiness and blessing as they start their journey together as husband and wife. Zach and Kate will continue to serve in the Vinesong team, albeit now as a married couple.
Honeymoon and holidays
Following the wedding Zach and Kate went on honeymoon whilst the rest of the team took the opportunity to take a break for holiday.
Throughout the month of August we will be ministering in the UK. In September we will be ministering in the Netherlands. See our events page for more details: https://www.vinesong.com/events/