June 2003

Dear Friends,

As I think most of you already know, each of the last ten summers Park Street Church has sent a short-term missions team to the Czech Republic to teach English at a camp for young people.  It's been a vital mission, in which we've shown the love of Christ to hundreds of students, and helped to strengthen the local Church's reputation in its community.  But this year we're doing something different.

Twice during those ten years, former leaders of the Park Street teams moved away from Boston, then brought new teams from their new churches.  Each time, our group from Park Street has allowed them to work with the experienced congregation in the Czech Republic, while we began working with a new local team.  Last summer, as a new team from Seattle took over the work with the Czech congregation in Náchod, we switched to a church being planted a few miles away in Nové Město nad Metují.  This is the same congregation that the PSC Millennium Missions Projects and Partnerships fund has been sponsoring.  In 2002 the MMPP fund made a grant which helped them acquire property to construct a church building, and last fall they bought a large lot with an old building on it.

This building, which years ago was a slaughterhouse for pigs, had been long abandoned.  All that can be used of it are the exterior masonry walls.  Everything else has to be torn down and rebuilt.  The members of the congregation, about fifty in all, have been giving almost all their spare time and vacation to working on the construction, and by using their own energy and skills, they are cutting the costs to a small fraction of what they would otherwise be.  It is an inspiring project.  However, they don't have time this year for an English camp.

Our partnership in the past has always run an English camp because that's what we all thought was most strategic.  This year what is needed is help with the construction, and they've asked us to come and work with them.  It will indeed be a new thing for us, and an adventure.  Surely instead of our teaching them, this year they will teach us.  While we won't have the same outreach to students that we've had in the past, we will still have the opportunity to show the people of their town a functioning community of Christian believers.  We hope and pray that even with hammers and shovels in our hands, we will be able to reach people with the Gospel.

Please pray for us in this work.  Every prayer that anyone offers for our support is valuable.  Please also pray for the members of the local Czech congregation, and for the people of Nové Město nad Metují, especially during the time we are there from the 28th of June to the 11th of July.  Through your prayers, you will become an essential addition to our team in spirit.

I'm really asking you only for this prayer support, but of course there are also financial needs.  The cost to Park Street Church will be around $15,000 for the entire project.  The team is not expected to raise this amount directly, but we hope that by publicizing projects like this, we can indirectly increase contributions to Park Street's missions program to cover their costs.  If you want to help in this way, please make a donation to Park Street Church.  Put a note on your check saying "missions - Czech Republic".  And if you really will pray for us, and especially for me at least from time to time, then also put my name with the note.  It will be a great encouragement.

Thank you, and may the Lord be with you.

Dick Howell