It was good to catch up with friends at IBTS - the International Baptist Theological Seminary - over this past week. Nestling in beautiful countryside in Jeneralka, a suburb of Prague, IBTS is a delight: lovely buildings - well restored - one of the best theological libraries in Europe and a truly international student body.
We were there to visit Ian and Janice Randall, members of our church, who are living there at the moment. Janice teaches English to students - during our stay, they were sitting their exams - and Ian is supervising a number of PhD students.
It was great to join the worship life of the community and share breakfast and fellowship with students at various times. IBTS runs a tourist hotel called hotel Jeneralka which is an excellent base for visiting Prague. Check out their website for rates and booking information (www.hotel-jeneralka.cz/). They offer discounts to groups from Baptist churches, so why not see if some of your mates from church fancy a week or weekend in Europe's most wonderful capital city.
IBTS is also home to the European Baptist Federation, something which doesn't get a very high profile among most British baptists (we seem to be an insular lot with a regrettably ambivalent attitude towards Europe). It unites Baptists across Europe from Scotland to the Urals, giving voice to one of the most significant movements of Christians across our continent.
It was deeply moving in prayers at the college to hear young Christians from Serbia praying that war would not return to their country - something they fear if the negotiations over Kosovo break down. It is one thing to read what's going on in our papers, it's quite another to listen to intelligent and articulate young Christians from every side of these conflicts voice their concerns about what's going on.
It was also hugely encouraging to see so many young Europeans taking their faith seriously enough to travel great distances at comparatively enormous expense to equip themselves for the great task of making Jesus known in Europe.
Pray for them