Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Verni Zustali

The title of today's post is called "vêrni zúlstali," which means remain faithful in Czech.  Keep this in mind; it will come in handy later in this post.

Today's post is mostly about faith.  Coming to Europe I assumed that everyone here would be religious, but I guess that is a stigma that the US put on Europe.  I found out today that Czech is over 50% Atheist... and my jaw dropped.  Here I am, a young adult trying to learn more about my faith every day plopped into a country where faith is not relevant.  But then I asked myself if my surroundings actually have an impact on me, or if that is just an excuse I might use.  The city I am in has NO impact on what God chooses to teach to me while I am here.  I can still find him in the beauty of my surroundings, the amazing people I meet, and the stunning churches that may have lost their significance, but were once used as fervent places of faith.  The unhappy people I meet here are all the more reason why I understand that having faith & God in my life makes my life so joyful.  The natives may use the excuse that they grew up in a Communist Regime, and therefore believing in God just "isn't a thing."  However, that is all the more reason to be thankful for the beautiful nation that has developed from such evil.

We learned an amazing story yesterday.  After Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the SS in Czech and mass murderer, was killed by the Resistance, Hitler ordered 10,000 Czechs to be killed and a town to be razed to the ground as a consequence.  The local authority lowered his orders to 5,000 people- which ended up being 6,000 people.  The town of Lidice was completely destroyed. 200 men killed by a shooting squad in front of their neighbors.  83 children under 15 years old were gased in trucks.  8 kids were spared because they were "Germanize-able" and they were sent to be adopted by German families.  We were lucky enough to speak to one of those 8 survivors yesterday.  She herself recognizes how lucky she is to have her life.  She has mixed feelings because although the Germans destroyed her town and killed her family, they also allowed her to keep her life.  But in a large way, I think God was involved in that decision because he knew she could tell her story and inspire the future generations.

The soldiers who killed Heydrich risked their lives to make their countries better.  In a shootout with the SS they were given a chance to surrender and be pardoned.  They responded, "verni zustali"... we will remain faithful, before they took their own lives.  To the end, they were faithful.  Their families were also killed to be an example for other Resistance participants.  In a country whose revolution was built on faith in the revolution, it amazes me that they have lost such faith.

However, with the distant help of Leah and other friends from home, I hope to find myself and my faith here in Prague.  It'll be hard, but it'll be gratifying.  Giving you all the glory, God.  Blessed to be here.

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