The ministry newsletter from Valašské Meziříčí, Czech Republic started out pretty normally: “November. I don’t know how it looks like where you live, but here in Wallachia, it was beautiful, colourful and at the same time dry, gloomy and rainy…

As it continues, the report reflects both the “colourful” and the “gloomy”…

…The first two clubs and youth groups went well with God’s help. On the second club, there were over 20 people. We also had guests – Luky and Zuzi Lachmanovi. It was an encouragement to see the kids and teenagers that we hadn’t seen in a while or that were completely new. I can feel that God wants to make his good things in Valmez. And that is what we pray for constantly. We are grateful for the people from the youth group that help with the program for the smaller kids and that continue to grow in love, faith, as well as service…

As our Youth for Christ staff in the Czech Republic continues with their report, you can feel their pain and sadness over recent events…

…during the third week, there was a great sorrow. I’m not even sure whether I will be able to write about it over the tears in my eyes. You may have seen and heard about the tragedy that happened here in Valmez in the media. Two 13-year-old boys were run over by a train. The boys that died used to belong to the community we that work with. Our hearts were deeply touched by the loss.

We didn’t know one of them in person (we know his sister), but we did know the other one quite well and two of his brothers come to the club regularly. We don’t understand what happened and why, but we believe that God can make miracles in the lives of our kids and teenagers through this tragedy.

As many in youth ministry can attest, God often uses tragedy to open peoples’ hearts and draw them to himself. This incident in the Czech Republic was no different…

On Friday after this tragedy, we organized the club and the youth group, and we left everything in God’s hands. A lot of kids and teenagers came, some of them quite heartbroken. We cried with them, we prayed, and we went to light a candle at the location of the tragedy. There, we also prayed for the sister of one of the boys. The kids asked us serious questions about redemption, how can we be sure that we will go to heaven, about death, about heaven… God was working that day and we are awaiting more.

Two brothers of one of the boys and many other kids came to the last club. A YFC staff person was able to talk to one of the brothers and find out how he is dealing with the loss of his older brother. His reply gave assurance that God has the whole family in his hands – even though they cannot see it for themselves. God also brought two teenagers from the youth group that leaders hadn’t seen for over a year.

Even though the sorrow at the funeral was great and many tears were shed, the priest who  conducted the ceremony did so with love, telling everyone the complete Gospel –  a hopeful and joyful message. It was beautiful to see the people entering into God’s peace.

Please, pray with our Czech staff for the families, as well as for the whole community of people that lost their son, brother, and friend.