Globally Engaged in Outreach (GEO) missionaries A.J. Davis and Ryan Volkman serve the Lord through The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) as English-as-a-Foreign-Language teachers. A.J. serves in Slovakia, while Ryan serves in the Czech Republic. Ryan and A.J. recently attended a weekend retreat for men in the Czech Republic.
On the weekend of February 1 and 2, 2014, GEO missionaries Ryan Volkman and A.J. Davis attended a conference for Christian men which was hosted by the Silesian Church of the Augsburg Confession (SCEAV), a Lutheran church body with which the LCMS works by sending personnel and other resources. The conference took place in Trinec, Czech Republic. The conference is an annual event which allows men to have time together to discuss topics important to them through a Biblical lens. It also allows for a time of strengthening relationships between fellow believers. A.J. shares, “There were about 300 men in attendance and one woman (she was the singer). The speakers were Czech, Polish, and Slovak. The topic was called “Tvari v Tvar, dej tomu hloubko,” which means, “face to face – to go deeper” It was a series of lectures about how to develop relationships with God, women, the church, and the community. It talked about different relationships in the Bible, and distractions men face in today’s world.” The event was open to Christian men from several different countries. For instance, A.J. traveled with six Slovak men to the conference in the Czech Republic.
As noted in January’s Missionary Profile, over 80% of the citizens of the Czech Republic marked “other, unspecified” or “none” on the religion section of the most recent census. For this reason, a conference like this serves not only as much-needed encouragement for these men, who likely often feel somewhat isolated in their beliefs, but also as a wonderful witness to the rest of the culture. Ryan touched on this reality when reflecting on the conference. He says “this is quite a special event because it is not often you have such a big gathering of men who believe in God in the Czech Republic. It was encouraging for those that attended.”
A.J. adds: “It was was great seeing the many people from the different countries coming together to be able to worship God. I traveled with six Slovak men for five hours in one car to the conference, and it was a time of fellowship and being included in such an international event.”
The conference has been held annually since at least 2006. Last year’s theme was “Trapped” and dealt with issues of pornography. The SCEAV has posted resources from past conferences, including videos of the speakers or MP3 recordings of lectures, on the conference website.