By Brothers Fikresilase Tsega and Jemal Shiferaw from Ethiopia
On Saturday, October 26, 2013, I, Fikresilase Tsega, and Jemal Shiferaw took off from Addis Ababa (the capital city of Ethiopia) to Prague, Czech Republic. We flew via Istanbul by Turk Airplane from Bole Ethiopian International Airport. After day and night travel we arrived at Istanbul International Airport at 6:50 A.M. according to their time counting. After two hours transit at Istanbul International airport we took off to the Czech Republic capital city Prague on a three hour flight by Turk Airplane and arrived at 11:45 A.M.
After we passed through security with our entrance visas, we walked to the airport main gate and there we met Brother Burt and his wife Nancy who were waiting for us. We were excited to see them and as they asked us about Ethiopia, we passed to them all the greetings we brought from the Ethiopian Christian community. Afterwards Brother Chijoke and his dear wife Iffy, who are from Nigeria, along with Brother Martin Hloska from the Czech Republic, took us by vehicle to Tursko, the small village where we were to stay.
I and my colleague joined many Christian families who had gathered to work together at the Prague fellowship’s place of gathering. What amazed us was that there is this large compound with their future worship building which was built by stones and bricks and it is about five hundred years old. Also in this compound we saw a single building where two brothers have been living as well as an upstairs prayer & worship hall. When we arrived there, we were warmly welcomed by Christians who were waiting for us, by the families who live in the compound and by brothers and sisters who came from various countries of the world to attend the conference. We were taken to Brother Radek’s house; it was he who sent us the invitation letter for the conference.
Subsequently, we were introduced to one another and invited for refreshment. When we arrived there it was almost lunch time; since the guests and the residents of the compound were waiting for us to have lunch, we joined them. The lunch was buffet; it was a self-service meal by making a line-up which is similar to Ethiopian custom. The difference was with the types of foods. There wasn’t any Injera and Wett (Ethiopian cultural food). Though it was a different type of food for us, Jemal and I enjoyed the meal. In fact, the meal we had on the airplane was wonderful. We entertained the rest of the hours chatting and introducing each other. After dinner we spent the night in the prayer building nice and warmly.
Remarkably, what amazes us was while we were in Prague we perceived that God has set different timing zones in different parts of the world. God has astonishingly balanced the position of the earth and the Sun and He separated the day and the night perfectly. We were in Prague at day where northern and southern Capricorn makes a change of day. Wow! It was a great experience for us. Praise be to God.
The following day we ate our breakfast at 8:30 A.M. and made ourselves ready for the 9:30 A.M. journey. Then Brother George brought his vehicle to take us to the Moravian region with two other Christians and with Brother Mark and his wife Rita. After two hours we took a short break to have refreshment. Even though my colleague Jemal didn’t eat anything, I and the travelers enjoyed having breakfast and soft drinks. Then we started our journey filling our vehicle with fuel.
After four to five hours we reached the place of the conference. The conference building and resort with a restaurant is located alongside a mountain in the village of Kuncice. This area is surrounded by dense forest. After arriving we registered by showing our passport; next we received our bedroom key to have a little rest. Afterwards we had dinner and then evening worship which started with prayer. Following this, Brother Burt shared with us God’s word. We felt the presence of God in the program. When the conference meeting was over we went to our bedroom.
The next day after we had our breakfast at 9:30 A.M., the worship program started. Brother Mark shared with us a wonderful message from God’s Word. We continued having a magnificent time until lunch time. In the following days we learned timely teachings by Brother Chijoke. These teachings were very relevant for the contemporary church and youths. We hope and expect to have the teachings in audio and video soon. Also in these days Brother George Herrig gave us a very important, in depth spiritual teaching which is very significant for our life. Additionally, Martin Kluson’s teachings helped us to add new spiritual knowledge in our understanding. His teachings demand decisions in certain areas of our life. Overall in these conference days we have seen God’s wonderful works as well as the defeat of the evil plan to interrupt the conference.
Something that stunned us was this: on one of the conference days, our friends, Sister Nancy, Sister Rita and I went for an evening walk from the hotel where we stayed. Alongside the sides of the road where we walked was thickly forested. There were also grassy plains. Here there were domestic cattle grazing without a shepherd. There was also a wire fence just for signs. This is a different experience from Ethiopia. In Ethiopia cattle are led for grazing and watched by a hired shepherd the whole day. As we walked further on we saw a pregnant cow trying to give birth; the moment she saw us she ran away. This was strange to me.
The Conference started October 25, 2013 Sunday evening, and was over on November 3, 2013 evening. While other attendants returned to Prague, Jemal and I went with Brother Tomas to his house which was not far away. The area where they live is near a city called Ostrava. This city was not far away from the Poland border. We stayed for three days between Ostrava and the border of Poland. In these days we had a chance to visit Poland and to buy materials. This was our first experience visiting Europe. We would like to express our special gratitude from the bottom of our hearts to Brother Kamil and his wife Tereska for giving their time to us so we could visit a fish production and museum. We also appreciate the hospitality they showed us in their home. We would like to pass on our gratefulness to Brother Tomas and his wife Magda, for the sisters who live there and to the fellowship for the love and care they showed us during the time we stayed with them.
After three days stay on November 6, 2013, Wednesday morning, Brother Tomas took us to the Ostrava train station. There we took a train and reached the Prague train station after a four hour trip. At the Prague station Brother Martin Hloska welcomed us with warm reception and took us to a Prague museum and international tourist destinations. Then he took us to his home and invited us to lunch with his family. After having nice chatting time with the family, he took us to Tesko international market center and he bought gifts for our family. Then Brother Hloska brought us back to Tursko, the village the fellowship is in. That same night we attended the weekly prayer program with the fellowship. Jemal and I prayed with this fellowship and shared with them scripture verses.
Following the prayer session we were invited for dinner at Brother Radek’s house. After the dinner was over we spent the night there. The next day we prepared our luggage. After having our breakfast at Radek’s house we passed our appreciation to his family and went directly to Prague International Airport with Radek. After our luggage was checked in we warmly thanked Radek and went to the waiting room. We can’t forget Radek and his family for their inexpressible reception. Let God bless them bountifully in all things.
At the end, according to Prague time counting, we took off from Prague by Turk airplane at 11:50 A.M. and reached Istanbul at 3:30 P.M. There we waited in transit for three hours and then flew to Ethiopia in the evening arriving at Bole International Airport at 1:30 A.M. At home we found our families in good condition. In all these trips and movement we give thanks to the Lord our God for His love, grace and protection. Let the Lord bless us in all things.
Fikresilase Tsega and Jemal Shiferaw