Photo: My Czech tutor, Barbora Vitarogova, holding one-year-old Lambert, with her mother, Ivana, daughter, Jasmine, and son, Jakub, at Jasmine’s kindergarten graduation celebration.
When I first arrived in Prague in 2018, I didn’t know even one Czech word. I soon learned while trying to buy groceries, that I needed a tutor to learn the language as quickly as possible. Barbora “Baru” Vitarogova was highly recommended by a former missionary.
Baru taught Czech classes a few blocks from my flat. She was expecting her second child (now age 4) and her mother, who doesn’t speak English, substituted during her maternity leave. I am so thankful that they both agreed to help. As Christians, they understand the importance of my mission work and the required Czech language skills.
In addition to twice-weekly lessons, I spent Christmas Eve 2018 with them. Baru’s husband, who is a Prague bus driver, drove me by car to their home in a nearby village, Buštěhrad. They joyfully shared many of their traditional Czech customs and cuisine with me. When I broke my arm in 2020, Baru continued lessons at my flat, and her family brought groceries and gifts. She has taken me to the airport at 3:45am for an early morning flight, included me with Czech Christmas caroling, and took me to pick fruit at a Czech farm. She arranged a substitute tutor when her third child was born last summer; again, the substitute did not speak English.
Baru recently included me in Jasmine’s kindergarten graduation as part of their family. I learned that students start preschool at age 3 and have the same set of teachers the first three years of school. They then go to the elementary school from ages 6 to approximately 15.
After the graduation ceremony, Baru asked me to help her teach a beginning Czech class to Ukrainian women, who are refugees here with their children. About 70% of Ukrainians are Christian, so the women were surprised at the number of Czech atheists. I was honored to help these newcomers learn more about the Czech language and culture with an amazing teacher who loves her students. I praise God for Baru and all of her help.
This month we remember the critical need for more missionaries willing to serve:
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Luke 10:2 (NIV)
To read more about my activities this month, including our Eurasia Regional Missionary Retreat in Greece, or to print a copy of the newsletter, please download it.