by Morgan Consier
Benjamin Helge, a Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS) missionary in the Czech Republic gave a presentation titled “Tilled and Planted” at St. John Lutheran Church on Sept. 23. He talked about sowing the seed of the Gospel and waiting for God to bring it to fruition.
Helge, who was sent from the LCMS Office of International Mission in St. Louis, Missouri, works with the Silesian Evangelical Church of the Augsburg Confession (SECAC) and serves in the eastern part of the Czech Republic teaching English to over 500 students each week.
Helge focused on how he and other missionaries and teachers are working to plant the seed of the Gospel in the hearts of the Czech people and how God has been working in the hearts of those people to bring them to faith.
The laws in the Czech Republic do not allow for Helge to start a Bible study at school with his students, but his interactions with the students can lead to further discussion.
“I can’t really start a Bible study or anything. It’s a public school, so it’s similar laws to here in the States. You can’t just start a conversation, but if someone asks you about it, go for it,” Helge said.
Helge also uses his teaching position as a way to invite students to non-school-related events where he can more openly share the Gospel with them. One such event is called “English Talk Group,” often called ETG, a place where students can practice their English while being fed physically through meals and spiritually through God’s Word.
In addition to teaching English, Helge also helps with church planting, helping the SECAC to establish new churches throughout the eastern part of the Czech Republic.
Helge also leads summer camps, and college students can come over and help him lead those camps for a couple weeks over the summer.
Through these and other opportunities such as Global Education and Outreach (GEO) missionaries, Helge invited Concordia students and St. John members to consider mission trips. Through the GEO organization, college graduates with bachelor’s degrees can participate in a two-year program where they can share the Word of God with others and build relationships through English as a Foreign Language.
Returning to the topic of being “Tilled and Planted,” Helge focused on how individuals provide different types of soil for the Gospel to take root in and how those who spread the Gospel are working to take some of the rocks out of people’s soil in order that they might be brought to faith.
Thomas (last name unknown), one of the two college students who came over with Helge to the United States from Prague, spoke about how he grew up in a non-Christian family and how he repeatedly told others around him that he would never become a Christian.
“For me, this praying and stuff was so annoying. Every time I went to ETG, there was all this praying and God stuff. I just wanted to get food, practice English, and get the free stuff. So I had to suffer through this, but I really wanted to hang out with (Helge),” Thomas said.
As he continued to attend the church, Thomas was welcomed into the church community and began to take Christianity more seriously, eventually reaching the point when he realized his need for Jesus as his Savior.
Thomas’s story is just one of the many stories that Helge has witnessed during his time in the Czech Republic, but his time there has not always been easy.
Through the ups and downs of his life the Czech Republic, Helge tries to think about 1 Thessalonians 16:8, his confirmation verse, which reads:
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
“We are called to go out and to share the love of Christ to all and to tell what He has done for us,” Helge said. “I would not still be in the Czech Republic after five years if it was up to me. God was the one working.”