What kind of teams go to the Czech Republic?
We typically send Vacation Bible School, English Camp and Softball Camp teams each year. Some years, we will send a team to do light construction in one of our partner churches or at ESUMC Prague.
When do the teams go?
Most of the VBS, English Camp and Softball trips happen in July because this is the only month that both Americans and Czechs are out of school for the summer. Construction teams are more flexible and can travel at any time of year.
What does it cost to be on a team?
The cost for each trip will vary slightly, most will be approximately $2000 per person, depending on airfare and exchange rates at time of travel.
What does that cover?
The cost per person covers your airfare, lodging, food, ground transportation and leisure time activities for the week.
I don’t think I can afford that. What are my options?
First time travelers may qualify for a partial scholarship, if funds are available. The District Superintendent will also assist you with fund-raising by providing the template for a letter that you may send to friends and family inviting them to help fund your trip.
How long will I be gone?
Typically, teams are away from home 7 to 10 days. Most teams spend Monday through Friday at the site of the project. However, additional time is needed before and after for travel and sightseeing in Prague. Teams often spend one Sunday on site in order to worship with the local congregation.
I don’t speak Czech! How will we communicate?
There will be at least one person at each mission site that can speak English and translate for you. You will also find that at many businesses and attractions there will be English-speaking people and English signs, menus, etc. Many of the children and youth that we are working with know some English as they begin learning it in the early grades.
How soon should I sign up?
We try to fill the teams each year by the end of March so that each will have ample time to plan and raise funds.
Where do I sign up or get more info?
Contact the District Office at (423) 926-7533 or email us.
How do I donate?
Supplies may be given to a team leader or sent to the District Office. We encourage each congregation to take up a special offering for Czech missions each spring. If you missed that opportunity or would like to do more, send your check to (and payable to): Johnson City District UMC, 110 Mary Street, Johnson City, TN 37615 with Czech partnership on memo line. If you would like to sponsor a specific team member, please include their name on the memo line. Online donations are also accepted – click here.
Is it safe to travel in the Czech Republic?
Yes! Travel in the Czech Republic is as safe or even safer than in many parts of the US. In fact, statistics show that the violent crime rate per capita of the Czech Republic is HALF that of the United States.
Where will we stay?
Accommodations will vary, but most teams stay in small motels or pensions (which are similar to a bed and breakfast). These accommodations are basic, but comfortable. Expect to share a room with one to three team members.
What is the food like?
Czechs eat a lot of pork and chicken, and very little beef. A typical meal consists of meat and some type of starch such as potatoes or dumplings. They use a lot of gravies and heavy sauces. Most restaurants will provide an English menu so that you know what you are ordering.
When do I need to pay for the trip?
Each team member must pay a deposit of $200 by April 30. Your balance must be paid before airline reservations are made.
What happens I if get sick or am injured on the trip?
Medical care throughout Europe is very good and very accessible. Each team carries low-cost travel insurance that covers your medical expenses in the event of an emergency.
How will I communicate with my family while I’m gone?
Modern technology is wonderful! Many cafes and restaurants offer free wifi, and depending on where you stay you may have wifi available in your room. You may want to consider downloading Skype, a free communication service that allows persons to communicate through instant messaging, voice-over-internet phone calls, and video calls using webcams. Skype to Skype calls and video calls (from one computer to another) are free, and Skype to landline or cell phone calls cost very little. Check with your mobile carrier to see if they offer an international plan for your cell phone. If they do, be certain to check the fine print to avoid suprises when you get your bill.
Where is the Czech Republic?
The Czech Republic is generally considered to be in the center of Europe – bordered by Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria.
How long does it take to get there?
The trip typically takes close to 20 hours total, including layovers. You may fly from TRI to Atlanta or Charlotte, and then to New York, Paris, or Amsterdam before arriving in Prague. The longest flights are generally 9 hours long.
Is the Czech Republic the same as Czechoslovakia?
Yes, and no. Czechoslovakia was formed in 1918 when the Czech lands and Slovakia declared their independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On January 1, 1993 Czechoslovakia peacefully split into two separate countries: Czech Republic and Slovakia.
What does softball or English lessons have to do with evangelism?
This is what we call “back door” evangelism. Since the Czech Republic has such a high rate of atheism, most Czech citizens would never think of attending a church service or listening to someone preaching on a street corner. These programs are a way for Czech United Methodists to invite their non-believing friends and family to participate in a fun activity, and learn about the love of Christ in a non-threatening way.
You can learn more about the Czech Republic on Wikipedia by clicking here.