(Apologies for being so behind in blog posts!)
So after spending a few days in Hlucin, we headed to Orlova with Kamil, the church planter from Orlova. But first, we spent the better part of the afternoon walking around Ostrava, the biggest city in the eastern region of Czech Republic. We walked around the main square, common in pretty much every Czech city.
As you can see, it’s so beautiful with the old buildings and the feeling of Christmas in the air!
The city of Orlova is an old mining town and used to revolve around the coal mines. Many apartments were built to house miners who lived in the town, so there are about 40,000 people living there, but the infrastructure is meant for a much smaller population.
Orlova also has a large Roma community. The Roma people (also known as gypsies, but the term gypsy is considered politically incorrect) are a travelling people who live throughout Czech Republic and many other countries in Europe. It was really interesting learning about the relationship between native Czech people and Roma people. There is a lot of prejudice towards the Roma people, and they often have more social problems than other people.
Kamil does a lot of work with the Roma people in Orlova and many Roma families attend his church plant. On our first night there, we got to go to a home group at the flat (apartment) of a Roma family. They are a very musical people and it was amazing listening to them sing songs and worship God together. Even though many Roma people are poorer and have a hard time finding work, they have a very joyful spirit and are SO hospitable. I even learned a Roma worship song in the Roma language, and Zoltan took a video of it, so I’ll try and post it sometime soon. 🙂
On our second night in Orlova we held a concert for people in the community. We talked about Canada and showed some pictures, and then played some songs. I’m always amazed how even though it may be hard to communicate with words because of language differences, people of any language or culture can relate to music. It’s a common ground.
Anyway, we also got to go to some schools in Orlova and teach about Canada, and at one school they even gave us chocolate to thank us for coming! It was great to get to know some people in the church and learn a little bit about the story of Orlova. Kamil and his family are doing a lot to build relationship in their community and their church is growing.
Thanks to everyone in Orlova for having us; we felt so welcome!