As Mel and I thought through our 3rd post for the website, we realized it might be beneficial to “pause” from the fundraising and support/team building updates to write about the history of Rescued. As Rescued prepares for it’s fourth return trip to the Czech Republic to celebrate Travna’s 50th anniversary, it’s amazing to think of all the prayer, team building, planning, and preparations, that have brought us to this point.
The initial Rescued project was instigated by Daniela Kenning. Daniela and her husband, Jared, are global outreach workers (missionaries) serving in the Czech Republic and sent from Cole Community Church. While on furlough, Daniela participated in Cole Community’s choir. She had the idea that a music group/choir combination could be a powerful force in the Czech Republic to share the Gospel and lead others in worship. After sharing this idea with the worship pastor (Adrianne Fisher) and much prayer, an initial team was formed. While the team prepared to depart, the original team members shared their life stories and a common thread surfaced — that everyone had been rescued from various personal situations or sins by the grace of Jesus. Thus the name Rescued was confirmed. Colossians 1:13-14 says:
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
During the initial trip in 2010, Rescued was invited to put on concerts, but were asked not to talk or share. Despite this, the Spirit spoke through song lyrics, the universal language of music, and the genuine love of each team member. Rescued was invited back in 2012, but this time with the permission to “share a little bit”. During the concert, excerpts from team members’ testimonies were shared. Those who attended found a connection with the stories of redemption. Rescued 2 also held a choir workshop where Czechs could learn the songs over the weekend and be part of the concerts. More testimonies from Rescued members were shared at the workshop rehearsals and Americans and Czechs were bonded through commonality of the human condition. We cried together over our brokenness and similar life sorrows, and as often is the case, God met us right in the middle of it all. Following the second trip, Rescued was invited back for a third time. This time we were not only to put on outreach concerts and choir workshops, but also teach on worship at Brno Baptist Church and provide various workshops at a youth conference. The team member testimonies were written down, translated into Czech and made into a booklet that was passed out at each of the concerts. They ran out. Those who came read through our stories and then shared them with their friends and family members. Several young people shared that they connected with certain parts of our testimonies. If only there had been more time to talk!
In 2016, a separate Global Outreach Team from Cole Community Church was sent to help in renovating the grounds and facility at Travna, a Christian conference center, and to participate in a summer work camp.
These trips are only a small number of examples, and a small glimpse into the impact of the Rescued outreach and the larger partnership between Czech and American sisters, brothers and church families. There is so much we will never know until we get to heaven! Each time a team returned, they worked at establishing trust and building a working relationship with Czech believers from a variety of congregations and denominations. Rescued waited till they were invited back and could meet a specific need, and in all of this, seeds were planted, God was glorified, encouragement was given, training provided, and the power of His redemptive love was shared.