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2012 - Searching for a Better Life

By Paul Kelm, DMLC '86

Pausing briefly, the laborer looked out longingly from the construction site where he worked. Below, his tired eyes could see shops cascading with fresh produce, colorful clothing, and sparkling crystal. Up wafted the smells of pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings from a nearby restaurant. Shoppers' footsteps clicked across the cobblestones.

He had come here from the East to work for higher pay. The money would make him wealthy back in his homeland. Perhaps he would use it to buy a place for himself when he went back – if he ever went back.

Days later, I returned to share this photo with him, but he had moved. New workers had already filled his place. As the new workers and I spoke in a mix of broken languages, I invited them to come and visit our mission.

All around us are people desperately searching for a better life.

Teaching in a foreign mission field immersed me in an ocean of lost souls in search of a better life. Ordinary daily encounters like meeting the workers, greeting my neighbors, or even asking for help at a store, often started a conversation. Quizzically I was asked, “Why did you come to the Czech Republic?” My reply always included an invitation to visit our church, Bible class, or conversation club.

Many times the Lord led those invited guests to visit our mission unaware that hearing God's word brought them closer to their goal of finding a better life.

What joy it brings when someone comes to faith in Jesus! I thank God for the opportunities he gives me and all his people to have conversations which lead to sharing his word. Through God's word, the Spirit gives the gift of a “better life” to searching souls. To them he gives it eternally.

Paul Kelm served in the Czech Republic for 12 years, 1994-2006, teaching at Skola Martina Luthera, a K-9 school, leading English Conversation club, and teaching English Bible classes. Previously, he spent 1987-1989 in Japan, teaching the children of two missionary families and teaching English Bible classes to Japanese adults.