Not long ago, we started a journey of obedience. We felt, coming out of a time of prayer, that we were called to raise money to purchase a ministry center in the city of Valašské Meziříčí (ValMez), where we (Keifer, Caity, Max, and Alex) used to live. (Don’t know us yet? Click here to meet our team.) This, on its own, was huge for us, especially when we felt the Lord’s leading to a specific property which cost way more than we could dream of affording. When we first heard God speak, we were full of questions. Why would He have us buy a house in a city that we no longer live in? What was the purpose of this house? Who would live there? Slowly we’ve been getting answers as we watch Jesus unpack a vision way bigger than us. When we started Naděje z Popela, z.s. (Out of Ashes), all we knew was that God told us to pursue a house in ValMez. Since then, it’s been a crazy journey for all of us. It’s grown and stretched our faith, drive, and tolerance for lack of sleep. We aren’t sure where it will end up, but we’re learning as we go, and seeing the Lord expand the vision. We know who we are following, and we know that He is a good leader. That’s enough.
The area near the Bečva river where Alex, Max, Keifer & Caity used to live in Valašské Meziříči (ValMez for short).
In many ways, Naděje z Popela, z.s. brings together all of the things we and our team love doing. Since we’ve been here, we’ve trained Christian leaders, worked with teenagers in schools, at camps, and individually, nurtured simple churches, and reached out to those no one else wants to. We love working with outcasts, troublemakers, dreamers, artists, rebels, and non-conformists, and with Naděje z Popela, z.s. that’s exactly what we continue to do. Jesus called his people to go to the last, the least, and the lost. That’s our goal, to reach the neglected in the Czech Republic and beyond, and let them know that they’re loved, not just by us, but by Jesus as well. Our goal is that a place of hope may be established for those who are hurting, tired, and on the verge of despair, where they have an opportunity to meet Jesus Christ. We’re still doing a lot of the same work, but we’re learning to do it in new ways. We’re growing a team, raising support, and following the vision God has put in our hearts.
Once the house has been purchased, NzP plans to keep doing what they've been doing for the past 5+ years (even before Keifer and Caity were in the Czech Republic) -- creating quality Christian and educational content (English, business, arts, media, technology, and more) to serve communities in need and share the love of Jesus. Our team loves working with youth, and it's our joy to be able to provide professional teams to churches, schools, and other educational institutions so that they are able to get the training they need. The house will become our ground-zero location for community outreach, as well as a welcoming hub for those from other parts of Europe. For more information on Ignite Trainings and Events, click here.
The house will also be used to facilitate ministry of our "epic" group. More information on "epic" here. In September 2020, God led Keifer to share publicly his story as a gay Christian, and his journey with Jesus around that part of his life. Before he and Caity were married, they spoke in-depth about what it would mean for Keifer to reach out to other gay and same-sex attracted individuals in the future. "It's a part of your story," said Caity, "and I would only be upset if you didn't minister." Now he finds himself leading "epic" -- a group dedicated to raising up Christian leaders from within the LGBTQ+ community in Europe, while also working to equip local churches to better care for LGBTQ+ and same-sex attracted individuals inside and outside the church. The group focuses on authentically telling our story, to ourselves and to others, and making our narrative with Jesus the primary narrative of our lives. We've grown a lot in a short period of time, and God is continuing to open more doors to speak and write about this topic.
These are only the first steps in a vision to create something that will last for decades to come, to serve the Czech Republic, and beyond. We're continuing to follow in God's footsteps, one step at a time, and trying not to get ahead of Him and His movements forward. We're giddy excited to see what He's doing, in bits and pieces, as He reveals it to us, and we're excited to be able to continue to serve and follow where He leads. We have no idea whose stories we will intersect with, or how, but we're looking forward to finding out! Perhaps it will be yours?
Further Up, and Further In,
The Naděje z Popela Team