The healing touch of my soul

I’m the youngest in my whole family. All my siblings were always better than me in everything. Or at least I thought so. I’d say that it’s really had an impact on my self-confidence, that was never too big. Life went on, and I gradually started finding God and what he’s like and who I am to him. He’s been gradually changing the way I perceive myself. But lately this unresolved thing in me has reopened, and I wanted to start dealing with it. God seemed far away, and I was in unbelievable mishmash and uncertainty. My life was a total mess! I didn’t know who I am? Why am I here and what am I doing here? I felt absolutely invisible and overlooked. And right here starts the story I want to tell you. 

I went to Travná. I was kind of scared that I would feel pushed aside because  I didn’t know many people there, and again that feeling of uncertainty, invisibility and of being overlooked spoke up in my mind. I did probably the only reasonable thing that I could at that moment – I prayed. I asked God to show me how special I am to him, that I am important and not invisible.

As I said before, I didn’t know many people and my “introverted self” didn’t even want to meet new people, let alone talk to them. But what happened? I really had no idea my prayer would have consequences! And certainly not that it would happen that soon. I was in the kitchen cooking (as cooks usually do at camps). Sometimes someone would come and chat with me and then would leave, then someone else would come and it continued like that the whole time. Even people came who I didn’t expect it from at all from, and they often helped me with preparing the food even when they weren’t on kitchen duty. It really surprised me because I don’t know these people much, of course, and they were suddenly hanging out with me?  I mean… really? 

And I was grateful for it! Very grateful! Even my “introverted self” was okay – another shock. What I realized on the second day was that this was all an answer to my prayer. I felt accepted, welcomed and seen! God, through unfamiliar people, showed me that I’m important to him when I sit on my couch watching fairy tales or when I cook at a camp for a whole bunch of people. 

So thank you! Thanks to those who probably don’t even know how God used you for the healing touch of my soul. This soul that was hurt, exhausted and disappointed. I’m grateful to God that he didn’t stay silent and that I could experience all of this. Travná is another place where God acts – sometimes inconspicuously and in seclusion, sometimes very evidently. I’m grateful for that and I’m excited to see more answers to prayers, mine or yours…

– your Eťa


How I experienced Easter Travná 3

On Saturday we went for a day-trip to the Jeseník mountains. The views there were amazing! I also found myself in a two-hour-long discussion which was kind of exhausting. Tom was the main critic, so sometimes it felt life-threatening to be part of these discussions. 😀 The topics were such evolution, politics, democracy, current presidents, science, homosexuality, ecology, the Czech educational system… so in the end, I furtively left the conversation to give myself a break.

I spent a lot of time with my friends Julča and Ondra. Our small group was helping in the kitchen that day. So after the trip, we joyfully washed the dished, baptized each other with splashes of water, and hit each other with the dish towel for fun. Jared splashed all of us and we wanted to get him back, so he hid behind me. Jared, this is not over! If you are reading this, the revenge will be had sooner or later!!!

In the evening, there was time for personal reflection on Isaiah 43. After reflection, you could write a letter to Jesus. Whatever was on your heart, you didn’t have to share it with anyone. Later after Travná, Jared reminded us to finish the letter or to write another one. I have mine still today. After the program, we practiced music for the Sunday service. There were so many musicians and I was so excited for us to play together! We played until Honza and Šimon forced us to stop, because some of the participants were already sleeping.

On Sunday, we went to the church in Javorník . I loved the songs we played! After the service, we took a picture together. Then we walked back to Travná, sat at the stairs outside, and talked. Hanka K. took pictures of people with an older camera. After a while, she stopped, thought for a while, and then said: “Wow, people are really beautiful.” I loved this moment!

In the afternoon I went to the forest with Julča. Suddenly I tripped over stones and fell down the slope. I thought that God probably loves me very much because I wasn’t injured at all! The next day we traveled back to Olomouc. The trains were full so that there was no place for us to sit down. After arriving in Olomouc, I had time to think about Travná. I sat down with my hug bad and my guitar and called my mum. I had to share my experiences and joy with someone. I had so much of it that it was overflowing from me! Travná is another world that I will be always looking forward to. 🙂

If you’ve read till the end, good job! Travná enriched me in many ways and I would like to encourage you to visit. You can even decide completely spontaneously, as I did. And if you would like to know more, let me know. I would be happy to share with you all the details of my experience with Travná!

– Any


How I experienced Easter Travná 2

On Friday morning we carried a large wooden cross up a hill about one kilometer from Travná. We went to the forest where the Stations of the Cross are made out of stone. This was supposed to be the scene of carrying a cross up to Golgotha. Each of us played a role: some were supporting Jesus, but the majority were shouting “Crucify!”. We all realized how difficult it is sometimes to go against the crowd and we experienced helplessness, probably just as Jesus’ friends also did. Then we had to spend one hour alone, in personal reflection. Everyone took it seriously, no one boycotted, which was interesting. I spent this time in gratitude. Everything was silent; the warmth of spring surrounded me and I was grateful. This was a special moment for me. God used this for speaking to me.

In the afternoon we walked to the church in Javorník. I talked with IT guys about the future of technology. My friend Julča read the Passion Story in the church, so she kept preparing it the whole day. In the evening, the team read the part from “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” where Aslan dies and is risen again. It was powerful. Some people went outside to sing by the camp fire and others were baking dough on the wooden bar. Here is where my friendship with Ondra started. And I felt good, really good.

After darkness surrounded us, each of us took a stone and everyone went to the Station of the Cross again. The stone represented our sins and the worries that we carry as a burden with us. At the end of the path, we laid the stones down under the wooden cross that we brought up earlier that day. This was a symbol of surrendering to Jesus who took all our sins and died for them. This was the best Station of the Cross that I’ve ever experienced in my life. People were not afraid to stand in silence and really live through these moments. Then someone started to sing a Taize song and everyone joined in.

I enjoyed another Travná tradition – signing the song “The day is over, we are going to sleep” at the end of each day. I like this song very much and it fills me with joy every time we sing it.


How I Experienced Easter Travná 1.

he said ‘it will definitely be the best Easter that I will ever experience’ – which turned out to be true.

Hello, my name is Any, and I have to warn you that this narration is going to be long and detailed. I learned about the existence of Travná only a week before Easter Travná started. My friends Julia and Matt told me about it. Their parents used to go to Travná events regularly when they were teenagers and in their twenties. Matt invited me to go with them because he said “it will definitely be the best Easter that I will ever experience” – which turned out to be true.

The thing I like about Travná events is that they run for several days, which gives us the opportunity to get to know other people better (especially if you are an introvert). Looking back, when I was leaving Easter Travná on Sunday afternoon, it really hurt to say goodbye to some of the people who became my friends.

Now, back to the beginning. On Thursday afternoon we traveled to Travná by car. It wasn’t easy to drive on the narrow paths but we survived. 🙂 Matt showed me around and we went for a walk to the forest. Julia is really good at meeting new people, so thanks to her I got to know a lot of people.

In the evening, we were divided into community groups. There were around seven people in each group and we discussed things together, prayed, shared, and helped in the kitchen. The best thing about the community group is that you can talk honestly and openly in front of others. That evening I also met Jared, the director of Travná. I like it when he speaks Czech, it’s funny sometimes. But mainly I like him because he is a wise, peaceful person with a good sense of humor. Jared prepared good questions for personal reflection. I liked his challenge – “Do not be afraid of silence.” We stayed up really late the first night and played and sang a lot of songs with several people in the cellar. I thought I would have problems with talking to new people, but Travná was full of surprises.


Johanka’s Internship

I’ve been coming to Travná for a long time and it has become very close to my heart. At first, I came to Travná as a participant. Then I became a member of Regeneration team (the team that runs the events). Since that time, I cannot even image going to Travná events and not helping with the organization and preparations. What I like about Travná is that so many different people meet there. I’m excited to go every time! Another thing that I like about being involved with Travná are the Regeneration weekends. We not only plan the events but also build friendships with the team members and enjoy fellowship. When I got the offer to be more involved with Travná events, I didn’t hesitate. I knew that I would have more free time that year and that I simply wanted to do it. I didn’t have the feeling of not knowing what to expect because when I moved to Olomouc, I started to spend more time with Ráchel and to help her lead the girl’s Bible study group and other things around Travná. I officially started the internship in September and finished in February.

I’m so glad that the whole internship was adjusted to my preferences, e.g. my schedule or personality. So, what did I actually do? Every Tuesday I met with Ráchel to plan and lead the girl’s group. We took turns in preparing the programs. We also met regularly to plan the Fall Travná camp, because we were the main leaders. Later on, I was also the main leader of New Year’s Travná, together with Jared. Every Thursday we met as a team (Jared, Danka, Ráchel, Zack and Mel) to pray and share about our lives. Another big task was to prepare two training sessions for small group leaders which took place during the two Regeneration weekends. We focused on topics such as giving feedback or how to lead a time of reflection in a group. The preparation for these training sessions stretched me, and I learned a lot! I also realized all that is involved in organizing an event at Travná.

I definitely do not regret my decision to commit to the internship. I had the opportunity to get to know Jared and Ráchel more and to learn new things about myself. I was surprised at how much time we spent together planning events. We didn’t just divide the tasks and work on them alone, but instead we all brainstormed, planned and discussed together. This process has been very meaningful to me. Travná is about encounters, after all. So, I could sum up the whole internships like this: it was a bunch of encounters and meetings. I’m so grateful for this opportunity!


The Wells at Travná

Travná started in the summer of 1968 during the communist regime. (Travná is the name of the camp as well as the name of the village where it’s located) The founder, Adolf Petr, was a pastor from the Evangelical Brethren Church, organized a semi-legal youth camp in the mountains near the Czech/Polish border. The camp has met annually since then despite attempts by the communists to shut it down. Christians from all over the Czech Republic and different denominations come there for teaching, fellowship, and training. Many non-believers have met God in a powerful way, some hearing the Good News for the first time!

Travna was a safe place for much needed fellowship and encouragement… the “spiritual wells” were dug deep at Travná.

Some of the friends we met at Travná shared how their parents and grandparents were persecuted by the communist regime for being Christian, being beaten, never getting promoted, or even loosing their jobs. Travna was a safe place for much needed fellowship and encouragement! We’ve heard that the “spiritual wells” were dug deep at Travná.

When Zack and I were part of “Team Travná,” (a short term global outreach project) we helped with work projects around the camp. We also had the opportunity to meet Adolf Petr’s widow. She told us stories of how they used to bath in the small creek and set up tents before they had the building and showers with warm, running water! (At least it was warm if you were the first one to get in) Currently, there are 5 youth camps help at Travná each year. We are excited to be a part of this impactful ministry!