Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Message of Hope in a Time of Need – Eastern Europe, 1937-1939

 
On the first of February, we learned about the message of faith and hope which spread through Latvia, Estonia, Eastern Poland, and Czechoslovakia from 1934 to 1936. If you missed that post and would like to read it, here’s the link:
A Pre-WWII Great Awakening in Eastern Europe.

Today we continue the story in Czechoslovakia in late 1937.


Map of Czechoslovakia and northern Austria, 1928-1938. Created by PANONIAN [public domain] via Wikimedia Commons.
 

Prior to WWII, Czechoslovakia consisted of four regions – Bohemia, Moravia, Slovakia, and Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia. Evangelist James Stewart held meetings in Bohemia and Moravia and was backed by the Czech Brethren.
 
 
Prague - Matthewsjs007 at Creative Commons
  
Following the great results seen in the cities of Kutna Hora and Kolin (shared in last month’s post), people from all walks of life filled large rented halls in the nearby capital city of Prague, Bohemia. Many surrendered their hearts to Christ during and after these meetings.


Prague at Sunset - Miroslov Petrasko at Creative Commons



Stewart was invited to hold meetings in a large rented hall in the city of Brno, Moravia. Members of a Brno church were greatly concerned for the state of their congregation. The church was dying as a result of differences of opinion, hard feelings among the members, and a generation gap. Stewart challenged the believers to trust God for revival, for the salvation of their own children, and for the salvation of hundreds more.

Before the meetings began . . .

Round the clock prayer meetings were organized – each volunteer prayed for an hour.

Believers made things right with each other.

And the results . . .

God worked and the church experienced: 

Love among the believers

A warm atmosphere

Life among the young people

Many souls won to Christ

A prodigal son in the church gave his heart to Christ, his behavior completely changed, he became the leader of the young people, and they willingly followed him.



Brno - Miroslov Petrasko at Creative Commons



From 1936-1939, Stewart held nine campaigns in large halls in Brno for two to three weeks at a time. He was only 26-years-old, preached simple messages, was of plain appearance and dress, but was joyful, earnest, enthusiastic, and spent hours in prayer each day.
 

 


In March of 1938, Hitler annexed Bohemia and Moravia and sent thousands of German soldiers and government workers to set up and maintain the new order. Despite the fact that every fifth person in and around Brno was German,


the young people who were reached through the revival campaigns . . .


Held gospel services in hospitals, nursing homes, and prisons

Held gospel meetings and Bible studies in the nearby villages where many accepted Christ
Forty years later, Ruth Stewart, widowed wife of James Stewart, traveled to Czechoslovakia and visited with some of these former young people, then in their 50’s and 60’s. They had survived the war and their faith was strong in spite of having lived under communism for many years. Over and over again the former young people told her, ”’God knew what was coming to us of sorrow and suffering and He brought revival into our midst to prepare us for standing strong in the faith in those difficult times.’”

And the story continues . . .

Come back next month to learn about the great blessings of the revival which spread to Hungary!
 
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Source: James Stewart Missionary, A Biography by Ruth Stewart (Revival Literature, 1977)

*****
 

Cindy Stewart, a high school teacher, church pianist, and inspirational historical fiction author, was the historical category winner for ACFW’s 2014 First Impressions writing contest, a 2014 Bronze medalist in My Book Therapy’s Frasier contest, and tied for second place in the 2015 South Carolina ACFW First Five Pages contest. Cindy is passionate about revealing God’s handiwork in history. She resides in North Georgia with her college sweetheart and husband of thirty-four years and near her married daughter, son-in-law, and three adorable grandchildren. She’s currently polishing her first novel, Abounding Hope, set in Eastern Europe at the start of WWII.




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