November 4, 2016

What's in a name?

Written by  Stacy Nofziger
Stacy, Katka, and Katka’s daughter Julie discuss school. Stacy, Katka, and Katka’s daughter Julie discuss school. Photo by Kim Nofziger.

This article appears in the November/December 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.

This April, something pretty incredible happened: I was invited to join one of my students and her family at a name day party.

A special day

In case you don’t know about name days, let me tell you: they are a big deal! In the Czech Republic, name day celebrations are more important than birthday parties. Each day of the year has both a male and a female name attached to it. The names originally corresponded to the Roman Catholic calendar of saints. Most Czechs are given traditional names so that they can be celebrated on the day of their name.

My student Katka and I were supposed to have an English lesson on a Tuesday evening, but the weather was so beautiful that Katka's family decided to celebrate the name days of her mom and sister by roasting sausages over a campfire (a typical celebration). And Katka invited me to join this family-only event!

I've been meeting with Katka for over two years, and this is the first time I've been invited to such a personal occasion. Neither she nor her family are believers, but we have had conversations about faith and Jesus. With this invitation, I felt like our student-teacher relationship deepened. Please rejoice with me! And pray for more opportunities like this.

Stacy Nofziger serves as EMM's East/Central Europe regional representative and alongside the church in Prague, Czech Republic. If you are interested in supporting Stacy, please contract Barry Freed at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article appears in the November/December 2016 issue of Missionary Messenger; sign up to read more articles like this one.