Servy and Maria Pardo’s ministry straddles two continents and cultures. In 2016, their family of five moved to Prague, but with the unique focus of serving a Mongolian immigrant population living in the Czech Republic.
Scroll through their photo journal to see for yourself what it’s like to be a missionary in eastern Europe.
Meet the Pardo Family
Dobrý den! Сайн байна уу!
Hello, we are the Pardo family! After we served for 19 months in Mongolia as missionaries and for four and a half years in pastoral ministry, God called us to the Czech Republic to serve the Mongolian community here.
It might seem strange to move to Eastern Europe to serve an Asian people, but here in Czech, we are able to share the gospel more freely with the Mongolian immigrant population than we could in Mongolia. We are blessed to work with a Mongolian pastor-in-training, whose vision is not only to see Mongolians know Christ but also for every people group to know our Savior.
Life in Prague
Photos were all we ever knew of Prague before living here. The iconic astronomical clock, the theologian Jon Huss and the Moravian Missionaries were all a part of high school history class. We never thought we would see these sites through our own eyes and not just through the lens of another’s camera. This city truly is beautiful.
Our two dogs came along with us when we moved here. Not every mission field can accommodate dogs, but this one does. In Prague, you can see people’s dogs with them everywhere: in the shopping malls, on the metro, all along the streets or even sitting in a restaurant. Another TEAM missionary in Czech said that to start relationships here, “If you don’t have kids, get a dog.” For us, having them has helped us transition by keeping a part of home with us, and we have already found that they begin to break the ice with neighbors and people we meet.
Life changed a lot for us really quickly. We are so proud of our children’s adjustments to their new lives on mission. It is their personal sense of God’s calling on their lives that has helped them anticipate and adapt to the changes in moving overseas. We never rode public transportation in the U.S., but now it is a matter of life, going to and from everything, every day. The tram is also where we hear a lot of language spoken and are able to observe a lot of culture. Plus, an added bonus is the fun and adventure of it.
Located at the Prague Zoo is a sight we weren’t quite expecting, a traditional Mongolian dwelling called a ger and wild Mongolian horses. There is a local breeding project that is repopulating the Takhi, an endangered species of wild horses native to Mongolia. It was a pleasant surprise, and a cool view, to see the city of Prague to our left and the Mongolian ger and horses on our right. It gave us a unique moment to think about our own placement here — that God has called us to Czech to work with Mongolians.
“Abeceda/Tsagaan Tolgoi/Alphabet” When we hit the ground, we knew we would be facing a big task: language studies. While we had studied Mongolian before, Czech language is new to our whole family. Our first phase of life is becoming students of the language and culture of our host country. We are very excited and challenged to continue to use our minds and study the Czech language, both the kids and us adults! We are thankful for private tutors, one of whom who is a local Czech woman from a nearby church plant and another who grew up in Prague as a missionary kid.
Ministry in the Czech Republic
I imagine what this church would have been like when it had the most visitors. I wonder what worship could be heard outside of its windows or if people left strengthened to pursue what God called them to. When I tried to go to this building, it was closed to visitors, and it makes me wonder if inaccessibility to the church (meaning more than just its buildings) is part of the reason for the lack of worship in Czech. I dream that maybe this church and the many like it, could be a place of worship and equipping. May God’s church be more like a speaker box than a quiet room.
Céstá Blíž CB Skalka, a church that is closely tied with TEAM missionaries, hosts the CB Skalka Mongolian Church. It is beginning to feel like family to be among these believers who have a strong desire to grow in the Lord and to see others in their own community come to know God. There are around 5,000–7,000 Mongolians who reside in Czech Republic, and even more in Europe. The pastor-in-training, Munkhush, is eager to see many Mongolians receive Christ, be discipled and to then become vessels to share the gospel with others.
The statues lining Charles Bridge in the center of Prague depict a scene we know so well: the life and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. It is at the very heart of Prague, and yet, so many stop and look at the figures not even realizing the meaning of the cross. In Czech, over 80 percent of the population is agnostic or atheist, living unaware of the sacrifice of the God who loves them. Pray for the Czechs and all other people groups living here.
When our family lived in Mongolia, we were invited by a local man to visit with him and his family inside his Ger, a traditional Mongolian home. After coming through the door, we sensed his family’s hospitality when they served tea and shared a bit about themselves. We had fellowship.
This structure is mostly made of wood, canvas, and felt. The first time I entered a Ger, I was amazed at how warm it was inside, even in the dead of sub-zero wintertime. I am still impressed with the traditional house of the Mongols. The wooden floor planks are pieced together like a puzzle. Like feet, they keep contact with the ground beneath. The framing is made of wood poles; and like our bones, keeps the structure rigid and upright. The canvas cover is like the skin, keeping the cold wind off those inside. The simple stove inside burns with fire for warmth and cooking fuel; it is the heart of the activity inside. These buildings are simple in appearance but complex in tradition and have served to protect the Mongol people from harsh winters for centuries. They can be set up within a matter of hours and can be torn down and moved just as quickly, accommodating both the nomadic and the urban lifestyle. A Ger can be compared to a person — mobile, with structure, drawing air in and expelling it out, and covered with layers of protection.
Our prayer is that the Mongolian community in Czech Republic would know Christ as “the door” (John 10:6), enter into fellowship with him and be “built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”(1 Peter 2:5).
We snapped this photo while traveling home from language school. It was one of the stops along the way to transition from one of the 30 trams in the city to a metro line. Although transport around the city requires more time, and a lot more attention to signs and directions, it is an adventure to navigate the city, language and the new culture as we go. We have found that it is not too difficult for us to adapt to some of the cultural differences, but in other ways, we are still, and will always be, learners. Being on mission is committing to a life of learning, stopping to observe and being patient to absorb the life around you. We are expectant to see how God will use us as we do.
Want to learn more about ministry in the Czech Republic? Explore opportunities to serve alongside missionaries like the Pardos now.