A Place of Rest and Renewal

Visit us in the heart of Europe. We'll tailor your stay to fit your needs — to make it comfortable, refreshing, and transforming. You'll have time to rest and reflect, reconnect with God, and share your experiences with someone who cares.
In beautiful Olomouc, Czech Republic
Take Time to Recenter
"But Jesus often went away to be by himself and pray."

Luke 5:16
Be Our Guest
We have a private apartment in our home dedicated to global workers. With access to our backyard and the beauty surrounding Olomouc, it's a Garden Refugea place to rest in God and sense his love and provision.

Easy Access. Olomouc is just a few hours by train, bus, or car from four major airports — Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, and Krakow.

The Apartment, part of our century-old house, is close to the edge of the city (not far from Mill Creek, Hejcin Meadows, and Lake Podebrady) yet is just a 20-minute walk to the historical center. It can sleep an individual, couple, or small family and includes a well-equipped kitchen and a bathroom with a shower and washing machine. Those with little ones are welcome to borrow a pack-and-play crib, baby bathtub, and toys.

In the pictures below, you'll see various ways to set up the bedroom for one, two, or more people.
How It Works
There and Back Again
1
Contact Us
Let us know of your interest and together we'll put together a plan for your visit — when, how long, and what to focus on.
2
Choose Your Adventure
There are a number of ways to approach your time at Garden Refuge. It can simply be a time of rest without a specific program. Or, we can prepare a plan to focus your time.

See below for various approaches and recommendations.
3
Prepare
Based on your desires, there may be some homework to do ahead of time (e.g. telling us about yourself, completing an assessment).
4
Come Be Refreshed
Rest and reflect, reconnect with God, and share your experiences with someone who cares.
5
Return with Renewed Focus
Having stepped away to make space to rest and commune with God, you'll likely return to your home with renewed focus and motivation.
Focus Your Getaway
We can tailor your visit using various tools.
Debriefing
This is our go-to tool. If you haven't experienced it, we highly recommend it.

Debriefing is a chance to share and process your story — a specific time period or event — with someone who’s been there, to glean insight from the good and the bad, and see where God was at work.

It's beneficial on a regular basis to digest and integrate experiences into your life story. Debriefing is especially helpful in times of transition and change.

For example, debriefing before furlough or home assignment helps in a number of ways. First, you can share your story in-depth while someone gives you their full attention. Having done that, it won't be as frustrating when people in your passport country aren't as interested in hearing the details as you hoped. It can also help you digest your last term and be able to confidently share the highlights with your supporters. Finally, you can return for your next term with new perspective and motivation.
Spiritual Formation Retreat
Spend a few days with God away from the distractions. We’ll prepare introductions to various spiritual practices, private exercises for you to try, and times to reflect on how it went.
Vacation with Purpose
Spend your vacation in Olomouc, Czech Republic. We'll gladly provide opportunities for worship, reflection, and prayer and prepare or suggest activities for you (and your children). Though a city of just over 100,000 people, there's a lot to do in and around Olomouc and it's very kid-friendly.
Transition Support
Change is hard. And whatever the change ahead, it’s important to “leave well” and “enter well.” We'll introduce you to a simple model for transition and walk with you throughout the process.
Fitness & Nutrition Training
It’s important to care for the holy temple that is your body. Exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep are vital for personal well-being. They affect your energy, mood, ability to focus, and effectiveness. Monika will help you consider your current situation, set attainable goals for the future, and guide you through various exercises.

In the future, Garden Refuge will include a small fitness room including a treadmill and weight machine.
CernySmith Stress Assessment
This test is especially helpful for those living in multicultural contexts or who are going through transition. It helps identify areas of stress and strategies for managing them. It can help motivate productivity, reduce attrition, and enhance direction. After taking the assessment, we’ll guide you through the results to help you get the most out of them.
Focus Your Getaway
We can tailor your visit using various tools.
Debriefing

This is our go-to tool. If you haven't experienced it, we highly recommend it.

Debriefing is a chance to share and process your story — a specific time period or event — with someone who’s been there, to glean insight from the good and the bad, and see where God was at work.

It's beneficial on a regular basis to digest and integrate experiences into your life story. Debriefing is especially helpful in times of transition and change.

For example, debriefing before furlough or home assignment helps in a number of ways. First, you can share your story in-depth while someone gives you their full attention. Having done that, it won't be as frustrating when people in your passport country aren't as interested in hearing the details as you hoped. It can also help you digest your last term and be able to confidently share the highlights with your supporters. Finally, you can return for your next term with new perspective and motivation.
Spiritual Formation Retreat

Spend a few days with God away from the distractions. We’ll prepare introductions to various spiritual practices, private exercises for you to try, and times to reflect on how it went.
Vacation with Purpose

Spend your vacation in Olomouc, Czech Republic. We'll gladly provide opportunities for worship, reflection, and prayer and prepare or suggest activities for you (and your children). Though a city of just over 100,000 people, there's a lot to do in and around Olomouc and it's very kid-friendly.
Transition Support

Change is hard. And whatever the change ahead, it’s important to “leave well” and “enter well.” We'll introduce you to a simple model for transition and walk with you throughout the process.
Fitness & Nutrition Training

It’s important to care for the holy temple that is your body. Exercise, a healthy diet, and adequate sleep are vital for personal well-being. They affect your energy, mood, ability to focus, and effectiveness. Monika will help you consider your current situation, set attainable goals for the future, and guide you through various exercises.

In the future, Garden Refuge will include a small fitness room including a treadmill and weight machine.
CernySmith Stress Assessment

This test is especially helpful for those living in multicultural contexts or who are going through transition. It helps identify areas of stress and strategies for managing them. It can help motivate productivity, reduce attrition, and enhance direction. After taking the assessment, we’ll guide you through the results to help you get the most out of them.
YOU:
But what about the pandemic?
US:
If the current situation makes traveling to us impossible, we'll gladly work with you to create an intentional time combining virtual meetings to discuss and pray together (utilizing the tools listed above) and offline tools to help you focus and process.

Whether you stay at home or find accommodations near where you live, putting work and responsibilities aside to recharge and refocus spiritually will be very beneficial.

Jesus did it. Why shouldn't you?
A Few Recommendations
How to get the most out of your stay
A Week is Best
If possible, we recommend coming for about a week. That will give you enough time to really disconnect, clear your head, and rest in God. And some of the tools we use work best when there's plenty of time to process on your own and with us, with downtime in between.

But, any time away focused on self-care for the sake of serving others is well worth it. We'll work with you to meet your needs.
Try Not to Do Too Much
When in a new place, it can be tempting to see and do all you can. Explore as much as you like, but try not to do too much and let sightseeing squeeze out the downtime you need to rest, reflect, and pray.
If You're a Parent...
It's worth considering whether to leave the kids at home or bring them with you. What would help you? What would help them? We're glad to discuss the options and to serve your whole family however you see fit.

Our kids will be happy to have new playmates for the week. And, if they're a bit older, we'd love to provide a listening ear to your children about their lives as third culture kids. We've done outreach programs for toddlers as well as students from junior high up to college, so we have experience creating fun and meaningful times for children of various ages.
Europe's Hidden Gem

Olomouc is a university town of just over 100,000 residents. Lonely Planet calls it a “hidden gem” of Europe and The New York Times recommends it for those who want the beauty of Prague without the crowds. There’s plenty to see and do. Or, you can simply rest and reflect in one of Olomouc’s beautiful city parks or natural settings outside of the city.

Our house is near the edge of the city with easy access to the historical center (20-minute walk, 5-minute bus ride) or to Mill Creek and Hejčín meadows (for walking, running, rollerblading) and not far beyond that, Lake Poděbrady.
Art, History, and Nature
Olomouc is filled with beautiful baroque architecture, museums of various kinds, parks circumventing the old city walls, underground tunnels, and forts circling the city.

There are a number of festivals throughout the year including Flora Olomouc, an international horticultural exhibition and market, themed nights (night of churches, night of museums, night of science), and of course the annual Christmas markets.

Not far from our house is Lake Poděbrady. There you can relax in the sun, get a snack at the outdoor restaurant, play on the playground, have a cookout, or rent kayaks, paddle boards, etc.

In the summer you can pick fresh fruits and vegetables — strawberries, red currant, plums, peas, and more.

In the Olomouc region, there are various natural sites to see as well as a few castles.
Kid-friendly
Your kids won't be bored in Olomouc. There are a few playgrounds near our house; a bowling alley; minigolf; ropes course (with areas for little ones as well); a shopping mall with a play center, jump center, movie theater, and food court with a play area; and laser tag.

On the other side of town is the Museum of Knowledge, and outside of town the zoo (with a climbing center for kids).

There are also a number of restaurants and cafés with play areas.

Near Olomouc is the coolest gas station ever with a playground, ice cream, pond, and animals (15-minute drive), the Golden Farm with farm animals to feed and a playground (20-minute drive), a Dinopark (40-minute drive), an outdoor ecological and nature center (Sluňákov, 10-minute drive), and more.
Modern Amenities and Fun
Olomouc has something for everyone.

  • multiple shopping malls
  • four movie theaters
  • two bowling alleys
  • minigolf
  • aquapark, swimming pool
  • zoo (with a climbing center for kids)
  • parks and botanical gardens
  • laser tag
  • multiple play centers (some with childcare for kids 3 and up)
  • two trampoline centers
  • ropes course (with areas for little ones as well)
  • corn maze
  • climbing walls
  • fitness and wellness centers
  • golf course (just outside of Olomouc)
  • professional soccer, hockey, and baseball teams
  • and more
Spiritual Center
Though the Czech Republic is very secular, Olomouc, the seat of the Catholic bishopric, is the spiritual center of Moravia.

Spend a moment of quiet prayer in one of the city's many cathedrals or chapels, or atop a church tower.

The Trinity Column on the upper square is an UNESCO-protected site. Sit nearby to take in the atmosphere and history and pray for the people walking by.

Just outside the city is Holy Hill, home to a basilica that serves as a pilgrimage site for Catholics. Behind it is the zoo and beyond that a forest, which is great for walks or, if you continue to the meadow on the other side, a picnic and frisbee.


OUR PHILOSOPHY
Holistic Care
In his life and ministry, we see Jesus caring for both body and soul. We believe his followers should do the same and think holistically. Therefore, we strive to address all aspects of a person's well-being — spiritual, emotional, relational, physical, and economic.

This is especially important for those who pour themselves out for others. They need care across the spectrum so that their work can be effective and sustainable and they and their families can be healthy and happy.
Contact Us
Get in touch to plan a visit or with any questions you have.
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