it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Month: July 2014 (page 2 of 7)

Our First House Guest

Tonight we’re hosting our first overnight visitor, Chris Wick!

Chris Wick in Town (7/26/14)

Chris, Ashley, and their four kids live in the country of Slovenia and are also missionaries with JV. The fun part about our relationship with the Wick’s is that there was a short time that we served with them at Placerita Baptist Church (our sending church) in California. So when Chris emailed me and said he was coming to Czech for some meetings and asked if he could stay with us we of course said, “Yes!”

We have been chatting and hanging with Chris since he arrived and it’s been really fun to catch up. Chris was an enormous help to me personally during our supporting raising process and even just our initial thoughts about doing ministry overseas. He was always checking in on us over email and would often call me while we were in the States to offer advice and his thoughts on anything related to ministry over here. I can actually remember two key conversations with Chris that were so helpful in me thinking through how to quit my job and start support raising and all that goes with that. It’s just too bad we couldn’t see the whole Wick clan, but Chris is here in Czech this weekend for some sports ministry meetings with other JV staff. We’re super thankful for him and his family!

Outside of Chris coming over we mostly spent our day unpacking and cleaning house. I finally put the doors and door pulls on our IKEA wardrobes and Titus and I went to Poland for a few small things at the hardware store. Believe it or not, I actually got pulled over coming back in to Czech for not having my headlights on. Thankfully the police office understood that I’m new to the area, don’t speak Czech, and that I’m from America. He didn’t give me a ticket! And I’m doubly thankful that my wife reminded me to bring our passports even though we were just running to the store in Poland. Key: don’t leave the country without your passport even if the other country is basically across the street!

Chris Wick in Town (7/26/14)

That’s all for tonight. We’re looking forward to our 5th Sunday at church tomorrow!

Hanging With Zach and Kara

We had a pretty full morning today complete with Czech lessons and a trip over to the bank to sign what must have been at least a dozen documents. Our lessons went really well, but it’s a constant reminder that we need to study our notes daily and just keep up on our Czech vocabulary. It’s not any easy language and I feel like even though were just scratching the surface I’m starting to feel fatigue.

Tonight Zach and Kara invited us over for dinner at their house in Havířov which is about 20 minutes from our place. I’ve known Zach since the 4th grade and his family is near and dear to my heart. Zach and Kara have been here full-time in Czech for almost 2 years now, but Kara has been living in Czech much longer and Zach has served on many other short-term trips. We had a great time seeing their place for the first time and just catching up. They served us an “American dinner” (cheeseburgers!), complete with real American cheese. After being here for a month I can tell you that American cheese is not easy to find!

Zach and Kara (7/25/14)

After dinner we took a walk down to a nearby park (just like we did yesterday). It’s seems to be a normal and fun thing to do after dinner, especially since it’s usually a little cooler outside than inside. Unfortunately the mosquitos were out in droves and that cut our time a little short, but that didn’t stop the kids from checking out yet another amazing park.

Zach and Kara (7/25/14)

While we were outside we stopped in a town square type area near Zach and Kara’s place. They saw some young people that they knew so we met and talked with them for a bit. But in that square is a large metal arrow shaped thing above a fountain that swings. I just thought it was an art piece and a fountain, but Kara told us that there used to be a statue of Vladimir Lenin in that square and it was replaced with this crazy arrow thing.

Zach and Kara (7/25/14)

We stayed a little later than we should have because the kids needed to get to bed, but we were having a great time just hanging and laughing together. I think we left a little after 10pm, but Avery was still trying to keep the party going. Here she is with a kazoo and a shaker. I honestly have no idea what’s going on in this photo, but I think it’s awesome that my daughter loves music.

Zach and Kara (7/25/14)

Thanks Zegan family for having us over tonight! It was really fun seeing you and I’m sure we’ll be able to do it again soon.

Zach and Kara (7/25/14)

Another First: Dinner in a Czech Home

This is what I saw when I walked in to the Creative Communications office this morning. Water…and lots of it.

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

All over the desks, on the keyboard of one of the computers, and on the floor. How did this happen you ask? Our office is on the third floor and the ceiling slopes. There are no windows on the walls but they are ceiling windows that open. They were left open all night (not by me, but I’ll protect the guilty on this blog). It was raining pretty good this morning so when I got there you can imagine my shock. Thankfully and amazingly nothing was broken! But still… talk about an early morning heart attack. Yikes.

Earlier this week we got invited by Marcel and Silvie to have dinner at their house. They live in our town and had already invited Yorman family over (American missionaries) so they asked if we wanted to join them. Marcel and Silvie are part of our church here and Marcel has been helping me get our Internet upgraded at our apartment. They are a sweet couple and have two little ones, Dennis and Julia. Here’s a picture of all of us (minus me, of course):

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

We enjoyed a great time tonight just talking and enjoying the time at a Czech home. Believe it or not, this was the very first meal we have ever had in a Czech home. Silvie made a delicious dinner. I have no idea what’s it’s called but she hand made this piecrust-like bread filled with eggs, ham, cabbage, cheese…mmm, so good–I had 3 helpings! Here’s a few photos of the all the food and the amazing vine covered patio area:

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Before and after dinner the kids played in the beautiful back yard. There was a great swing set and lots of toys to play with. Behind their property were turkeys running around so I had to get a few shots of them too!

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Marcel thought everyone had eaten too much and suggested a walk to the nearby park with all the kids. We all agreed and off we went! For the kids it was more of a run than a walk, but I didn’t expect the incredible park we went to. One of the things we’ve loved about Czech is just how kid friendly things are and even how there are parks with lots of things to play on that you won’t find in safety conscious America. Merry go rounds, zip lines, teeter totters–this park had it all!

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Dinner With Czechs (7/24/14)

Here’s a video of the kids and me on the merry go round (I gave it an old-timey feel because it felt like a blast from the past):

It was a really fun night with Marcel and his family and the Yorman family. We’re so thankful for their hospitality to us tonight and for making us feel welcome here in Czech!

Ministry Beginning and Enjoying Family Time

Rounded (7/23/14)

Years of prayer went in to today. For over three years Josiah Venture has been praying and actively searching for a team of people who will help create materials and provide support in the area of communications for the entire JV family. Today, with the exception of one team member who will be back next week, that team was working away in the JV offices together for the first time (shown above). The Creative Communications team that I have the privilege of serving on is a group of highly talented people, all missionaries, who work to support all of the ministries of JV by providing high quality materials such as design work, video, photography, writing, and lots more. Let me give you an example of something we’re working on right now.

Rounded (7/23/14)

Rounded (7/23/14)

Above you’ll see me sitting in Dave Patty’s home office here in Czech (thanks to his wife and daughter for grabbing some photos for our blog!). Dave is the president of Josiah Venture, but he’s also a highly gifted leader and a wonderful person to spend time with. Dave and I met today to work through a few new projects. Right now Dave, along with one of the JV country leaders, is developing training material specifically designed to train young, Christian leaders. The project includes booklets for leadership trainers and trainees to use which include Biblical studies tools that help build mature disciples of Christ. Alongside the book is a Web site for the trainer as a support tool where Dave and other staff can provide additional information for leaders to be able to use so they can go out and train more leaders. All of these materials will be made available to the 13 different countries JV currently serves in. But who will create all of those books and materials? Who will build and maintain a Web site with multiple languages and updated content? The Creative Communications team or “cTeam.” And the best part is…we love doing it!

Dave said something today that just hit me. I don’t want to misquote him, but he said something to the effect of, “These materials will lead to more fruit.” He’s talking about spiritual fruit and he’s talking about more followers of Christ. Dave knows the power of God’s Word working through the Spirit of God in the hands of people, and these materials reflect much Biblical study and thought and focus. The cTeam gets to be part of helping create them alongside Dave and other leaders and we too can hope and pray for more fruit. That’s why we’re here…that’s why God called us to this place. And that’s where it gets fun, and that’s where it really gets exciting!

After my time with Dave, I head the pleasure of spending a few minutes with his wife Connie and daughter Claire. If you haven’t visited it, I would recommend checking out Connie’s blog that she regularly writes on. It was fun to chat and laugh with them a bit this afternoon. Lord willing our family will get a lot more time with them!

Rounded (7/23/14)

Rounded (7/23/14)

Back at home Bethany took the kids to the park that’s close to our place. It’s a really fun park and the kids have lots of things they can climb on (as you can see above). We just love the look of the buildings on our street…it’s still really surreal that we live here, and I think that’s why Bethany took that photo just to show the kinds of places we see every day. Apparently it started to rain a bit while they were playing at the park and everyone ran for shelter, but Bethany said Titus braved the rain to keep playing (shown below).

Rounded (7/23/14)

After I got home we enjoyed a little time playing basketball outside. Titus was so excited to get his basketball hoop setup and all the basketballs pumped up. I’ve been wanting to do that for him for a while now, but just found the time tonight.

Bethany made a wonderful dinner tonight. She told me tonight that she is really trying hard to write down all the meals she knows she can make here in Czech. I think it’s also getting a lot easier to manage all the new things at the grocery store! Bethany has been doing so awesome and I’m very thankful for her selfless attitude during this transition time.

Here’s a few more photos from our evening together:
Rounded (7/23/14)

Rounded (7/23/14)

Rounded (7/23/14)

Rounded (7/23/14)

And our feast this evening… Pioneer Woman’s meatloaf and creamy mashed potatoes. Yummy!
Rounded (7/23/14)

Bananas and Gummy Bears

On my way out the door this morning Bethany handed me two things: a banana and a package of gummy bears. Why? I’m pretty sure she was just anticipating my needs. I had to get a little bit of work done today at the JV office so she knows I’ll probably need something to snack on when I get hungry (banana) and then something sweet when I get tired (gummy bears). Only the best wives can anticipate those kinds of needs. She’s a great wife.

Frydlant (7/22/14)

There’s a little restaurant near the JV offices which offers very affordable lunch specials so I went there today with a Czech named Dushan. He’s a quieter guy, but really nice. He works doing IT for Josiah Venture and he speaks pretty good English so we had a good time together this afternoon. He told me he was “alone” this week because his wife and kids were away for a few days with family while he’s working, but that he was going to see them again soon. I was glad to join him so he could have a little company at least for one meal.

We did one of those American style trips to the grocery store tonight. By that I mean we tried shopping for multiple days worth of meals. It seems that culturally they shop daily or every other day, but I guess we’re just used to shopping for more at once and since we have a larger refrigerator we can basically make it work. The only problem is you have to bag your own groceries and people don’t like waiting for you, so Bethany and I begin the mad hustle of trying to bag everything and keep it going in the cart while the kids are playing with everything and talking louder than the other kids…it feels crazy. And maybe it is? Maybe we’re trying to fit a square peg in a round hole and we just need to adjust. Definitely something for us to think about.

Outside (7/22/14)

Outside (7/22/14)

Bethany and the kids enjoyed a little picnic outside today. The weather was very nice and comfortable. Not too hot, but not cold. We had the windows open tonight and a nice breeze was blowing through our place. I thought it was supposed to rain today, but I didn’t feel a drop. Rain or not, it was nice to have a little break from the recent heat.

That’s it for me tonight. Time for bed and we’ll do this again tomorrow!

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