it's all grace

a journey with the Thomason family

Month: August 2014 (page 1 of 7)

The Sunday Dichotomy: When The Church Service Goes Long

When was the last time you were at church and the guy announcing an outreach ministry begins with a story about someone attempting suicide? That’s what happened this morning at our church in Czech. The man sharing was introducing a ministry called “Alpha” which, from what I could I gain through our translator, is designed to help people share their faith with those in their workplaces and neighborhoods. The story he was sharing was from his own work where a mom asked to leave work early because her son was trying to commit suicide. He continued that people at his work know he’s a Christian and are willing to share things with him. As well, he shared that in the case of the woman he asked her if he could pray for her son before she left and she said “OK.” This man encouraged the body to continue to tell others about Christ and the gospel, and invited them to “Alpha” where they can gain training and tools to aid in their own evangelism.

Watching the nationals in our church is so encouraging and spurs our own missionary family on towards gospel ministry in this place. Lord willing, more people will come to Christ because of that ministry, our church here, and the faithful witnesses of Christ.

Church today went almost three hours long. Our kids did exceptional, but we ended up going outside around the two hour, fifteen minute mark. There was a lot going on, including an entire group of students that recently came back from camp who shared about their experience and sang a few songs (video above of one part of one song). We also had a guest speaker, communion, and an extended prayer time. School will start here tomorrow (Sept. 1) and the pastors wanted to pray for all the kids in the church so they asked them to come forward and the pastors and elders prayed individually for students, teachers, and families. The place was very full today so the lines for prayer went all the way to the back and we watched as the pastors would place hands on the families and students and pray (photo below).

Neděle in Czech (8/31/14)

Bethany and I talked during lunch about how to respond to a longer service. We feel the burden of living in two worlds now: World #1 (the more American view): Being on time is right and good. It honors God to be on time–church services should end on time. World #2 (maybe a more Czech view?): Spending time with your church family is right and good. If the service goes long, it’s just extra time for prayer and fellowshipping with other believers which is a joy and encouragement–it’s OK if the service goes long. It’s a Sunday dichotomy. Both feel right and good, but you can’t have both at the same time.

I like what one friend told me in the States. On the possibility that the service might go long on a particular Sunday he told me, “Hey, you really don’t hear people complaining when the football game goes into over time.” I think he’s right. Often we (Americans) make exceptions in our minds for sports and entertainment, but not so much for church. I know I do this and am guilty of complaining when church doesn’t end when I think it should. Maybe I do need look at the other side and learn from my Czech brothers and sisters that spending a little more time at church might just be a joy and not a burden. It’s like what our Czech pastor said today about the service running long, “We love our children and our teachers. This is the wisest thing for us to do.” Amen, brother.

Neděle in Czech (8/31/14)

Above is a photo of Titus with his hands in his pockets just watching the service. We like that kid.

Neděle in Czech (8/31/14)

Towards the end of the service there were a lot of kids outside. The boys turned the grass area into a scene from Braveheart, each boy for himself with a stick for a sword. We had no clue where the other parents were.

Neděle in Czech (8/31/14)

Finally, our two little ones which seem to betting bigger every day. Thanks to Bethany they always look so nice when we go to church.

Laboring on Labor Day Weekend

For the United States it’s a nice long weekend. Everyone will celebrate Labor Day on Monday and most likely take the day off. Many are probably already at the lake, on the road, or heading out someplace for a little rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, we’re not in the United States so instead of taking a break we were hard at work today on our apartment trying to get things unpacked (yes, still…) and getting our storage room organized. We shared before we have very limited space so we’re trying to make decisions on what things will stay inside and what we can put in the garage. After filling about six or seven plastic tubs we called it quits. We definitely gained some space in each room and we keep chipping away at the boxes.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

Titus and I (Shay) went to Tesco (store) and did a little shopping this afternoon. Bethany stayed home to work on the house and and do laundry. If I’m going to the store I like to take my time and really just take in everything that’s available. Things change constantly and I am on the hunt for a few items, namely a good vacuum and an iron. Our iron from the States is too high of wattage for the power transformers we have and even though our vacuum works here it has to go through a transformer which really isn’t convenient and not the most efficient when it comes to energy consumption. As we were slowly making our way through the aisles I saw this board game (photo below) on learning English. It’s funny how learning English is associated with England. In my American mind I want stars and stripes on the front of this box.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

This evening we had a chance to Skype with Bethany’s sister, husband and their two year old son Jude. It was nice to connect with them for the first time since we’ve been here. There’s no doubt that technology like video chatting is just such a blessing to foreign missionaries. I realize not all missionaries are able to connect back to family the way we can, but we praise God for means to do so.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

More and more Bethany is having to make things from scratch in the kitchen. I think it’s great how she has jumped right into it. I’ve said before she’s braver than me and I can tell you she is doing it with a willing attitude and never complaining. We can’t just go to the store and get a familiar pasta sauce so tonight she made her own from scratch. The only down side is dinner takes a little longer some nights but I usually end of taking the kids outside if the weather allows. Tonight I took them in our backyard and put Avery’s new streamers on her tricycle (Nana and Papa sent them to us in the “box o’ fun”). She had a huge smile on her face as she made her way around the driveway and that’s always a joy for me to see.

Gettin' Work Done (8/30/14)

As we were laying the kids down tonight we heard some big “booms!” coming from outside. Bethany and I ran to the open kitchen window to find fireworks coming from down the street. We’re not sure if they were happing on the Poland/Czech border and we’re honestly not sure what the celebration was, but it was fun. Bethany said, “I’m gonna get the kids!” and ran back and we all watched the big sparkles in the sky for a few minutes together. Oh fireworks, you really don’t get old and I’m not too old for you. Here’s a little video I took accompanied by a song by Sleeping At Last that I enjoy.

The Zoo Part Two

Bethany and the kids hit the zoo today for the second time since we got here. Last time (aka: Zoo Part One) we went it was really fun, but also really hot. But today they had great weather and since we have annual passes it’s just really the cost to drive and park. The family dropped me off at the J.V. offices and half way there we realized we forgot the stroller. Thankfully our friends John and Erin let us borrow there’s for the day so that was a huge blessing.

In lieu of a normal blog with the full story, we’re just going to post the photos from today’s adventure to the zoo, part two (some descriptions are below the photos):

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two


Go baby elephant, go!

The Zoo Part Two

If you look closely at the above photo you’ll realize just how close our kids are to the lions.

The Zoo Part Two

And this (above) is a shot that Titus got of the lion as he was walking away.

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

I love that Bethany took photos the pretty things the zoo has.

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

The Zoo Part Two

Remember these? You put the coin in and watch going round and round. So fun.

The Zoo Part Two (8/29/13)

The Zoo Part Two (8/29/13)

The Zoo Part Two (8/29/13)

The Zoo Part Two (8/29/13)

Avery loves the flamingos! She kept telling me that she was going to show Titus how to stand like one.

The Zoo Part Two (8/29/13)

The kids zonked out on the drive home. Great day and I’m glad the family had so much fun!

Scratch That

Scratch that. Never mind. Just kidding. I guess Titus isn’t starting school on Monday.

This morning Bethany called me because she had just gotten of the phone with someone about Titus’ preschool. The school actually had to rescind their offer of a open spot for Titus because of a strange law in the Czech school system. Another boy who needs to go into primary school (aka first grade) had to take the spot that Titus was filling because he needs at least one year of preschool before he can move up. Or at least that’s how I understood it at this point. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of this story was…you know, lost in translation. Honestly though, I don’t know if I was ready quite yet for Titus to start school. I had come to terms with it and we really feel like him starting will be a huge ministry for us with other kids and families, but it all did feel really rushed so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens. There’s actually still a chance another spot could open up so we’ll just take it one day at a time.

Nevermind

You may be wondering why there’s a photo of a microphone above. That’s from today at the Josiah Venture offices where our team was working recording a voiceover for a video we’re working on. For me it’s really interesting how God uses all of the things I’ve learned in my life to do the work I’m doing here in Czech. There was a time in my life where I did live sound and have done a little recording and now I’m having to pull some of those skills back out of my mental junk drawer. We got a really good recording today and I look forward to finishing the video with my teammate Daniel. I believe it will bless many and be a testimony to what God is doing over here with Josiah Venture.

Nevermind (8/28/14)

Bethany and the kids had a little picnic today in the square since the weather was nicer today. They ended up seeing our friend Kristin and her son Beni too so they played for a bit. Bethany tells me that Avery was picking leaves for me. Here’s a few photos from their afternoon, including one of the church from a different angle than we usually post.

Nevermind (8/28/14)

Nevermind (8/28/14)

Tonight we had a bunch of friends over for dinner that live in our town. It’s nice to be encouraged by each other and of course let our kids play together. The boys and Avery had fun playing outside and then playing the Wii inside. Bethany made a delicious soup and we had a nice fruit crumble for dessert. God has blessed us greatly with friends and teammates near us to support and encourage each other. I do believe this is an answer to prayer from our faithful supporters and of course a testament to God’s amazing grace in our lives. Psalm 118:28-29 says it this way, “You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

Nevermind

First Doctor Visit and Saying Goodbye to Jitka

Everyone was up bright and early today (and by “bright”, I really mean “gray and rainy” because that was the reality for most of the day). Bethany, the kids, and our friend Kristin headed to our first ever pediatrician visit in Czech. The preschool requires a doctor check before they can admit Titus and since school starts on Monday we had to get him in as quickly as possible. For some reason the doctor only had openings between 7-9:45am so they all made it there by 8:30. In the photo below you get a glimpse into what the lobby area was like. Bethany shared with me that there’s not really a check-in area, but you just knock on the doctor’s office door (in the right side of the photo) and they will let you in if there’s no one else being seen. Apparently the lobby just works like a “first come, first serve” situation. The visit was short and sweet and the doctor just looked at Titus and gave her “OK” (through Kristin who translated). From the doctor they drove straight for the school where they dropped off all the final paperwork. That looks like the final step before school starts on Monday!

Doctors and Goodbyes (8/27/14)

On a sadder note, not only was today our first doctor’s visit, but it was our first goodbye. Our Czech teacher and friend, Jitka, is moving to the other side of Czech tomorrow. She has been a huge part of helping us get acclimated here, getting our visas secured, and of course teaching us her incredible Czech language. I’m pretty sure we saw Jitka every day for a weeks there as she was helping us with some many things after we landed. Today we had a Czech lesson with her and were able to say goodbye. Bethany actually spent the evening with Jitka, helping her pack and load. We are bummed to lose her but excited that she is stepping out in faith and entering another chapter of her life. She really feels like the Lord has been leading her to go back to where her family live. Our hope and prayer is that she will be a light for Christ there and that God would use her in incredible ways. Thank you, Jitka, for all your help and kindness to us!

Here’s a photo we took today with Jitka. Titus was holding the iPhone while I used my headphones to actually snap the photo because he just couldn’t hold the phone and snap the photo at the same time.

Doctors and Goodbyes (8/27/14)

Below is an outtake of the above and we’re laughing at how hilarious it was to have Titus taking the photo. Avery was also standing next to Titus saying “Peekaboo!” I think she got that from us because we sometimes try to make them laugh from behind the camera to get a better photo. Obviously it works!

Doctors and Goodbyes (8/27/14)

Below are few photos I got of Avery today. That little girl is gonna be a heartbreaker.

Doctors and Goodbyes (8/27/14)

Doctors and Goodbyes (8/27/14)

Older posts

© 2017 it's all grace

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑