Tonight was the first time Titus and Bethany have gone on a “date.” Titus has had this idea in his head for about a week now and he has been talking about it a lot. Bethany and I decided they would go tonight and they had to drive a little bit, but they went to an American classic: McDonald’s.
As they were trying to get out the door Avery was crying a lot. I think she was a little confused as to why mommy and Titus would leave and she not be allowed to go. We reassured her it was OK and I tried to distract with the grilled cheese I made her for dinner. From the sound of things, I think Titus had a fun time. Bethany said they met a few Czech kids at the play place and she successfully asked them their names in Czech. Strangely their names were Max and Samuel. I say strangely because those are just not normal Czech names, or they are not Czech names we have heard before. Apparently Titus did really well and Bethany said she was surprised he that he finished his entire Happy Meal. I’m really glad they got some time together. It’s something we have wanted to do for some time now, and you really just have to plan to make the time. Here’s a few more photos Bethany got.
Avery and I enjoyed just playing at home and here’s a photo of me putting her “way up high” and her laughing.
We continue to push forward every day with Czech language speaking drills (aka: “LAPS”). Today it actually felt like we were running laps because the difficulty level increased immensely. Today we were working on location type words like besides, beneath, above, and in. It’s pretty incredible how much sentences in Czech will change depending on whether, for instance, a pen is “in the book” or you are “putting the pen in the book.” They are basically completely different sentences. To practice we were putting papers on our heads and books under the table and all kinds of things. At one point Titus came and sat on my lap. We were doing the drills and he just decided to grab a piece of paper and copy us. It was pretty funny and I got a photo of it.
That’s all for today!
Everyone was up early this morning to get read for church, including these two rascals you see in the photo above. I was enjoying a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee before church and we were having fun hanging out in the kitchen. “Dad, take a picture of us!” Done.
We had a good morning at church. It was the first time we have all been as a family in three weeks and the kids did pretty well in their classes. Bethany went with Avery to her class and I stayed with Titus in his. Titus’ class read from a book which was an illustrated version of the parable of the lost coin. Both teachers in his class could speak English so they would ask the kids questions in Czech and then turn to Titus in English and ask him. They also celebrated one of the kid’s birthdays and sang to him “Happy Birthday” in Czech. Then I heard the kids saying, “Anglicky!” or “English!” They sang “Happy Birthday” again in English which was fun for Titus…and me!
We were thinking over dinner last night of what we might be able to do this afternoon and one thing we’ve wanted to do is check out a few stores we’ve heard about it Poland. One is a grocery store and Bethany also wanted to go back to “TK Maxx” (or TJ Maxx in the States) which she had visited back in August. The grocery store was amazing. It was kind of like a Super Wal-Mart, at least that’s the best way I can explain it. They had a wide variety of items and they are only store that we know of that carries flavored coffee creamers (a favorite of Bethany’s). Not only that, check out this meat selection (photo below)!
Bethany and I were pretty focused on trying to scan and see all that the store had, but apparently Titus had a little time on his hands because at one point we looked down and he was applying tiny stickers to his face. Here’s a photo I got of him.
After the grocery store we headed over to TK Maxx which wasn’t far away. That place turned out to be our golden ticket and we found a ton of things. Some of the best finds were two little books we got for the kids because most of the kids book they had were in English! This might not be a big deal to some people, but for us it was shocking. Another huge win was that they actually had shoes in my size which I haven’t been able to find since we moved here. I didn’t end up buying any today, but we plan on going to back at some point and spend more time.
We actually had a really fun day together even though we were most just walking around and exploring. There is so much to see here and we’re enjoying the search for new things.
Titus is off school this coming week because it’s “Spring break.” He’s excited he doesn’t have to go to school, except I’m concerned he thinks he never ever has to go back. One week feels like forever when you’re a kid, I guess!
Often on Saturdays we find ourselves trying to catch up on house work and errands. Today we spent the morning and early afternoon focused on cleaning up the house. Bethany worked with the kids on getting toys put away while I helped get the kitchen cleaned up. We have what I’ll call a half-size dishwasher which means we just can’t do large loads. One large pot or pan in that thing and it feels full. This means if we even delay one load we’re backed up. I’m happy to report we’re back on track and things are nice and tidy.
After the housework we decided to go out and just spend some time in our town. The weather was in the high forties and we had clear skies, so it was a nice day for a walk. We headed to the town square where the kids like to run around the water fountain. They were sad that it’s not running right now, presumably because of winter, but we had fun chasing each other in circles around it. Below is a photo of Avery on the big concrete pillar things that line the square and beneath that is a shot of Bethany with Avery in our big stroller in front of the town hall.
While we were out Bethany remembered our friends telling us about a little cafe that we had never been to. A lot of stores and shops are closed by noon on Saturday in our town, but we decided since we were just walking and having fund we would go see if they were open. Amazingly, they were, and we went inside. It was a fun little place and they even had a little play area for kids inside. Below is a photo of Titus beginning work on a puzzle he found among the books and toys.
We had fun trying to figure out how to order hot chocolate for the kids and coffee, for us but the woman running the cafe was very gracious with us. They didn’t really have hot chocolate in the traditional sense, but they had this kind of hot chocolate pudding stuff. I can’t really describe it, but it’s thick enough to eat with a spoon. It wasn’t expensive, and you could order lots of different flavors. We ordered chocolate/banana and chocolate/strawberry for the kids. Titus and Avery weren’t really into, but Bethany and I loved it! I’m so glad we got to enjoy that little shop and hopefully we can go back some time.
The kids enjoyed a little video chat time tonight with Nana and Papa (Bethany’s parents). Papa was kind enough to read them a book over the computer and the photo above is them just enthralled with the story and Papa’s storytelling abilities.
Immediately after we finished with Papa and Nana we headed to youth group at our church. It was a special night where they were inviting friends and doing an extended music time. There were a lot of students there and we were a little late so there weren’t really and places for us to sit. It probably wasn’t the best night to bring the entire family, but the kids had fun listening to the music and they were a little sad when we left early. It was fun to be there and I like that the students are getting more familiar with us being around.
All that to say…it was a great Saturday!
We spent a more extended time in our Czech language study today and it was a mix of grammar and speaking. This morning we had our normal language grammar lesson with Tamara and we were working on verbs. There are so many forms that verbs in Czech take, it’s amazing. After some serious drilling and writing, I was feeling much better about it. Tamara has been a huge blessing and I’m very thankful for our time with her.
Above is a photo I took of Bethany during our second round of study today. We were doing our normal speaking drills with Jenny and Landen Llamas and we were building simple sentences like “I picked up the book” or “I put the book on my head” and I just had to get a photo of Bethany because it made us all laugh. You’re not really thinking about what you’re physically doing, but mentally just trying to put sentences together and I realized I should probably get a photo of it.
As Jenny and Landen were leaving they found a package on our doorstep from America. Even though it took a little while to get here, we received our Valentine’s Day cards from Bethany’s parents which they have been sending to us for years now. There was an envelope for each of us and they threw in some of our mail that was delivered to them in the States. Bethany’s dad also included a handwritten note inside which was really nice. We don’t get much mail, so when anything comes it’s kind of special. Thank you, family, for thinking of us even on Valentine’s Day!
Tonight we took a short trip to the grocery store as a family just for something to do. We only picked up a few things, but as we were walking around and just browsing I turned around to find Titus with this mask on (shown above). He kept saying, “Dad! Take a picture of me!” I didn’t realize until tonight that it was a mask of Optimus Prime from Transformers. Titus has no clue what that is, but I just love that he’s enjoying being a boy. While driving to the store he told Bethany he wanted to go on a date with her tomorrow. They have been talking about it for a while now, but I think it’s going to happen tomorrow. I just hope Titus has more ideas on what to do on a date in Czech because I’m just plain out of them!
We had some plans to make a little trip to Prague tomorrow to see our friends, but we’re delaying them until maybe next week. The youth group at our church is having a big party tomorrow and we would really like to be part of it. But we also want to get out and explore Czech. We’ve never really had much opportunity to spend time in Prague so we’re hoping to do that soon. It’s so crazy that we live in Europe.
I would repeat tonight in a heartbeat. I had the privilege of speaking on social media in the ministry context and I seriously had so much fun. I’ve been sharing the last few days how I’ve been in and out of Josiah Venture’s “National Orientation” where 19 men and women from 8 countries are officially joining the JV family. They will finish up tomorrow and I was able to be part of their last night together.
As I spoke tonight on what God did with our family this past year, and how He used Facebook and Instagram to connect us to many individuals who are now on our support team, I was overcome with emotion. Even as I prepared my presentation earlier today, I began to cry and think about how many people are sacrificing and generously supporting the work we’re doing in Czech Republic. I’m truly and deeply thankful for each and every one of them. What’s absolutely incredible to me is that in a round about way, our supporters are supporting these nationals who heard me speak tonight. Hopefully I was able to impart to these nationals some help and encouragement and that is definitely in thanks to our supporters who allow me and my family to be here!
Above is a photo I took while I was speaking and I told them all it would be on the blog tonight. You can pray for all of them as they now turn their efforts towards raising support. This is a significant challenge for some of them. Many of their church cultures and countries are not accustomed to supporting missionaries and could very well be confused by their efforts. My hope and prayer is that these men and women will be part of a movement in their countries that sees the church rise and up send out workers in to the harvest! Being with them tonight reminded me that the work is not always easy, and I need to continue to pray that God would shower His grace on them.
Below is a video I posted to Instagram back in June when we finally reached 100% of our support. I showed this video tonight and that’s when I was overcome with emotion. Praise God for His faithfulness and for the many people (maybe even you!) who support our work here. We are truly thankful.