The Last Day of April

The Last Day of April (4/30/15)

“Daddy, I have to show you something,” Avery said as she grabbed my hand and pulled me in to the living room. “I made a playground.” Above is a photo of what she made and this was her version of a “playground.” Her little mind continues to create and explore and I think it’s an incredible and wonderful process.

Back at the JV offices today we were hard at work trying to put the finishing touches on a bunch of different projects as we get ready for the spring conference next week. Everything from name tags, conference booklets, conference materials, etc. we were trying to get out to the printer to have by early next week. Tomorrow is some kind of Czech holiday so we lost a day, but we’re hoping it’ll all be done in time for the conference to start on Wednesday. It’ll probably be a busy week for me as I’ll be helping with photography, leading a communications session, and even playing drums/guitar for a few worship sets. It should be a great week and I’m really excited to see some of our friends from around Central and Eastern Europe.

The Last Day of April (4/30/15)

I took the above photo tonight of me with Titus and Avery because they were in an especially good mood as we sat on the couch. It’s been so nice to be healthy for the past month or so and I think it’s the healthiest we’ve been since we arrived in Czech. I honestly thought when the weather turned a little cooler this week that we might get sick, but so far we’re doing well.

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is the first of May. The past ten months have absolutely flown by and Bethany and I were talking about it last night as she’s now 35 weeks along with baby #3. We’ve have about a month left before we get to meet our second daughter and I’m getting excited! God’s timing is perfect and we’re looking forward to another little one in our home. They are all a blessing from Him!


Early Trains and Backyard Baseball

Sleep was a bit minimal last night as the kids were up a few times and I had that weird feeling you get when you’re supposed to wake up early and feel like you might sleep through your alarm. I needed to get up at 5:30am to help Steve and Judy catch their 6:00 train. But during the night I found myself rolling over and checking the time until I finally just got up before the alarm went off. It was cold and wet this morning as I walked over to where they were staying and helped them get their bags on the train and get them settled. I asked the train attendant if I could get on the train and she said it was fine, but the train almost left with me still on it! I ended up running to a closed to, forcing it open and then jumped off. A guy yelled at me in Czech and the train quickly pulled away. Yeah, I’m a rebel.

I’ve been away from the JV office for a few days with Steve and Judy in town, but I was back today and things were busy as expected with spring conference happening next week. There’s been a lot of printer deadlines to try and meet that our team has been working hard on. I’m excited about the stuff we’ve created and how it’s all turning out. Now we’re just hoping it’ll all be printed in time for everyone to enjoy!

Backyard Baseball (4/29/15)

It stayed colder today, but that didn’t keep me and the kids from doing a little backyard baseball tonight while mommy was making dinner. Lately Avery has assumed the role of “Umpire Avery” which I think is a mix of a catcher, umpire, and infielder. I say that because she’ll sit behind the plate like she’s holding a glove (catcher), then when Titus hits the ball she chases him around with another ball (infielder), and when he reaches home plate she always calls him “safe!” (umpire). Yeah, she’s really a utility player which comes in handy when there’s only three of you on the field.

With minimum sleep last night I’m ready for bed, so I’ll keep this post short tonight. Happy Wednesday!


Steve and Judy

For the past five days we have had the joy and privilege of having our friends Steve and Judy with us here in Czech Republic. As has been true of our sending church for many years, they sent us Steve and Judy this week to be an encouragement and to just spend some face to face time with us. We have know Steve and Judy for a long time, but we’ve never had the kind of time with them that we had this week. It was special, fun, encouraging, and they leave us with our hearts full of thankfulness.

Since today was our last day with them, I really wanted to make sure they get to see where I work and meet more of the Josiah Venture (JV) team. This morning we went in to Frydlant where the JV office is and did just that. In typical Steve and Judy fashion, they were meeting people, asking lots of questions, and I think just trying to be an encouragement. Anyone who knows this wonderful couple knows that they just love to encourage others and I think that happened today. I snapped really candid moments of them talking our office today which you can see below. I love how Steve has his notepad and is taking notes (no doubt so he can pray for things) and Judy is talking with my teammate John. A little later they gathered everyone in the office just to pray for us and for the ministry here. In the best sense possible, I can honestly say that whenever I spend time with Steve and Judy I realize just how much my prayer time is lacking! They are truly an example of a couple who prays.

Steve and Judy (4/28/15)

Steve and Judy (4/28/15)

Speaking of prayer, that’s exactly what we spent time tonight doing with them after dinner. We put the kids to bed and talked for a while, but then we just prayed. Every Christian knows you can’t pray enough. We are in a constant state of reliance upon our God for everything in life and prayer is one way do just that. I’m reminded of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Steve and Judy are without a doubt an example of a couple who prays without ceasing, but I would add that rejoicing and thankfulness are also very characteristic of them.

Earlier this week Steve asked us, “What are you thankful for?” and I’m still thinking about it. I was able to list off a few things, but I even realized this morning I left out our new daughter that’s due in a month! How could I not think of our baby girl on a list of things to be thankful for?! Steve again reminded us tonight to be thankful. In fact, he challenged me with Proverbs 31:28 “Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.” He was reminding me to vocalize my thankfulness for Bethany and all that she does and to make sure I teach and train our kids to do the same. Such a helpful reminder from God’s Word and from a man of God who is an example of this.

Steve and Judy, we are so thankful for our time with you. Thank you for taking the time to be with us and for sharing your lives with us. Thank you for the parenting help, the reminders to pray and pray often, and most importantly pointing us to Christ through His Word and your example. We are blessed to know you and call you our friends.


Date Night in Poland

Date Night in Poland (4/27/15)

Bethany and I had the chance tonight to spend a little time out on the town (square) in Poland. Thanks to Steve and Judy for watching our kids, we got to go to dinner and just enjoy a little people watching in the border town of Cieszyn. We found a little restaurant that we really like and this was our second time there. We sat in a window seat and just had fun people watching. There’s a film festival going on there right now so it was an interesting crowd walking by. It was really relaxing actually, just to sit and enjoy being together and talking. As much as I love our kids, it’s not always fun to take them out to eat (which we don’t do often anyway). Most of the customers at the restaurant sat outside, but we were inside and it was quiet and peaceful. Those moments are few and far between, but when they do come they are special. We took our time eating and even got dessert which was really nice. This was one of those nights where you remember you’re living in Europe…and it’s amazing.

After dinner we walked around town a bit and caught a few photos of the scenery as the sun was setting. The golden sunlight was making everything even more beautiful than it already was, and I don’t think my iPhone photos are going to do it justice, but here are two I got.

Date Night in Poland (4/27/15)

Date Night in Poland (4/27/15)

We’re getting sad that we’ll be saying goodbye to Steve and Judy tomorrow night. They’ll be taking an early train on Wednesday morning and we’ve had a really good time with them the past few days. Anyone that knows this dear couple knows that they are such an encouragement. Just by hanging out with them your prayer life will increase, you’ll be speaking Truth more, and even talking more about what you’re thankful for–at least that’s been our experience this past week. Those are the kind of people you want around!

Tomorrow we’re going to take them to the Josiah Venture offices and give them a tour and then maybe over to the JV hotel area where our conferences are held. Then I’m hoping to take them to a favorite lunch spot near there. We’ll see how the day goes and look forward to sharing that story with you tomorrow.


Sunday School Speaking

Something amazing happened today: I heard Titus speak Czech. Now, before we get really excited, I will say he was just saying Czech words, not phrases. However, this doesn’t really make it any less amazing in my mind because of what was going on in Titus’ brain. Here’s the story.

During Sunday School this morning I stayed with Titus in his classroom. The kids were doing some kind of activity where the teacher was asking them questions and she was going around in a circle and they were responding. When she got to Titus, I heard him say something and we couldn’t really understand it. I said to him, “what was that, buddy?” He said it again and I was still unclear. Then the teacher said, “Ohh…tři, čtyři, pět” which means “three, four, five” in Czech. Even though Titus couldn’t answer or didn’t understand what was being asked, he had made the switch in his brain to answer in whatever Czech he could–in this case it was numbers. It was literally the first time I had ever heard him attempt Czech numbers or words in response to someone speaking Czech to him. A little later the kids were playing a game where one person thought of an animal and the kids had to guess. I was impressed by Titus because he figured out what they were doing and tried guessing an animal. He said, “krokodýl” nice and loud which means “crocodile.” His guess wasn’t right, but I was amazed at the process in his mind. It’s a fun process to watch him grow and learn.

I didn’t get any photos today, but I did get a little timelapse video from Titus’ Sunday school class. Usually they have a little drawing activity and so I got some footage of all of the kids at their tables. You can watch it below.

Sunday School Timelapse from Shay on Vimeo.

As for the rest of the day we had a great lunch at home with some fresh croissants we got at the store. Steve and Judy spent a lot of time just hanging with us today which was a lot of fun. I just love the questions they ask and they have been a huge encouragement to us. We’ve talked of books, ministry, life, parenting, missions, and anything in between. It truly has been such a joy to be with our “family,” that is our extended church family from the States.

Tonight we decided to have a quick dinner with Steve and Judy at McDonald’s in Poland. We ended up going to Poland because there’s a new McDonald’s just inside the border, about 7 minutes from us. But when we got there it was actually not even open–that is, it’s so new it’s still under construction. So instead of going back in to Czech we drove a little further into Poland toward another set of Golden Arches. I’m so glad we did because our drive home was right around sunset and it was stunning. Rain had been falling this afternoon, but the sunset peeked through the clouds while we drove and we were in awe of God’s amazing creation. A photo wouldn’t have done it justice!

There are some plans tomorrow do a little shopping with Steve and Judy in the morning after we take Titus to school. Right now I’m planning on staying home for the morning to get a little work done, but hopefully we’ll find something fun to do in the afternoon. They are only here two more days so we’ve gotta pack our time in and see what else we can show them! There’s also a rumor that Bethany and I will be taking a date night which just sounds really fun. Until then…goodnight!