Today was much needed. Actually, I think the last two days have been what we have needed for a while. I don’t know if it’s because we have been so busy, but just some time as a family doing fun things and being together has been good for my soul.
The last few weeks have just been busy. We have had a lot of ministry things going on of late from different conferences to special services, and it’s just been hard to have some focused time as a family. Some of that just comes with the territory of ministry, but it’s always my desire to make sure we get time to be a family and enjoy each other.
I want to brief, but here’s a few photos from Friday when Avery decided to open a lemonade stand. She talked about it for a couple of weeks and did a great job of helping prepare everything. It was actually a lot of fun and she saw about 17 different customers (that’s by her count) and we had fun helping sell cookies and lemonade. Here’s a few photos.
And today (Saturday) we had the joy of joining some friends at their house to meet their new baby goats and spend some time playing by the King’s near right near their house. It was such a fun and relaxing time and I’m so thankful for it. Here’s a few photos of our time today.
But watch out for snakes! (photo below)
Thanks friends for being so nice to us and letting us hang today!
In the ongoing series of people coming to see us in Czech, our good friend Jonny Ardavanis spent the day with us and is spending the night tonight! Jonny came early today and we were able to get his clothes washed and ready or his departure on Monday. He has been working as an intern with Josiah Venture this summer here in Czech and his last camp ended this week so he had a little time to come for a visit. On Monday he’s headed off to Norway with a few awesome guys to take in the site and enjoy a little more of Europe. I love his passion, his love for Christ, and his humor. Jonny is a ton of fun to be around and we’ve known him since he was in junior high. To have him in our home today has been such a joy and a blessing to us.
This evening we had been invited to a team get together at he Brian and Aleisha Stephens house. Since our entire team is now in Czech, the Stephens thought it would be fun to get everyone together for a fun hangout and that’s exactly what it was. I took my camera along and grabbed a bunch of shots. Here’s a lot of what we did in photos and video.
Shortly after that last photo the thunder clouds rolled into town and the rain came fast. We all quickly put toys and things away and headed for the house. Everyone that can play an instrument brought them so we had a little impromptu worship and singing time together while the rain, lightning, and thunder came through. It was a fun night and definitely a great time having the team all together. Thanks to the Stephens family for having us over!
Slovakifornia is not a real place, but it’s the best way to describe where our wonderful visitors came from today. Kailey and Lindsey Richardson are two young ladies that we have known for a long time from our home church in California. They have been serving in an English camp ministry in Slovakia for the past month and today they took the train to come stay with us! Catching up with them today and hearing their stories was such a blessing. Actually, the Lord has done incredible things in their lives and they are documenting some pretty great stories on their own blog so definitely check it out.
It’s absolutely incredible to me that they are in our place in the Czech Republic right now. They rode on the train for more than 5 hours this morning and although they had a few different connections they made it here without much of a hassle. Bethany literally walked over to the train station to meet them and they all walked back to our apartment.
Tonight at the dinner table it was just a blessing to hear about their ministry in Slovakia and how God has been working in the towns they are serving in. These girls have a passion for Christ and the gospel and I’m sure they will see much fruit from their time there. They may be staying with us a few days and then eventually head over to Germany where their uncle serves as a missionary.
One of the neat things they are doing is reading their late mother’s diary who also did some traveling through Europe thirty years ago with one of her friends. I believe they are trying to visit some of the same places she did when she was young and read her thoughts along the way. They shared that often they laugh at some of the things their mom wrote. Karen (their mom) was a special women who loved Christ and we were blessed to know her. These girls definitely have a lot of their mom’s heart in them and talking with them tonight was such a joy to our own souls. What a joy to have see some familiar faces in a place that still feels so unfamiliar.
Tonight we’re hosting our first overnight visitor, Chris Wick!
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!
That’s all for tonight. We’re looking forward to our 5th Sunday at church tomorrow!
This is what I saw when I walked in to the Creative Communications office this morning. Water…and lots of it.
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):
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:
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!
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!
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!