B.

Back to Church and Another Goodbye

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

It was a joy to be back at church today as we were out two weeks ago when Karis was born and last week there was actually no church (well, it was in another town, but that’s hard for me to explain). Today it was just Titus and I as Bethany stayed home with Karis and Avery. For the first time Titus stayed in his class without my or Bethany’s supervision and according to our friend Kristin, he did a really good job! This was really encouraging and I was impressed when I dropped him off because he was totally willing to be there by himself and the teacher was so kind to him. Back in the main service there was a baby dedication which included a bunch of special songs from little kids which were great. I wasn’t tracking with everything that was going on, but it’s very similar to what you might find in the states. I think the pastor prayed a special blessing on the parents and there were about four or five babies being dedicated.

The sermon today was out of 1 Peter, but to be honest that’s about all I got. There was a lot of prayer during the service today which I think is really cool. Often on a Sunday morning there is open prayer time for the body to stand and just pray. Even though I can’t usually hear the prayers, I’m always encouraged by how the saints pray. After the service, the pastor stopped me at the door and in broken English congratulated me on the birth of Karis. He told me to send his regards to Bethany and that they were excited for us. It was really kind and I was glad he stopped me to say that.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

After church Titus and I did a little shopping for mommy and the girls and most Sundays we end up getting donuts at the store. Today we found donuts for everyone, including a tiny one for little baby Karis. We were really proud and when I got it home Avery was jumping up and down with excitement and couldn’t believe they made tiny donuts for babies.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

The kids love Karis right now. Titus especially has been doing a really good job of being gentle with her and talking sweet to her. Today I caught him lying on the ground next to hear talking “baby talk” with her and I got the above photo. It was only a small moment in time, but it one worth capturing.

Even though it was in the low 90s today, we still found time to go outside for a little bit. Here’s a few photos.

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

A Hot Sunday (6/14/15)

Late this afternoon we went out to a friend’s house to say goodbye to our friend Katka. Early tomorrow morning she is leaving Czech and moving to Latvia as a missionary. Katka has a pretty amazing story as she’s a Czech national who is now being sent out to another European country as a missionary to serve the people there. It was a sweet time this afternoon just hanging out and enjoying some barbecue with her and a bunch of her friends. As a bonus, she got to meet Karis along with a few other people who haven’t been able to see her in person yet. Here’s a few photos (with captions beneath each).

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Katka holding Karis.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s Lauren holding Karis. If you don’t remember, Lauren was our doula at the Czech hospital and a huge help! This was the first time she had seen her since she was born.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

During the afternoon Avery decided to start collecting pinecones and putting them in our stroller. She was really proud of it.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The pinecone collection.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

The little boys started a soccer game.

Saying Goodbye to Katka (6/14/15)

Here’s everyone hanging out (especially that guy on the right). We hope you were blessed today, Katka! We look forward to hearing what God does through you in Latvia.

P.

Papa and Nana Go Home

There was a moment about half-way home on our train ride this morning when Avery said, “Where’s Papa and Nana?” Clearly she didn’t understand what we were doing a few hours earlier when we said goodbye to them in Prague. But that’s just what we did. We said goodbye.

Goodbyes are never easy. We left pretty early today and we’re still suffering from minimal sleep with a newborn, so that’s probably why I wasn’t as emotional as I can be at times when we say goodbye (I honestly felt like I was more in survival mode). But now as I write it’s getting to me. Papa and Nana are special people and we’re so thankful they were able to with us these past few weeks. It really seems like it flew by in a flash, but that’s to be expected with all that has gone on with Karis’ birth and us traveling a little bit with them. Just a few days ago when we were with them and our friends Zach and Kara, Zach said to me, “Isn’t it cool to have family here?”

Papa and Nana Left (6/13/15)

As another missionary who lives here in Czech, Zach understands the flood of familiar that washes over you when someone you know, and know well, visits you here. It’s really cool. Finally you can show them your house which they have only seen through the periscope lens of video chat. Then you can show them your town and where your kids go to school and what you do to buy food. You can laugh as they too experience what it’s like to live in another culture, not know the language, and fumble your way around just to buy a few things at the store. Even with all the language apps on our phones and modern advances, it’s still hard. And even more than all of that, you get the opportunity to have those late night chats and catch up on life and talk about what God is teaching you and share about life here. For a moment you feel like they might understand better the things you say because they can see it happen and are experiencing it too. You know when they leave that you can talk differently with them because they actually have some point of reference for what you’re talking about and that’s just somewhat comforting.

If all has gone as planned, Papa and Nana are somewhere over the Atlantic en route to their final destination on the West Coast. And as we walked home today from the train station as a family I said something to Bethany to the effect of, “And then there were five.” It’s just us now. For the first time since Karis was born we’re back on our own. Bethany said to me, “We can do this.” We both laughed. What she means is, “We can handle this. We can be a family of five. We’ll make it.” Yes. By God’s grace, we’ll figure out how to function as a family with our newest daughter. We’ll manage to get through those sleepless nights, still get up to take Titus to school, make time for language learning, and do all that God has called us to do. But the Lord in his good grace gave us Papa and Nana to get us jump started in that process and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thank you, Papa and Nana, for your kindness to us, for sacrificing your time and energy for our family, and for loving us so well. We love you.

M.

My First Sick Day and Saying Goodbye to Amy

I would love to be able to write that I’m feeling a lot better or that the family is feeling better, but that’s only half true. The kids seem to be recovering, even though Avery has a lingering cough and Titus still has some congestion. Bethany and I are both just blah. I stayed away from the JV offices today for the first and tried to get some rest. Bethany was feeling about the same as yesterday but tonight she was really struggling. In a way, it feels like a second wave has hit us because I honestly thought Bethany was recovering. But from what I can tell it’s just head colds all around and there’s no infection, which is a blessing, but the coughing, sneezing, and head congestion is just no fun. God has been so gracious to us the past year with very minimal to no sickness. In fact, Bethany and I have talked a lot about we truly believe God was just allowing us to get through the storm of moving overseas without sickness. And now that we are sick, I can truly praise Him in the midst of this little trial.

Even though I wasn’t feeling that great, tonight we mustered up the energy to get the family out to a friend’s house where we saying goodbye to one of our interns who has been with us all summer. Amy Nickerson has been doing a lot (and I mean a lot) of writing for our team and for Josiah Venture this past year. Next week we will all be working at the JV conference and she will leave to go back to the States right after. Upon returning she’ll be finishing up her masters degree and then deciding on what she wants to do next. Amy has been a huge blessing to us and it’s been a joy to get to know her more these past few months. If you haven’t seen the many articles she has written for Josiah Venture’s 20th anniversary, just go to josiahventure.com/blog and almost all of the recent articles are by her. I think our team is praying that we will see her again and that she’ll join our team full-time in the future!

Below is a photo of our team sharing about Amy tonight and thanking her for her service to Josiah Venture and the many people who are connected to our organization. Amy is on the far right edge of the photo, sitting on the couch.

First Sick Day (9/18/14)

And here’s Avery enjoying a little ice cream.

First Sick Day (9/18/14)

F.

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)