Trying to Escape the Heat

It’s really hot right now. According to a Czech news Web site, we’re experiencing some of the hottest days on record in Czech Republic. That wouldn’t be a problem except for one big factor: no air conditioning.

Now I want to make sure I’m really careful about what I say and how I say it. I know, for instance, of missionaries who live in intense heat all year round. They have to live with constant warm air in their house with very little relief. That is not the case for us whatsoever. To those friends and missionaries that serve in unbearable heat week in an week out, God bless your ministry. I mean it. Just little taste of the heat this past week is reminding me to think and pray for you, wherever you may be. That being said, I do want to comment on what we’ve been trying to do to escape this heat.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

Our apartment just holds heat in. With concrete walls and no air conditioning, we’re just stuck trying to get air to move through the house. Over the weekend we just couldn’t do it anymore and decided we were leaving town to a large mall in Poland to find some AC. On Saturday we basically the entire day there, walking around, eating meals and letting the kids play in the air conditioned play area. Judging by the number people there I think they all had the same idea we did. Above is a photo I got of Karis while Bethany looked around one of the Polish stores.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

When we got to the mall, the first place we decided to go was to Pizza Hut (shown above). For you American readers, you’re going to have to lay aside all your preconceived notions of what Pizza Hut is and allow me to tell you about Pizza Hut in Poland. To compare it, it’s more like California Pizza Kitchen. It’s a fancy, sit-down, restaurant (at least this one was). We had heard they were nice, but we were shocked. They had waiters, lots of salads and pasta on the menu, and really good pizza! We all ordered pan pizza, except for Titus because he wanted spaghetti. Everything tasted it great and we even decided to go for the Chocolate Chip cookie dessert which was an oversized cookie with vanilla ice cream on top. It was a lot of fun and here’s a picture of Avery’s pizza.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

After food we did some shopping and eventually grabbed some coffee. The mall we went to is huge and we eventually made our way to the kids play area. You pay a few bucks for an hour of play time and they have staff there to help the kids and there’s a ton for them to do. Why America hasn’t jumped on this money making machine is beyond me. I sat and read a book while the kids played and Bethany did a little shopping with Karis. Here’s a photo of Titus with the playground behind him.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

Since we were going all American on the food we decided for an American class, Burger King, for dinner. We wanted to get the food to go and head to the hardware store to look at little air conditioning units. Titus went with me to order the food and we got those Burger King crowns which I wore through the mall with Titus all the way back to the car. At points their were Polish people tapping each other on the shoulders and pointing at me because I’m sure I looked ridiculous. Bethany and the girls were in the car and when we got there Bethany was just laughing at me and said, “You’re a good daddy.” Thanks, babe. I’m sure you were laughing WITH me and not AT me.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

We tried six different stores to find a little air conditioning unit that was both powerful and affordable. This is no easy task in a place that doesn’t really have AC. What we ended up finding and buying was a little unit that was around $160 (US) that we currently have sitting in our window sill. It’s a swamp cooler that uses water to cool down the room and it’s been a pretty big help the past few nights. Here’s a photo of it in the store (the price on the side is in Polish currency). I’m calling it R2-D2.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

The next day we basically did the same routine, only this time we went to a Czech mall instead of Poland. Essentially all we did was go there for lunch, walk around, and let the kids play. There was a bench near the kids area with Ronald McDonalds so I took a little photo of the kids next to him. Quite honestly I’m a little jealous that Ronald gets to sit there all day, enjoying the air conditioning looking all happy.

Escaping the Heat (8/10/15)

We’re trying to have a positive attitude, but it’s been rough. Right now I’m sweating, we have six fans running, and we’re sleeping in the living room because it’s just too hot in the bedroom. Every time I get hot I just go and take a cold shower which really does help. The weather is supposed to be like this for at least the next week so we’re buckling up for more heat. If you think of it, pray for us, especially our kids. It’s hard to sleep when you’re sweaty and hot and we’re all trying to just make it through until cooler air comes our way.



I’ve been a little emotional today. As a guy, you rarely say things like that, but I think I have a pretty good reason. Mainly, I’ve been thinking a lot about the past year here. I even started working on tomorrow’s one year anniversary post just because I had some things on my mind.

Avery Riding (6/23/15)

I took a walk with the kids tonight (photo above) and as we were walking I was just thinking about all God has done this past year and how it has shaped our family. This whole process has been challenging, but it’s also brought us closer together as a family. The Lord has used it to humble us and cause us to look to Him for our strength. I’m sure many missionaries would say the same about their first year. It’s not easy to fumble through the language barrier. It’s not easy to feel like an outsider (foreigner). And it’s really not easy to know that it’s going to be a while before you’ll be able to really communicate your heart. But the Lord always gives grace.

I was also thinking about how much of an encouragement people have been to us. Whether it’s been personal notes, phone calls, text messages, Facebook messages, comments on the blog, Instagram comments, or Twitter replies, we have had countless people encourage us in so many different ways. It’s hard to put into words just what that has meant to us. Even now my eyes well up just a bit as I think about the amazing people God has brought in to our lives to not only be part of sending us here, but of holding us up in prayer from thousands of miles away. My family is so thankful for you and continue to ask you to pray for us!

Rainbowed (6/23/15)

I left the house around 8 o’clock tonight to run to the store for Bethany. We decided to divide and conquer so I went to the store and she gave the kids a bath. As I walked out to our car I looked up in to the sky at one of the most incredible rainbows I’ve seen. The photo above doesn’t even come close to doing it justice. It was so bright against a stormy sky and one end of the rainbow settled behind the big church next to our apartment. Immediately my heart was thinking about the promises of God. In fact, I thought specifically about Philippians 1:6 where Paul writes, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” That’s a great promise. I was also genuinely reminded of the Psalm I had read earlier today that another missionary friend emailed me. Psalm 93:1 says, “The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.” Don’t you just think of God’s majesty when you see a rainbow? I know I did tonight. It was truly majestic to behold.

Rainbowed (6/23/15)

I took the photo above just before walking in to the grocery store and as I turned to walk inside I saw a man leaving. I think he was taking a bite of bread as he walked out the doors and then he just stopped and stared at the sky. I watched his reaction to the wonder and amazement of a beautiful rainbow making it’s way across his entire view and then I thought, “I wonder what he thinks of that rainbow?…I wonder if he knows what it means….I wonder if He knows the God who made it?”

My heart is full tonight. I have a mix of emotions that I just can’t quite describe. The Lord has definitely reminded me tonight of His goodness and that has come through His creation and His Word. He’s also reminded me of the great care He has for His children. I’m thankful to be a child of the King. I guess sometimes it just takes a rainbow to remind me of all of that.


And We Wait

As I write a storm has quickly moved in, taking over what was a beautiful sunny day. Rain is now falling and I believe the forecast is calling for thunderstorms in to the evening. I had been playing with the kids outside just a few minutes ago, but with the weather abruptly changing we put all the yard toys away and I’m glad we did because it was only seconds after we came outside that these big drops started coming down. As Titus said, “Whew… that was a close one!”

Waiting (5/30/15)

It was outside in the yard that I got the above photo of Avery. Titus has a mini basketball that we were playing with and we jokingly were putting them under our shirts and telling Bethany to come to the window to look at us. Avery wanted to join the action too and this was the photo I was able to capture of her. I think it tells the story of how we wall feel right now as we wait for this little baby to come. Someone asked me the other day when Bethany’s due date is and I responded, “Some where between May 28 and June 1.” I feel like this is the first time we really don’t have a really accurate date. At least for me there’s been some confusion on the due date based on how the doctor here was measuring the baby, so needless to say we don’t exactly know a perfect date. Bethany had some early contractions (if we can call them that) last night, so we’re keeping a close watch on her. The drive to the hospital is about 40 minutes so I want to make sure we have plenty of time to make our way there. We drove the route yesterday and there’s some new road work being done that caused some traffic, but I’m hopeful it won’t affect us when we’re in need to get to the hospital quickly!

This morning I was gone for about four hours because I was a tiny part of the Josiah Venture intern training event going on at Malenovice. All of the summer interns arrived this week and they are getting trained on a lot of different things for this year’s summer ministry. I had a small presentation on social media and some of the projects my team will be working on which require the help of the interns. I regret not taking a photo of the room and seeing the excitement these mostly college aged students have for the gospel of Christ. Shortly after my presentation, I was meeting with another missionary serving in Ukraine, trying to help her setup a document for translating the harmony of the gospels into the Ukrainian language. Hopefully my little skill in technical design software will help aid her in getting the Scripture in to the hands of the people in Ukraine. That country has been in such turmoil the past few years and they are in constant need of God’s Word and the prayers of the Saints. Please pray for ministry there that even in the midst of much conflict, God’s Word would be proclaimed.

The smell of lasagna is wafting towards me while Bethany, Papa, and Nana work in the kitchen making my absolute favorite meal. It’s been fun to have help with meals and things around the house this past week and we’re thankful for Bethany’s parents willingness to come all this way to do just that. So while we wait for the arrival this little one we’re continuing to enjoy the time with them and I’m looking forward to enjoying this wonderful meal tonight that smells so good!


Rainy Day in May

If this was California you would think it was winter. It was about 50 degrees today and rainy, a far cry from the 70+ degree weather we’ve been enjoying lately. Honestly, it doesn’t bother because I think the colder air and rain keep the bugs under control, especially those pesky mosquitos. For the kids, however, it’s a bit of a bummer because that means they don’t get much outside time which they have been loving so much. Even now at almost 9:00pm the rain continues to come, but I know warmer days are sure to come.

Now I want to talk about dogs. I mentioned a few days ago about a little black dog that has been coming around the JV office and after Bethany read that particular post she said it sounded like I don’t like dogs. I just want to set the record straight and be clear that I actually do like dogs. I grew up around dogs and enjoyed many great ones, but maybe they set the bar too high for me because I rarely find a dog anymore that I like as much as the ones I grew up. This may be true for a lot of people who had childhood animals, but I like to think that ours were just a cut above. Numerous times my Dalmatian, Sparky, saved me from imminent danger and was kind of like my best boyhood pal. When a dog like Sparky shows up then I might care more, but until then I think that little black dog at the office is just a little nuisance.

This evening our friends from Poland stopped by with lots of goodies because they know how sick we’ve been. I was especially excited to look in to the bag and find some of this Polish fruit juice that we love so much. It was so kind of them and we’re excited to try some of the new foods they brought us that we’ve never had before. Bethany actually made potato soup tonight which really felt right with all the rain today. Warm soup on a cool day just makes sense. Unfortunately for me I wasn’t able to completely enjoy it because I still can’t taste anything. One week running with no sense of taste is just, well, bland.


Culinary Arts and Warm Days

“Do you want to see something amazing?” That’s what the text read on my phone that I got from Bethany this morning. “Yes,” I typed quickly back. I had never really gotten a text like that from Bethany so I was very excited about what was to to follow. “Avery made this all by herself,” Bethany wrote, followed by this photo:

Avery's Pretty Things (4/16/15)

When I got home I showed Avery that photo on my phone and asked her what it was and she said “a flower!” Not bad for a three year old. Maybe she has a future in the culinary arts?

Titus got in on the fun as well.

Culinary Arts (4/16/15)

As the days continue to warm up, Bethany has been taking the kids outside for lunch on the grass and play time. Today the kids were exploring in our landlord’s garden (which we also have access too) and picking little flowers. Bethany made a little daisy chain bracelet for Avery which she was really excited about it. I know I’ve already written this, but Avery continues to make us laugh as she grows in her speaking and personality. She’s about as girly as ever and I think it’s great.

Avery's Pretty Things (4/16/15)

Along with warmer days, we have longer days which allow us to play outside when I get home. The last few days I’ve been going out in the yard with the kids and playing basketball, soccer, and even tossing the Frisbee around. Titus has been getting pretty good at it so I took a short video of him throwing today (below). He also does a great job of catching the ones I toss back. I love it!

Frisbee Titus from Shay on Vimeo.

That’s all for today!