J.

Just Down the Street From the Gestapo

On our way to Poland yesterday, we stopped at a McDonald’s to grab lunch. The kids were asleep in the car, and attempting English in the drive thru is pretty much out of the question, so I went inside to order. The nice Polish woman who helped me spoke great English which was a blessing and as I went to pay I realized I didn’t have my debit card in my wallet. This was very strange because it’s pretty much my lifeline here, but I had to pay so I just used a different card. After getting back into the car I searched around and couldn’t find it. The last place I remember seeing it was the night before when I went to the grocery store for Bethany. Either I had left it there or put in my pants pocket that night. I guess this would have to wait until we get back from Poland.

Today I checked all my pants pockets and couldn’t find it so I went to Tesco where I remembered having it last. Since I can’t speak Czech, I used my phone (Google translate) to communicate with the ladies that I thought I had left my bank card there. Amazingly, and thankfully, they had it! I was told to go to “informace” (customer service) and showed them my passport and got it back! Praise God I didn’t lose it because getting a new sent here from the States would’ve been tough. And in the end I thought the whole experience was yet another language learning opportunity.

Walking the Town (10/11/14)

I took the kids out late this afternoon for a little walk to the park while Bethany started dinner. We live in a pretty historical area, so much so that they have little plaques along the square near our place explaining the different building and their significance. I’ve read a few of them, but today I found a new one over by the park that I hadn’t seen of the building in the above photo. Apparently it was built in the latter part of the 19th century and was an administration building then a secondary school. But in 1939 the Nazis occupied this area and (are you sitting down?) it became the headquarters for the Gestapo! A block from my apartment is where the Gestapo had their base of operations. Crazy! Wait… you don’t believe me? Here’s the plaque (written in Czech, Polish, and English):

Gestapo Building (10/11/14)

Tonight I attend a youth conference at our church where the main speaker was none other than Dave Patty, the president of Josiah Venture. He speaks very good Czech and I watched in awe as he preached from Romans 12:1-2 to a few hundred Czech teenagers. I did my best to listen for words that I knew, but genuinely had no clue what was going on. Had it not been for the person next to who spoke a little English, I wouldn’t even have known we were in Romans. From what I could tell though, Dave had the attention of the students and I’m sure they were blessed. I know I was encouraged, especially from the singing tonight when they did a familiar Phil Wickham song in English! Here’s a short clip of everyone singing “This is amazing grace:”

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This is a room full of young people gathered for a Christian youth conference here in Czech. Such a joy to see this.

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Hearing that song sung by so many young people almost had me in tears. The spiritual climate in Czech is so dry that to see all of these people praising Jesus in a small town in Czech is kind of mind blowing. This is fresh to me because just tonight a friend forwarded me a link on Twitter about just how atheistic the Czech Republic is. It’s yet another reminder of why we’re here but how God continues to move among the youth.

I.

If You Build It…

Today was mostly a “building day.” By “building” I mean I built a lot of IKEA furniture. In fact, I did some work with the screwdriver that I have two blisters on the palm of my hand as souvenirs from today’s IKEA marathon.

IKEA furniture is great, especially in Europe. It’s pretty reasonably priced, they are designed for smaller spaces (like European housing), and for the most part they are easy to build. After a while you just get the hang of where to put the little wooden pegs and how things go together. Today I built 2 book cases and our dining room table. Here’s a few photos (please forgive the mess, we’re building for your future enjoyment):

Building Life in Czech (7/19/14)

Building Life in Czech (7/19/14)

While I was putting together furniture, Bethany was hard at work trying to clear a walking path in our bedroom. It looks great in there, but it’s not quite photo ready. Our kids have been doing pretty well playing in their room and enjoying their toys again. Titus liked “helping” me by poking holes in cardboard with a screwdriver. We’ve amassed large amounts of cardboard the past few weeks so I’ve been taking trips to the recycling bin down the street pretty often. Today I took two huge chunks down there and tried to get it as flat as possible. When the piles are in the house both Titus and Avery will play and jump on them.

Speaking of Titus, he took advantage of Avery’s nap to work on constructing a “snake” with his building blocks. Below is a photo of him. He was very proud of his creation.

Building Life in Czech (7/19/14)

Also, he must’ve gotten ahold of Bethany’s phone because we found this photo on it tonight.

Building Life in Czech (7/19/14)

The weather has been very warm of late. It’s been in the upper 80s, maybe low 90s, and it’s so humid you’re usually just dripping in sweat. They don’t have air conditioning really here, so we’re running fans and guzzling water just trying to stay hydrated and cool. That’s not always easy and I really felt it today. Bethany and I both found ourselves longing for winter which is really funny because the winters are long and cold here. I’m sure we’ll regret saying we want winter to come, but we’re just trying to adjust to this humid heat sans air conditioning.

We had a relaxing evening at our friend’s house tonight. They made chicken tortilla soup and it was really yummy. They have two young boys so our kids really enjoyed running around (literally) their house and yard. At one point they were running circles (again, literally) around the couch and then then the house. I’m really glad they have friends who they can play with already. That’s a joy and a blessing for sure. It was nice to work hard today and then rest this evening. I’m looking forward to our fourth Sunday at church tomorrow!