a journey with the Thomason family

Tag: church (Page 2 of 6)

Sliding on Sunday

Sunday (3/8/15)

Spring is only a few weeks away, but it really felt like it arrived today. The weather was beautiful, sunny and even a little warm. A lot more people were out walking and riding their bikes because it was just the perfect day for a stroll. When I walked out of church this morning I looked up at the bare trees against the blue sky and loved just the contrast of the light and dark branches. I converted the above photo to black and white to really bring out that contrast and I know soon those trees will begin to bud and fill up all that empty space.

I continue to feel my strength and health returning and even though I’m not 100%, the whole family was able to make it to church this morning. We ended up staying with the kids in their respective classes again, which is always fun. Whether we’re in the main service or the kids class it’s a Czech language lesson, so that’s helpful! Right at the beginning of Titus’ class all four of us (that is, me, Bethany, Titus, and Avery) were together in Titus’ classroom and the kids were singing Czech Bible songs. We could understand that melody to the song “Read Your Bible Pray Every Day” and Bethany was singing in English to Titus while the rest of the class sang in Czech. When they finished they asked Bethany to lead everyone in the English version of the song which she did, and I could see one little Czech knew most of the English words! It was a sweet little moment and it’s always nice to do even just a little song in English.

Sliding on Sunday (3/8/15)

After church we had lunch and had to run a few errands. We needed a few things from the electronics store and then some small things from IKEA so we took a little trip out of town. Next to IKEA is a mall with a huge 2-story slide which we’ve talked about before and the kids asked if we could go there so we did. The kids had a blast climbing up the big tower and heading down the slide (they must’ve done it fifteen times!). I got the blast of photos that you see above and you could hear them laughing from a mile away. It’s really fun to watch them play together and laugh.

Tonight we have mostly just been picking up the house and getting ready for the upcoming week. One of the things we picked up at IKEA is a new clock for our living room and I’ve been trying to figure out how to drill into our concrete walls to hang it. Our friend Greg is going to come over tomorrow afternoon to help me so hopefully I can get a photo of that when it’s up. Other than that, it’s just been a great Sunday and I’m thankful to get back into the swing of things, including language lessons tomorrow!

Church and Exploring Poland

Poland for the Win (2/22/15)

Everyone was up early this morning to get read for church, including these two rascals you see in the photo above. I was enjoying a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee before church and we were having fun hanging out in the kitchen. “Dad, take a picture of us!” Done.

Poland for the Win (2/22/15)

We had a good morning at church. It was the first time we have all been as a family in three weeks and the kids did pretty well in their classes. Bethany went with Avery to her class and I stayed with Titus in his. Titus’ class read from a book which was an illustrated version of the parable of the lost coin. Both teachers in his class could speak English so they would ask the kids questions in Czech and then turn to Titus in English and ask him. They also celebrated one of the kid’s birthdays and sang to him “Happy Birthday” in Czech. Then I heard the kids saying, “Anglicky!” or “English!” They sang “Happy Birthday” again in English which was fun for Titus…and me!

Poland for the Win (2/22/15)

We were thinking over dinner last night of what we might be able to do this afternoon and one thing we’ve wanted to do is check out a few stores we’ve heard about it Poland. One is a grocery store and Bethany also wanted to go back to “TK Maxx” (or TJ Maxx in the States) which she had visited back in August. The grocery store was amazing. It was kind of like a Super Wal-Mart, at least that’s the best way I can explain it. They had a wide variety of items and they are only store that we know of that carries flavored coffee creamers (a favorite of Bethany’s). Not only that, check out this meat selection (photo below)!

Poland for the Win (2/22/15)

Bethany and I were pretty focused on trying to scan and see all that the store had, but apparently Titus had a little time on his hands because at one point we looked down and he was applying tiny stickers to his face. Here’s a photo I got of him.

Poland for the Win (2/22/15)

After the grocery store we headed over to TK Maxx which wasn’t far away. That place turned out to be our golden ticket and we found a ton of things. Some of the best finds were two little books we got for the kids because most of the kids book they had were in English! This might not be a big deal to some people, but for us it was shocking. Another huge win was that they actually had shoes in my size which I haven’t been able to find since we moved here. I didn’t end up buying any today, but we plan on going to back at some point and spend more time.

We actually had a really fun day together even though we were most just walking around and exploring. There is so much to see here and we’re enjoying the search for new things.

Titus is off school this coming week because it’s “Spring break.” He’s excited he doesn’t have to go to school, except I’m concerned he thinks he never ever has to go back. One week feels like forever when you’re a kid, I guess!

Heart Day and When the Youth Pray

Heart Day (2/14/15)

Bethany always does something special on Valentine’s Day, especially for the kids. It started this morning with heart shaped Swedish pancakes (above) and this afternoon it was heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (below). It was really fun and the kids are always so excited to have different shaped food. Beyond the food, we didn’t do much else today for V-day other than rest. The kids are still getting over being sick so their noses are running and they’ve got lingering coughs. I had fun playing with them in their Thomas the train tent thingy and we all snuck in some early afternoon naps which was nice.

Heart Day (2/14/15)

After lunch I spent some time reading my Bible and studying a little bit of Czech. I’m really not trying to allow any day to go by where I don’t spend a least a few minutes working on Czech, even if it’s just reviewing or going over my vocabulary flash cards. I WILL learn this language!

Study Hard (2/14/15)

Speaking of language, I had the opportunity to join our church’s youth at their English Camp meeting this afternoon before youth group tonight. They are gearing up for the summer ministry and camp is a big event for them. The entire meeting was done in the Czech language, but one of the young people (his name is Daniel) was kind enough to translate for me. This year’s theme is “You Are Here” and follows the life of Paul in the book of Acts. Basically, the idea is that you might be at one place in your life, but you shouldn’t stay there. God is calling you to “move” from the place you are to where He wants. My team at Josiah Venture helped create this year’s theme and my church had a poster we did out on the table during the meeting (below).

Youth (2/14/15)

The one thing that struck me today during the meeting was that these young people love to pray. You would think a big camp meeting would be a bunch of planning, but it was actually minimal today. Mostly, they wanted to meet and pray AND plan to pray more. Not only did we spend an extended time asking the Lord to bring many unbelievers to camp, but later they setup a time that on Wednesdays at 9:30pm they would all seek to pray either together or alone for the camp…every single week until the summer. Ondra, the leader of the youth ministry, gave them a charge to continue to pray and stay in the Word of God as they prepare for the summer ministry. I was encouraged and challenged. Here’s a photo I got as they all prayed in their native tongue.

Youth (2/14/15)

At youth group tonight (after the camp meeting), we spent more time in prayer. I was able to sit with the two young men, Ondra and Marian (who lead the music), and listening to them share their hearts was just incredible. Marian shared that his vision is to see another 35-70 young people join the youth ministry through evangelistic efforts. He said he wants to go out in to the community with the other youth from the church, play music, share the gospel, and invite young people to church. I’ve been doing youth ministry for a while now and I don’t remember an 18-19 year old with that kind of vision. Not only that, he setup a time next week to do just that and has sent out invitations on Facebook, inviting lots of unbelievers. We prayed they would come next week. Lord, make it so.

Youth (2/14/15)

I had a great time building relationships with the youth at our church and I left so encouraged. Their heart to see their community reached with the gospel is inspiring. Their passion to see Christ exalted is exhilarating. And their desire to pray and bring it all to the Lord is humbling. Do I pray like that? I couldn’t help but think, “What happens when the youth pray like this?” What happens when the young people take the gospel to their unreached friends with fervor and compassion? I have no doubt it’s like a fire that can’t be stopped. Oh sure, Satan with do whatever he can to stop it, but we serve the King! The war has been won by the Savior and we can all go out boldly. When young people pray like this, asking for God’s help and His grace, I know God will give it in abundance.

Pray with us for these youth. I was so encouraged by them tonight and we want them to see their vision realized. In the end, it means more souls in the Kingdom of God and all glory to the King of Kings.

A Better Sunday

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

With snow swirling all around me, I made it to church this morning by myself. Avery has had a cold for a week and now Bethany isn’t starting to feel that great. I didn’t want to try and battle the Sunday school thing with Titus today, so we opted to just have the family stay home and I would go to church alone. And even though church is often difficult, today was a much better Sunday for me than last week. I approached church this morning with a completely different focus, one that might seem even a little strange–to learn language.

One of the tools we learned at Missionary Training and one that my friend Landen reminded me of last night was approaching church with a focus on writing down words and engaging the language. Basically, with a notebook in hand, I wrote down every word I could understand and then would add a mark if I heard it again and so on (below is a photo of my notebook). Believe it or not, I heard and wrote down 101 words that I heard at least one time. The most repeated word I heard was “manželský” which I believe means “marital” or “marriage.” I heard at least a form of that word 28 times. Maybe the sermon was about marriage?

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

You might be wondering why this could be helpful. I think the main reason is that it makes me more engaged in trying to listen to Czech and distinguish sounds, words, and phrases. Do I know how to spell all the words? No. Do I even know if what I heard was correct? No. But the process of trying to listen and write them down is putting my mind in a language mode and not a “tune out because I don’t know how to speak Czech” mode which is often the case. Another reason it’s helpful is it gets new words into my vocabulary by forcing me to learn the meanings. If I hear a word and hear it correctly, then I go back and learn the meaning. It’s actually a pretty incredible experience for a language student and I’m truly thankful for it. As much as I would like to listen to the sermon, my time is actually better spent just trying to understand the actual words being spoken. Long term, this is an infinitely better use of my time for now.

Church in the Snow (2/8/15)

It snowed on and off all day and the wind was up. At one point, there was snow falling and I could see the sun shining. I tried to get a photo of it, but it just didn’t turn out (show above). During the afternoon we basically tried to clean the house up and our friend Misa came over at about 3pm. She is leaving tomorrow to be in Prague for a bit and then off to the States in a few more weeks. We had a good time chatting with her and actually helping her understand English and American culture better. During that time I was working on sizing and cutting a print to fit a frame, both of which I brought from the States when we moved. I took a little time to get it all measured and cut it, but I’m happy with the final result. I plan on hanging it up in my office at Josiah Venture. Below is a picture of it and it’ll be a constant reminder to my soul of why we’re here–to see more come to know the Light of Life.

New Print for the Office (2/8/15)

The last week has brought excitement, clarity, and focus for me. I’m excited about what God is doing to help realign my heart and invigorate me to learn a tough language and continue to strive to see more people come to Christ in this place. I’m thankful for how God is using our circumstances to make us more like His Son! It’s not always easy or fun, but I can rest in the fact that he is working in all of it for my good and His glory.

I Miss Sundays and Church

We went to church in Czech for the first time in a while. After being sick for weeks on end in November and December, we took our trip to the States and missed a few weeks there. Upon returning we were severely jet lagged and then last week there really wasn’t church, so today we finally made it back.

Paint, Snow, and Sunday (2/1/15)

Like most Sundays here, it was hard (at least for me). Mostly I hate feeling like I’m just going through the motions of “doing church” and not being able to offer much as a member of the body of Christ. The language barrier is no doubt the biggest obstacle and has far reaching effects. We can’t understand the sermon, we can’t talk to most of teachers, and we can’t really offer much in the way of encouragement to other believers (or them to us). Today, the kids didn’t want to stay in their classes alone and we can’t leave them. Bethany ended up staying with Avery in her class and I took Titus with me to the main service. Avery painted the mitten and hat you see the above photo.

Many Sundays someone in our church will provide translation via headsets, but I didn’t see anyone doing that today. Basically I just let Titus play on my iPhone while I read my Bible. From what I saw on the screen at church, I think the pastor was preaching out of 1 John, but I’m not sure. In a sense, it felt like our first Sunday there minus the excitement of the newness. It was just hard and I didn’t respond well to it. It frustrated me and even though I enjoyed my time in God’s Word, I let my heart get angry at our situation.

I love the local church. Outside of the family, I believe it is the most important institution God created for Christians. Many days when I was serving at our church in the States I would literally be giddy on my way to church. Oh, no doubt we had hard days but then there would be someone at church that would say or encourage me, or even just the sermon itself would pierce my soul as the Word of God does. I guess that’s what made it so difficult for me today. I’m having a hard time seeing light at the end of the tunnel of being able to experience that kind of community and grace again.

Paint, Snow, and Sunday (2/1/15)

Pray for me as I lead our family in the days, weeks, and months ahead. I’m sure many missionaries have come to a similar place when they remember what they left behind and long deeply for it. I want to lead my family with wisdom and grace, especially as it relates to learning the language and culture. I want the opportunity to encourage another saint in their native tongue, not to mention share the gospel with someone in Czech in the Czech language! I want to disciple a few young men who can then go and disciple someone else. I want to sing worship and know what I’m saying. I guess I just want it to feel normal again. Maybe we’re years away, but at least that feels like it exists somewhere in the future.

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