a journey with the Thomason family

Tag: Czech Republic (Page 1 of 2)

It’s All Karis

It gives me great pleasure to announce the birth of our third child, Karis Debra Thomason, born today this first day of the month of June two-thousand fifteen at precisely 10:27am. At the time of birth she weighed 7lbs 13oz and measured 20.5in in length. Her first name, Karis, comes from the Biblical Greek word meaning “grace” and Debra is her Nana’s (grandma’s) first name. Mommy and baby are both doing very well and we’re so excited about this this little gift form the Lord!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

We honestly thought things were moving quickly last night and that we would be heading to the hospital, but it wasn’t until early this morning at about 4:30am that I packed up the car to leave. We left the house close to 5:30 and got in to the hospital around 6:30. Bethany would really like to tell her part of this story in a later post so I won’t share every detail, but things moved pretty quickly today at the hospital here in Czech Republic. With the help of our friend, doula and translator, Lauren, we were able to get everything in order and get settled in the delivery room. Bethany’s contractions were moving fast at some points and becoming more intense, but I really didn’t think we would meet Karis until later in the afternoon.

To our surprise, however, things really got moving at 9:30. After only a few hours Bethany was ready to push and that’s exactly what she did. She actually had to pause in order to get all of the nurses and doctor in the room and prepped for delivery. The whole delivery was significantly more painful for Bethany than the previous two kids, but my amazing wife literally pushed through the pain and in what seemed like ten minutes our third child was born. As with both previous births, I teared up at the sight of little Karis, not only because she was beautiful it was a joy to hear her cry, but also because I was blown away by Bethany’s courage and strength, especially in regards to having a child in a foreign country. While tears were filling my eyes the doctor quickly turned around and shook my hand as if to say, “Congratulations” (he didn’t speak English, so it was a silent but meaningful exchange).

A photo posted by Shay Thomason (@shaycam) on

One of the differences between having a baby in Czech versus the States, is that in the States they would clean up the baby right away and then give her back to Bethany. But the Czechs only wipe the baby down and then give them quickly back to the mommy. Then they require a two hour waiting period where Bethany laid on her back with the baby. I don’t know the significance, but that’s what she did. During that time I had the opportunity to hold Karis which was a special time for me. As soon as that time was up we were packing our things and heading down to the recovery room.

Again, a difference between the States and Czech is the availability of private rooms for recovery. Today there were no private rooms available (they call them “non standard”) so Bethany and Karis were put in a room with another mommy and baby. It’s a bit strange and it also meant that I wasn’t able to stay the night tonight with them because there was no room for me in there. This was not part of our plan, but the Lord knew it and we’ll just continue to trust His sovereign plan in it all. Bethany will be in the hospital for a minimum of 72 hours so we’re hopeful or a Thursday morning release.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This afternoon I was able to come back home, pick up Nana, Papa, and the kids and bring them back to meet baby Karis for the first time. It was a really special time for us and it was so much fun to watch Titus and Avery meet their new baby sister. It was also an opportunity to grab a bunch of photos. I took a ton of photos today, so here’s a few from the day with captions to help fill in a little of the story.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is the outside of the maternity part of the hospital. It doesn’t look like much, but on the inside it’s very nice and clean and we were so thankful for the nurses and staff there. In so many ways, it was no different than a hospital that we’re used to in the States and we just feel like the Lord was gracious in the entire process today.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Karis as they were cleaning her up after the two hour waiting period. I had the opportunity to go with her to where the nurses have a legitimate cleaning station. The woman doing the work must’ve done thousands of babies, because the way she was handling Karis was so crazy and so natural all the same time. The nurse put her under the sink and rinsed her, washed every crevice, and was almost tossing her around in her hands as she did the work. They also did this crazy baby oil thing where she was doused with baby oil and rubbed down from literal head to toe. In the end Karis was shiny, squeaky clean, and bundled up in a special wrap and then laid under one of this baby heater thingys. The next two photos below show the rest of that process. It was actually really fun to watch!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Titus and Avery holding Karis shortly after meeting her for the first time. I love Titus’ genuine smile. They were both so gentle with her and were so excited to meet her.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

Like Titus, Avery was just smiling at Karis while we were there. At first both Titus and Avery were a little skittish because it was a new experience, but by the end of the time they had warmed up to the idea of this little baby sister and were enjoying her just like we were.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

I loved this photo of Nana holding Karis and Papa getting a photo of her on his iPhone.

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

This is Karis’ little name tag in her crib that sits next to Bethany’s bed. Let’s hope she fast asleep right now!

Karis is Born (6/1/15)

I have many more photos from our time today, but this last one is of Papa holding her and I’m taking the shot from above. I just loved her little hands coming out of her wrap and seeing her tiny face.

It was an incredible day! We are so thankful for the many prayers of those of you who have followed our story and what God has been doing in our little family. As Karis and Bethany rest tonight please continue to pray for healing for Bethany’s body and for continued growth for Karis. There is still much to do in the days ahead but we’re excited to welcome this little life in to the world. All we can say is praise the Lord for this wonderful gift and for His grace!

Why History Matters and Working on Our Home

Today is a holiday in the Czech Republic. Schools and businesses were closed and people were celebrating what is known as the Velvet Revolution. Twenty five years ago, in 1989, students were holding a demonstration in the capitol city of Prague. As BBC News put it, the students were holding a “peaceful demonstration to commemorate International Students’ Day. Little did they know that their seemingly innocuous protest would trigger the momentous events which would in effect end the rule of communism in the country a mere 10 days later.” It truly was a historic day and one that has today led to more missionaries working here and giving us the opportunity to openly share the Gospel with many who have never heard it.

I have always enjoyed history. It’s a subject I did well in and I owe a lot of that to amazing teachers who taught me to enjoy and learn from the past. I’ve even reminded of that famous quote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Obviously, not all of the past bad, but I think we get the point. That’s why I was struck by something I read today in regards to the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Czech. In the same article I quote above, BBC News later writes, “But as both countries [Czech and Slovakia] prepare to mark a quarter of a century of freedom, a survey conducted recently by the Public Opinion Research Centre suggests a full sixth of Czechs still long for a return to communism” (my emphasis). Wow. Really? That’s just hard to believe, and honestly as a foreigner it’s definitely difficult to understand. The article continued by adding, “…84% of Czechs are aware that 17 November is celebrated as a national holiday to remember the Velvet Revolution, only 30% of people below the age of 30 are aware of this.” Yikes.

History matters. I don’t know what they’re talking about in Czech schools, but to ignore one of the most significant moments in their history is just sad and dare I say wrong. What’s scary about those statistics is it’s mainly about the young generation here. If the young people don’t know their history they are very likely to miss things in their future and even revert back to the past. My hope and prayer is that God would continue to work among that young generation. I hope they do learn from their past, but more importantly, that they would hear about the most important Person in history, Jesus Christ.

Now for a change of subject.

The Dining Area (11/17/14)

Bethany has been saying for months “if we had two full days, we could finish unpacking and get the house in order.” Well, today was definitely one of those days. With today’s holiday and a birthday party for Avery coming this Saturday, we worked hard getting some final boxes unpacked and getting the house organized. It has been an uphill struggle, but I think we might have made it to the top today. Above is a photo of the hutch in our dining room area which we decorated a little bit today. Those Los Angeles and Seattle prints are not final, but we had them so we’re using em’ for now. Beyond the dining room, I spent a lot of time in our storage closet. We really only have one, maybe two spaces for storage (besides our garage) and we have maximized our capacity. Below is a photo of the little storage closet we have that I finally completed organizing today. It’s floor to ceiling full, but it fits and we can find things!

Storage Room (11/17/14)

With all the transition here, our house has just taken a back seat and I was really thankful to get some time today to just focus and help get our place feeling more and more like home. There’s still some work to do, but this was a huge step forward today.

Now to get some much needed sleep!

You’ve Got Mail

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Yesterday when we visited our landlord she gave us a piece of paper and we were told we had some mail already waiting for us at the post office. Why did the mail go the post office and not to our apartment? I have no idea. But out of sheer curiosity we went to see what might be waiting for us.

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

We were instructed by our friends to go in, find the shortest line, give them our piece of paper and then say “Ya Ne Mluvim Cesky…Promotz Mi” or “I don’t speak Czech…help me.” So that’s exactly what I did. Actually, I added the word “Prosim” which means, “please.” The lady laughed and said something to me in Czech which I assume was along the lines of “you’re speaking Czech now, aren’t you?” She motioned to Bethany and I asking who’s name was on the paper and it was Bethany’s. Then she stood up, walked away for a bit, and came back with a letter. She asked for Bethany’s passport which we gave and after a minute we were on our way. Who was it from, you ask? It was the shipping company confirming that our container would be arriving in Germany tomorrow (July 2). I’ve been working with a local customs agent here and we’re hoping to have our container within a week!

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

After our mail time fun we walked over to one of the local playgrounds since the weather was so nice. Somewhere along the line someone told us that if the sun is out the Czcehs are out and that was definitely true this morning. The park was full of families with kids playing. Bethany observed that there’s just something universal about the way moms talk to their kids. Although the moms were speaking Czech, we knew they were saying things like “Be careful!” and “Good job, you did it!” to their kids. Bethany also said she looks forward to being able to communicate with the other moms some day at the park. I hope she gets that opportunity someday too.

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

We had homemade pizza for dinner tonight! Considering everything that’s quite an accomplishment and Bethany is a pro at the grocery store now. It was unspoken, but I think the pizza was our way of celebrating our first full week living in Český Těšín. It’s been a great week and we’re thankful to the Lord for His provision and care for us during this transition.

Walking Around Town (7/1/14)

Our First Sunday at Church

Church in Czech

Today we had the pleasure of worshipping at the church we will be part of here in Czech. The church was actually significantly larger than we had originally expected. In fact, we were told it’s the 3rd largest church in Czech with about 250 people. For the most part, the worship service ran very similar to what we might experience in the States, and we were super encouraged by the music and teaching of God’s Word. Obviously, everything was in another language, but our friends Mel and Amy were helping translate for us to keep us in the flow of the service. It’s especially sweet to hear Czechs sing in their native language and it’s actually a really helpful tool for language learning as it slows down the words and you can clearly hear the annunciation.

We sat upstairs because we were a little worried about our kids disrupting the service. There was no Sunday school this morning because many of the moms and kids were gone at a camp so we had the kids with us during the entire service. Avery was especially tired this morning as she was up really early, so we were trying not to be a distraction. At one point the pastor called our family to the stage and Amy introduced us to the entire church. It was fun to stand up there and see people smiling. I wish I could’ve taken a photo. The pastor shared a few encouraging words to us while we were up there which Amy translated into English. He was so gracious and kind and Bethany and I thought we were going to cry.

Church in Czech

In the photo below the pastor was actually talking directly to the couple you see in the front row. This was a baby dedication and they are holding little Daniel. One of the things that struck me was that the pastor was sharing with them how they are raising their son in a very dark and evil world, but that they need to be an example to him and show him Christ on a regular basis. He emphasized teaching and being an example and that both had to be at work in their parenting. It was fun to watch the pastor care for this young couple and he had the congregation stand and had the couple pray. What a blessing to participate in that.

The sermon this morning was around the book of Daniel in honor of the baby’s name who was dedicated. The emphasis was on the character of Daniel and how he served the Lord faithfully. One quote that I thought was interesting was that the pastor said, “The Bible says nothing bad about Daniel, even though Jesus was the only one who lived a perfect life.” He charged the congregation to live like Daniel in this wicked world and serve the Lord faithfully. Who doesn’t need to be reminded of that?

Church in Czech

After church we drove to our other teammate’s house, John and Erin Kloosterhuis. Even though Erin is basically full-term with their first child, she was kind enough to cook us a great meal and have us over for the afternoon. John and Erin serve on the Creative Communications team with us and they are a joy to be around. Thank you, John and Erin, for your hospitality and for sharing a meal with us. We’re praying that baby comes soon!

As I close my day here in Czech all I can think about right now is worship. I don’t just mean the act of singing songs, though that’s definitely part of it, but just the idea that we are all created as worshipers and will by our nature seek to worship something. The Bible teaches that we were created to worship the one true God, but so often we don’t and we worship our own idols and false gods who will never satisfy. Oh sure, I may never worship a literal golden calf, but I’ll bow down to the god of comfort in a heartbeat.

All of that to say my heart needed to sing with my brothers and sisters this morning the simple chorus to the song Here I Am To Worship. “Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You’re my God. You’re altogether lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.” That may be a simple truth, but it’s a great reminder that we exist to worship a worthy and wonderful God.

Here’s a little video of the chorus from this morning’s worship service.

From Sour Milk to a Spaghetti Meal

Bethany and I were pretty proud of ourselves. We went to the grocery store all by ourselves, I picked out a little thing of milk, and Bethany got the correct amount of Czech crowns (money), we paid for it and left. Both of us were even talking about it after we got back to the flat we’re staying in. “That wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be!” I said proudly. “Yeah!” Bethany agreed. Then she took a drink.

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In my defense it was clearly marked “mléko”, or milk. What I didn’t know was this was some kind of “special” milk that Czechs enjoy to be healthy. After Googling it for a minute, I think it’s some kind of fermented milk…I don’t know! Unfortunately for Bethany, she was the first to try and as fast as she drank it was as fast as it came flying back out and into the sink. And there it was…our first trip to the store as a family for one item, and we failed. The moral of the story, you ask? Look for milk that is marked “čerstvý” or fresh.

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Thankfully, it didn’t ruin our day. We did spend some time this morning walking around our new town and just trying to get a feel for our new city. We are currently staying in a friend’s flat and as soon as our container arrives we’ll be able to move into our flat which is just down the road. It’s a great little city here. Everything is basically in walking distance and it’s just a nice place.

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The above house is where we (think?) our new flat is. We’ll be living in the bottom floor. You’ll notice a large catholic church in the background. While we were walking around the bells from the clock tower rang out. I wonder if they do that during the middle of the night?

After our walk we all took a really long nap. The funny thing is it was 10:00am at that point and we had all been awake since 4:30am. Mel and Amy Ellenwood, who have been in Czech for twenty years, came by our place around noon to welcome us and help us get settled. Amy took Bethany over to a local pre-school to try and register Titus. Unfortunately there are no spots available yet, but they are aware of our family and they said the next open spot will be for Titus. Later, Amy took Bethany shopping for groceries and Mel helped get our phones working here, as well as helped me navigate the arrival of our shipping container. They are a precious couple and we’re so thankful for their help today and for answering all of our questions. These early days are not easy, especially with jet lag and little ones, but we are thankful that God provides friends and resources like the Ellenwoods to help keep our heads above water.

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Finally, because of her time with Amy at the store, Bethany was able to make a great meal which we all really enjoyed. She even expressed to me at dinner that she was really encouraged by all the familiar brands and different types of foods that are available which we weren’t originally sure we would see. We sat down for our first home cooked meal and it was a delicious spaghetti with meat sauce and side salad. Thank you, wife, for your courage at the store today and for a delicious meal!

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