Easter Monday and Why I Hate Self Checkout

Today was Easter Monday here in Czech (and other countries). It’s a normal holiday, so Titus was out of school and the Josiah Venture office was closed today so we were all home together which made it very nice. But check out how Wikipedia describes the traditions,

All countries practice a unique custom on this day. In Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic traditionally, early in the morning boys awake girls by pouring a bucket of water on their head and striking them about the legs with long thin twigs or switches made from willow, birch or decorated tree branches.

I’ve heard mixed reviews from Czechs here about these traditions so I can’t comment with any kind of authority on what they really think about it. However, for us, this meant that Avery and Bethany didn’t leave the house because getting hit by a branch or group of branches just doesn’t sound like fun. I think for most Czech women, the weather worked in their favor because it snowed on and off all day today so there weren’t many people walking about the town.

Snowing on Easter Monday (4/6/15)

Even though I was home, I spent most of the day studying the book of Galatians as I’ll be teaching the international team Bible study tomorrow morning. I pretty much studied straight through from 8:00-3:30pm today, with the exception of the half hour the power went out this afternoon. Normally Dave Patty (the president of Josiah Venture) teaches, but he’s already got a lot of teaching commitments through the next month or so. I joked with another friend that they decided to call in a minor leaguer for the day so we’ll see how it goes. Speaking of baseball, I’m excited that today is opening day at Dodger Stadium! We’ll be rooting for the home team from 6,000 miles away and hoping they’ll beat the San Diego Padres. Go Dodgers!

Blowing Bubbles (4/6/15)

Despite the snow and rain, the sun did manage to peak through the clouds again this evening and I took the kids outside to play with the bubbles they got in their Easter baskets. Above is a video I got of Titus doing a good job making bubbles. It was still in the low thirties, so we weren’t out there long, but they had fun pretty much emptying their little bottles.

I Hate Self Check Out (4/6/15)

It’s been a longer weekend, so I decided to hit the store for Bethany tonight because we were low on food. Since it was a holiday, I actually called the store before I went to see if they were even open to my surprise they were. Titus and I left the house and Bethany texted me her list. When I pulled in to the parking lot it looked like a ghost town. In fact, I had a hard time believing they were even open. Again, to my surprise they were. Titus grabbed a cart (you know, the one with the little car on the front for kids) and off we went. I was so excited how few people were there because it felt like we had the entire place to ourselves.

I loaded the cart up, got everything on the list except for two things they were out of (strawberries and pear water) and headed towards the front where I was sure to find a lonely cashier waiting for me. Upon arrival I looked down the aisles and saw no such cashier. Then I looked further. Oh no. The only lanes that are open are those things they call “self check out.” You know the ones. They have beady eyes and a digital voice with a mocking tone. I rolled our completely full car-cart to the lane. The helper lady just smiled at me and I began the long process of unloading and scanning each item, one by one. About half way through things got worse. It didn’t like my bags, it didn’t like the weight of the items, it didn’t like that I chose an orange pepper and not a red one, it didn’t like that I was male, it didn’t like the clothes I was wearing, it didn’t like that that I’m a foreigner living in Czech and trying to buy groceries on a holiday for my wife! AHHHHHHHH!!!

After a few sessions of counseling I will be fine, but I hate those self check outs. They are of Satan. The work of the Devil is in them to deceive us in to thinking that machines are more efficient than humans. This is a life from hell itself. But I digress.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

On a happier note, when we got home Bethany had things ready for the kids to do a little egg coloring. They did. It was a really fun. Here’s some photos to finish off the night and this blog.

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)

Coloring Eggs (4/6/15)


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.