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!”
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!
While saying goodbye to Titus at his school this morning he said something interesting. I had glanced in to the room to see what the other kids were doing and I saw a few boys had lined every green army guy they could find in formation. I said to Titus, “Look, dude! Army guys!” He’s been playing with army guys a lot at home so I thought for sure he would be excited too. But instead he glanced over at them, turned back towards me, and calmly said, “Dad, those are for the Czech boys.”
I didn’t quite understand it until Bethany and I talked this afternoon after she had picked him up. In a broken Czech/English conversation, Bethany had discussed both our kids with Titus’ teacher today. First, they had to talk about some paperwork needed for Avery when she starts preschool in the fall, and then just some quick things about Titus. Bethany understood a really simple Czech sentence from his teacher when she said, “Titus is better.” The context of that conversation was regarding his understanding Czech and we assume she’s just really saying, “Titus is getting better at understanding Czech.” W’re thankful, but that’s just language. A little later at home Bethany was asking Titus about his day and said, “What did you do at school?” He said, “I did nothing” in kind of a down tone. “Did you play outside?” “Yeah” he said, and added “but that big boy wanted to push me.” Hhmmm… I wonder if Titus’ comment in the morning is related to the one in the afternoon?
What’s interesting is this is the first time Titus has really expressed any kind relational issue at school (that I’m aware of). As in any kind of community environment there are going to be little things like this, but our biggest desire in it is to shepherd Titus through it. First we want to make sure he’s acting in an appropriate way towards his classmates and secondly we want to help him understand how he should respond to those who might sin against him. In the case of the army men, I wonder if it’s something related to him not being able to speak Czech? Maybe the kids feel that distance and separation from Titus (and likewise Titus towards them) as they can’t always communicate. I know I feel that tension every day as I go the gas station or get groceries! And in the case of the boy pushing him, this sounds like a classic schoolyard moment. I’m not saying the other kid is a bully or anything, but I know I had my share of mean moments at recess (in fact, one time I deliberately kicked a soccer ball at another kid I didn’t like and we both were sent to the principal’s office). Nevertheless, even in these “little” things I want to be able to help my son think, and think rightly about situations. As his fifth birthday approaches in just two days it’s a reminder that he’s only getting older. I would do well to remember Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Saturdays are usually are rest day and we enjoy a big breakfast as a family (often that’s Swedish pancakes). However, today I was attending some training with the international team at Josiah Venture (JV). The training was led by Steve Patty (brother to Dave Patty, president of JV) and focused on how to do research for evaluating the effectiveness of a ministry. That might sound like a mouthful, but it was very insightful, helpful, and instructive. Essentially, Steve was trying to put into our hands the tools to evaluate how ministries are doing by asking the right questions and being able to discern through what kind of data to collect and what kind of data is actually going to be helpful in the actual evaluation. For those on the international team this is a great tool for evaluating all the different ministries that JV facilitates. Mostly I appreciated Steve’s focus on how to as ask questions and what categories different types of questions go in. All in all I thought it was a great morning and am thankful for JV’s commitment to continue to build up and train it’s staff and leadership.
Yesterday I mentioned that I was having a sharp pain in my side for most of the day. I didn’t sleep great last night, but it did feel a little better this morning as the pain had mostly subsided. A lot of people were asking me about it at the training this morning and I was still feeling some discomfort, but not like yesterday. Hopefully it was just a one day thing, but who knows? My takeaway right now is it’s helped me think and talk about where exactly I would go to see a doctor and what to do in a more emergency situation. I still have questions about that process, but at least it got me talking to other people and allowed me to get a little insight in to just how that works over here.
While I was at the training this morning, Bethany and the kids decided to pain the pumpkin we got a while back. She gave them each half of the pumpkin to decorate. Titus painted a face that had pointy teeth and Avery just went for full coverage. The kids told me all about it when I got home today, and here’s a few photos of the fun (one above, two below).
We had homemade pizza for dinner which I thought turned out great! On one of the two pizzas we baked we used spicy BBQ sauce and topped it with bacon and mushrooms and it was delicious. After dinner we video chatted with Bethany’s parents and her grandmother (shown below). The kids are always so excited to see family, even if it’s over the computer. As always, I’m thankful for the time we get to connect with family.
That’s all for today. Time to hit the hay. I rhymed.